Big players make big plays in big moments. For senior attack Eric Fannell, those words couldn’t be more true in his last home game as a Buckeye.
The star attacker scored 5 goals to help No. 7 Ohio State overcome an early five-goal deficit against the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins to win 11-10, including one SportsCenter top-10 worthy goal that shifted momentum in the Buckeyes’ favor when they needed it.
With 7:59 left in the second period, Fannell took a pass and shot the ball from behind his head to score a game-changing goal. The Buckeyes (12-2, 3-1) trailed the Terrapins (9-3, 3-1) 6-1 at the time of the goal, but from there the tables turned and they outscored the Terrapins 9-4 on their way to a huge victory.
Fannell’s play swung the momentum back to the Buckeyes after Maryland had scored 5 goals in a row, 2 of those coming early in the second period. OSU was able to get within 3 goals of the Terrapins by halftime, including the second goal by Fannell, his 21st of the season.
Fannell didn’t stop there, scoring back-to-back goals within a minute of each other early in the third period to put the Buckeyes within one. He capped off his day by giving OSU the lead midway through the fourth quarter, giving him a total of 24 goals this season.
“I have to give credit to my teammates, they got me open,” Fannell said. “I played within the system and that helped us end up on the positive end. Any of our offensive players could have done what I did today and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Fannell was also involved in the final play of the game, taking the first shot that ricocheted off the goal to senior midfield Johnny Pearson, who scored the game-winning goal. The left-handed Fannell used his right hand to take the shot, which gave Pearson the chance to score.
“If I didn’t take it right-handed, I would have had to pull it out or I would have got stripped so I just fired,” Fannell said. “Coach is always telling me I got to use my right hand. My stick was feeling good tonight so I had to take it and I’m glad it worked out.”
OSU coach Nick Myers credited Fannell along with all the seniors on stepping up in a huge game, one that clinched the Buckeyes a spot in the Big Ten tournament.
“It’s the seniors. At this time of year you got to lean on those guys,” Myers said. “All across the field you saw seniors stepping up and making plays you expect seniors to make.”
As for Fannell, it was quite a way to go out in his final home game.
“It’s an amazing feeling beating a program like Maryland especially for how historical of a program it is,” he said. “Doing it in front of all of our families is amazing, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life.”
The Buckeyes take on Rutgers next Saturday in the final game of the regular season.