CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia attackman James Pannell recorded a career-high four goals, including his sudden death score with 2:16 left in the overtime period, lifting the No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) to a 14-13 season-opening win over the No. 12 Loyola Greyhounds (0-1), Thursday evening at Klöckner Stadium.
“I can’t remember any game like this,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I can’t ever remember being a part of something like this and I have been a part of games where there has been a severe momentum swing. But not to this degree and not to the sense of one team being able to make every play. We just couldn’t get the ball. I didn’t feel like we stopped playing, they just started making plays. We just seemed to always be behind the eight ball in the fourth. It certainly is a great win for us at the end of the day and a good way to open the season.”
The overtime heroics almost didn’t come to fruition after UVa squandered an eight-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter. After closing the third period with a 12-4 lead, UVa started the final frame with a man down when Greg Danseglio was tagged for slashing. The extra-man opportunity was just what Loyola needed to jumpstart a run of nine-straight goals, taking a 13-12 advantage. Tyler Albrecht capped the run with a goal with 13.7 second left in regulation.
Mick Parks won the ensuing faceoff for UVa and as time expired Ryan Tucker took a pass from Pannell, and tied the game, 13-13, with one-tenth of a second left. Parks then won the overtime faceoff and UVa managed to get three shots off before Pannell’s game-winner.
Loyola started the game quickly, owning a 2-0 lead at the 11:17 mark in the first period. UVa then rattled off a 4-1 run with three goals by Pannell leading the way. Brian Sherlock scored with 1:00 left in the first period to tie the game, 4-4. Loyola did not score again till the fourth quarter, a span of 31:23 without finding the back of the net.
UVa rattled off eight goals in the second and third period, including three by Mark Cockerton, one each by Tucker, Tyler German, Greg Coholan and Rob Emery. Emery’s goal with 1:23 left in the third quarter was UVa’s final score until Tucker tied the game at the end of regulation.
Virginia won the battles in ground balls (35-32), faceoffs (15-13) and saves (8-4). Behind 15 shots in the fourth quarter, Loyola won the shots battle, 41-31.
Pannell led all players with five points (four goals, one assist), while Cockerton registered his 14th career hat trick.
Virginia returns to action on Saturday when the Cavaliers travel to Richmond in the Spiders first-ever NCAA contest. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.