Blogs and Commentary

posted 05.16.2011 at 3.06 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Deception Perfection: Farrell, Catalino's Hidden-Ball Trick

The video is out, kids. Go drive your coach nuts by working the ol' hidden-ball trick, executed to perfection by Brian Farrell and Grant Catalino in the third quarter of Sunday's Maryland-North Carolina NCAA first round game.

Upon review of the play, it looks to me like North Carolina junior reserve defenseman Logan Corey, if it was indeed him wearing a No. 44 Tar Heel blue warm-up shirt, was the only one on the sideline who knew Farrell had the ball after the fake exchange, and not Catalino. Perhaps he's seen a trick play or two in his day.

Neither television commentators, nor cameramen nor most importantly most of the North Carolina defense had a correct idea of where the ball was. On the field, North Carolina short-stick defender Ryan Creighton was the only one with any inclination. He went to cover Farrell after Farrell started moving with the ball horizontally across the attack zone. But before Creighton could get close enough to make a difference, Farrell passed to Drew Sinder, who tossed a shot into the open net behind helpless goaltender Steven Rastivo, who was looking at the wrong half of the field.

When Maryland coach John Tillman spoke in the preseason about giving this group of 17 seniors freedom, as to not mess with the chemistry built among the group during the previous three seasons under Dave Cottle, perhaps this player-orchestrated play wasn't exactly what Tillman had in mind. A hidden-ball trick late in the third quarter of an NCAA tournament game? With your team ahead by just three goals?

But then again, that's probably the perfect time — when nobody is expecting it.