After a thrilling overtime victory against John Hopkins on Sunday, the Hoos were back in action at Klöckner against in-state foe VMI Tuesday night. The series between the two Virginia schools started in 1949, and last night was their 23rd meeting. Entering the game, the Cavaliers held a 22-0 all-time record against the Keydets.
The Keydets came out strong with Tom Nofi scoring the first goal of the game followed by Cody Sheetz. With the lone Virginia score being made by Ryan Lukacovic, the Hoos trailed 1-2 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cavaliers’ offense dominated the second quarter as goals by Ryan Conrad and James Pannell quickly tied the game at 3-3 within the first five minutes. The Hoos then started a 7-0 scoring run against the Keydets as D’Amario contributed back-to-back scores within seconds. Pannell earned his 100th point following his second score of the night.
As the points and goals team leader for Virginia, James Pannell believes that this game along with the close win over Hopkins continues to add to their confidence. “We started off a little slow, once we started to move the ball a little better on offense and taking good shots, we got the results we wanted,” commented Pannell on the slow start in the first.
VMI’s offense continued to struggle during the third quarter, as Virginia’s Joe French, and Pannell scored three more goals giving the Cavaliers a ten-point lead. Wesley Sanders of VMI made their lone goal in this quarter.
The Hoos defense did not allow any more scores for the Keydets in the fourth quarter, ending the game. Coach Starsia credited the win to “James, Ryan Lukacovic, and D’Amario who really stepped up in the second quarter and got us going.” He says the team is finding out who they are, stating that “we aren’t that pretty, but we grind it out.”
Virginia plays again Saturday visiting the Richmond Spiders at 1PM. The Hoos are not taking this game lightly as Coach Starsia comments that “they are a quality team and we are going to have our hands full.”