The No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers opened ACC play with a win, pulling away from the No. 8 Syracuse Orange and winning 17-12 on Saturday at Klöckner Stadium.
James Pannell led the Cavaliers with a career-high seven goals and Mark Cockerton tied a career high with seven points in the win.
“It’s certainly the best we have played and the closest to a complete game that we’ve played,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I told the team on the practice field yesterday that there is definitely going to be some ebb and flow in a game like this against these guys. I thought we battled the whole time, and even when they closed on us a couple times, I felt like we continued to play and never gave up or gave in to anything."
Syracuse jumped out to an early 3-0 lea, but UVa retaliated with a 6-0 run and the Cavaliers never trailed again. Pannell started the run scoring the first two goals of his career night. Ryan Tucker, Cockerton and Pat Harbeson all tallied scores before Pannell finished the spurt with his third goal of the game at the 11:05 mark.
After the 'Hoos opened a two-goal lead, Syracuse cut its deficit to one goal, 7-6 after scores by Scott Loy and Randy Staats. Rob Emery scored with 7.7 seconds on the clock to give UVa an 8-6 lead at the break.
“We’ve been ahead of these guys by seven or eight goals in the past and they’ve come back, but I wasn’t that concerned and was hoping we would get one tonight,” commented Starsia. “But other than that, we always felt like we were in control.”
A 3-1 Syracuse run to start the third tied the game at 9-9. The Cavaliers answered with four consecutive goals to separate itself by a margin of four, 13-9. Owen Van Arsdale scored on a Cockerton helper with 3:42 on the clock in the third period to cap the run.
Mick Parks won 24-of-31 faceoffs for UVa to help pace the victory. His 24 wins rank No. 2 all-time in the UVa record books for faceoff wins in a game.
With the win, UVa moves to 6-0 on the season and 1-0 in ACC play. The Cavaliers go on the road to face Cornell next Saturday, where faceoff is set for noon.