With only 45 seconds left in overtime, Denver's Jeremy Noble knew what he had to do. It was score here, or face another overtime. He wanted no part of the latter. His pump-fake then low shot went right past Villanova's Dan Willis and the Denver Pioneers escaped with a 9-8 win over the Villanova Wildcats. This is the Wildcats' first conference loss of the season.
'Nova got off to a hot start. Goals by senior Kevin O'Neil and Eric Gartner had the 'Cats up 2-0 with 9:52 left in the first quarter. After nearly six and a half minutes of scoreless play, the Pioneers' Noble assisted Erik Adamson on a goal to cut the lead to one. Two minutes later, Adamson found the back of the net again, this time from Jack Bobzien. The first quarter concluded with this 2-2 tie.
To begin the second, Villanova's John LoCascio took a penalty to give a man-up advantage to the Pioneers. They took advantage of the chance with Tyler Pace giving Denver the lead. Denver would add two more goals before the half ended by Wesley Berg and Pace again, respectively. The 'Cats were shutout in the second quarter.
At the half, Denver totaled more shots on goal with 14 compared to 'Nova's 6. Villanova was called for 6 penalties in the first two quarters, with Denver kept it to 2. The faceoffs were even.
Being down 5-2 to start the second half, the Wildcats needed huge steps to get back in the game. At the 13:12 mark, Jack Curran found the net to bring the score to 5-3, but just two minutes later Erik Adamson completed the hat trick to stretch the lead to 3 again. Reportedly Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono entered the stands at this point. Why would that be important? The Wildcats immediately went on a 3-0 run thanks to Chris Piccirilli, O'Neil, and Gartner. The 6-6 tie brought us to the 4th quarter.
The Pioneers got another hat trick in Pace who broke the tie 2:32 into the 4th. When Wesley Berg brought the lead to 2 with 6:57 remaining, many thought a comeback would be too tough. But, Tim Mulrenan put the 'Cats within 1, then Mark Jackson tied it up at 8 with 1:59 left in the game. Overtime it is.
In an overtime filled with timeouts by both sides, Jeremy Noble took the ball and charged towards the net. He spun around his defender and snuck it in the bottom right corner to seal the victory for the Pioneers.
Denver improves to 9-2 (3-0) and Villanova falls to 4-6 (2-1). The Wildcats next take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, NJ. Opening faceoff is slated for 7:00pm.