Penn storms back in final 2:30 in 6-5 win over Villanova

Penn storms back in final 2:30 in 6-5 win over Villanova

Penn storms back in final 2:30 in 6-5 win over Villanova

Penn storms back in final 2:30 in 6-5 win over Villanova

Philadelphia, PA - In what seems to be a theme for both teams, Penn notched its first victory of the season with a 6-5 win over Villanova, after their tough one goal loss at Johns Hopkins last week. This was Villanova's first loss of the season, despite its first two wins coming by a combined three goals.

To start the game Penn enjoyed a long controlled possession. Villanova refused to break, and when the Quakers were able to get a shot off, Joe Canuso was in net for Villanova to record six first quarter saves (to go with his 13 for the game). Towards the end of the first quarter, Penn’s captain, Will Phillips, was called for a slash. This gave Villanova the man-up opportunity, but Penn held strong, with their keeper, Ryan Kelly coming up with a huge save towards the tail end of the penalty. It would be nearly fourteen minutes before either team would start the scoring. Villanova’s Richie Kratz put in Nova’s first goal on a quick stick in front of the crease off a feed as Brendan O’Donnell drove from X.

While Penn controlled the ball for most of the first, it was Villanova who was able to take a 1-0 advantage heading into the second.

Matt Starker would put the Wildcats ahead 2-0 almost three minutes into the second. He received the feed from Dan Fanelli in a slow-break situation. Penn Freshman, Alex Salihi, would answer for the Red and Blue as he notched his first collegiate goal to cut into the lead. Will Phillips extended his scoring streak to 20 straight games as he assisted James Riordan to even the score at the 7:59 mark in the second. The pass wasn’t pretty, it sort of floated out of Phillips’ stick, as he looked to be trying to pull it back, but nonetheless, Riordan was there to pick it out there and find the back of the net.

Not to be outdone, Villanova would capitalize on a Penn slash, and go ahead by thanks to a Marc Creegan goal. O’Donnell was given the assist as he drove from X and fed Creegan on the man-up opportunity. Penn would answer on a man-up opportunity shortly after. Freshman David Cornbrooks found DJ Andrzejewski who with about six seconds left in the penalty ripped a shot from 15 yards out that Canuso didn’t stand a chance on. The goal gave Andrzejewski his first goal of the season and Cornbrooks his first collegiate point, as well as sending the game into the half tied at 3.

The third quarter mimicked the first quarter in scoring, only this time it was raining relatively hard. Andrzejewski added the Quakers’ fourth goal of the game 1:39 into the half. Neither team was able to establish any good looks at the net in the third quarter. When they did have an opportunity, both goalies came up big, or the shots went wide of the cage.

The rain eventually stopped towards the tail end of the third quarter, the offenses didn’t come back until the fourth however. Penn opened the fourth by killing a Riordan penalty, but before they could even sub on to make it 6-on-6, Villanova’s Richie Kratz made a nice feed from up-top to Marc Creegan who finished it from the crease, evening the score once again.

It would be nearly another seven minutes before the deadlock was broken. With 7:53 left in the game, Matt Starker added his second goal of the game for the Wildcats. Penn was caught in a delayed penalty call, and as Villanova was trying to keep possession and stay within the box, Starker found a hole in the Quaker defense and put in the unassisted goal giving Villanova the 5-4 lead.

Penn was able to get the ball back on offense from the faceoff, but was unable to get anything going. Villanova then showed that they weren’t looking to build on their lead, but were content with a one-goal difference and were going to take some time off of the clock. The refs forced Villanova to keep the ball in the box, but Villanova was able to successfully kill valuable time off of the clock. The Quaker defense however was able to cause a turnover as goalie Ryan Kelly slid out of the net to help on crease and Pat Connelly came up with the groundball to put Penn back on the offensive. With about 3:18 remaining in the game, Penn had the ball down one and called a timeout to set up the offense.

Here’s where it got exciting…off of the timeout, Andrzejewski drove from the restraining line and fed a wide-open Quaker in the crease who couldn’t handle the pass. Nova came up with the groundball and passed to their keeper at X. Ethan Haire, who helped the Quakers dominate on faceoffs (a 10-for-14 Penn advantage on the day), had switched to attack to try and give the Quakers some life, came up with the groundball as the goalie was stripped of it at X. Haire turned the corner to a wide open net, faked, and was stuffed by the sprinting goalie as he dove (literally) back into the net.

Penn regained possession and senior captain Will Phillips came up big as he added the tying goal with 2:17 remaining in the game. Alan Eberstein would win the faceoff for Penn and as he fought to find an open man faced tremendous pressure from Nova’s LSM. As a last ditch effort, Eberstein tried to roll the ball on the Franklin Field turf to Riordan who was desperately trying to get open, but Riordan was unable to stop it from going out of bounds. With about 2 minutes left it was Villanova ball. From the whistle, a Villanova close defender attempted the cross-field pass to another longpole. The ball howevever sailed out-of-bounds.

Penn took their time from the in-bounds as they tried to set up their offense and get the best possible opportunity. PJ Gilbert picked an opportune time for his first collegiate goal. He took the ball from about the restraining live, drove, and found the back of the net on a great shot, putting the Quakers up 6-5 with 29 seconds remaining. Villanova would get the ball on offense one last time, but their desperation attempt fell short.

For Villanova, Canuso came up big in net with 13 saves, as the Quakers outshot Villanova 41-25. Junior Jon Urbana also had a big day for the Wildcats as he picked up 5 groundballs as he rotated between close defense and longstick middie. It seemed as if Urbana was all over the field making plays. Villanova returns to action on Tuesday at home against Bucknell.

Penn seemed to have a very good offensive game plan. They didn’t force many bad shots, seemed patient to run through their looks in the hopes of finding the best shots available. Unfortunately, their shooting was a little off as they missed the cage of 22 shots. Defensively, the Quakers also looked solid as they received 7 saves from senior leader Ryan Kelly. The Wildcats didn’t test Kelly that much, and in Kelly’s defense the five goals were all pretty much point-blank shots. The Quakers return to action on Wednesday at home against Lehigh.

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