The Virginia Cavaliers tallied their third one-goal win of the season Tuesday night, beating the St. Joseph's Hawks 15-14. Virginia's attackmen led the way, with Owen Van Arsdale scoring 5 goals and Ryan Lukacovic adding 4 more, including the game-winner with 1:26 to play. Zed Williams assisted Lukacovic's winning goal, as well as the Greg Coholan score that tied the game 2 minutes earlier.
Here are three things we learned:
Face-offs are still an issue
Virginia won the face-off battle, 18-14. Your guys win 56 percent of their draws, you're usually going to be in okay shape. But 4 of Virginia's wins at the X were by St. Joe's violations; take out those 4, and the teams split the draws 14-14. Against a team that simply doesn't have the talent of the Hoos, the orange-and-blue ought to be winning a majority of the face-offs without needing the other team to screw up.
Matt Barrett is less of a question mark than we thought
At the beginning of the year, face-offs and goalie play were two of the biggest concerns. Well, one still is and one VERY much isn't. Barrett kept Virginia in the game against Syracuse with 20 saves, and essentially won the Cornell game with a career-high 21. While his numbers came back down to earth against St. Joe's (13 saves, 14 goals allowed, a .481 save percentage), Barrett got enough of St. Joe's potential game-tying shot as time expired to send it wide of the net. If Barrett continues to trend upward, he can go a long way toward offsetting some of the Cavaliers' other deficiencies.
This team is mentally tough
These Cavaliers have won three games by one goal apiece, including a road win against a top-ten opponent to start the year. Three times, games have been seriously affected by the elements: the snowpocalypse against Drexel, the Cornell game that got moved to the turf field, and a rainy game against St. Joe's. Six of Matt Barrett's saves came in the fourth quarter. The Hoos answered a 3-0 St. Joe's run in the first half with a 4-0 run to end the second quarter. The Hawks' three-goal run to take the lead in the fourth quarter didn't end the game. There are weaknesses in different areas of the 2015 Cavaliers' game, but credit is due to Coach Starsia for making sure his boys are ready to rumble each and every game.