The No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers followed up their opening weekend win with their first road win of the season as they went to Philadelphia and easily handed the Drexel Dragons. Dox Aitken led the way for the Hoos with four goals, and Mike D’Amario chipped in two. Aitken’s four goals came on just seven shots (57%). Virginia had nine different players score in the game, and goalie Griffin Thompson had another solid day in the cage with nine saves and a 53% save percentage.
Will Manganiello led the Dragons with three goals and an assist.
Virginia won 17 of 25 face-offs (68%) and had 34 ground balls to Drexel’s 30. Defensively, Scott Hooper had five caused turnovers and first year Will Rock added three of his own.
Justin Schwenk won the opening face-off, going straight to cage and scored to give the Hoos a 1-0 lead nine seconds into the game. Conrad followed that up with another goal off of the face-off (this one won by a violation on Drexel) five seconds later, giving Virginia a 2-0 advantage with 14:45 to play in the first quarter.
Drexel cut the deficit to 2-1 with 7:33 left in the quarter on a goal by Manganiello. Dox Aitken notched his first of the game with 6:19 remaining to push the lead back to two goals, assisted by Michael Kraus. Virginia took at 4-1 lead at the 2:43 mark on a Mike D’Amario score (Mikey Herring with the assist). That lead would hold going into the second quarter thanks to outstanding defense by the Hoos and three first quarter saves by Griffin Thompson in goal.
The Hoos won all six of the face-offs in the first quarter with Schwenk going a perfect 5-for-5 with a goal (Luke Brugel took the other one).
Schwenk opened the second quarter with another face-off win, but the Hoos were unable to capitalize. Robert Frazee cut Drexel’s disadvantage in half with 13:09 to play in the second quarter, assisted by Manganiello. Drexel’s Jimmeh Koita got his first face-off win of the game following Frazee’s goal, but the Hoos forced the turnover out of the timeout to regain possession. Drexel went offsides on the ensuing clear, giving Virginia a man-up opportunity. Michael Kraus got a good look on cage as the penalty was expiring, but Dragon keeper Casey DuBois came up with a big save to keep Kraus off the board.
Mangianello brought Drexel within one with a goal on the other end, and the Dragons won the next face-off. Scott Hooper was called for a slash, but Drexel went wide on the shot and the Hoos were able to kill the penalty and drew the Dragons offsides again. Virginia wouldn’t get the man-up opportunity, however, thanks to an outside bomb of a shot by Aitken to make it 5-3 Hoos with 7:05 to play in the first half.
Ryan Lamb found pay dirt for the first time this season, taking his man one-on-one and burying a left-handed bouncer to double up the Dragons 6-3. Cam Stafford pushed the lead to 7-3 on a man-up goal with 4:50 to play, and Regan Quinn got his first of the season less than a minute later to make it a commanding 8-3 lead.
Aitken got the hat trick to make it 9-3 and drew a cross-checking foul on Drexel’s Jake Kiernan to give the Hoos another man advantage opportunity, this one for a minute. Virginia got ambitious on a feed towards the crease with time running out on the EMO, giving DuBois an easy save. The Dragons had a chance to close the gap with four seconds left in the half, but Thompson made a diving save - his sixth of the first half - to keep the score at 9-3 at the intermission.
Virginia had seven different goal scorers in the first half, led by Aitken with three. Herring had two assists, and Schwenk won nine of the 12 face-offs he took. As a team the Hoos won 10-of-14 face-offs in the first half and shot 39% (9-of-23). After 12 first half turnovers against Loyola, the Cavaliers only had five against the Dragons and successfully converted six of their seven first half clears. Defensively, the Hoos held Drexel to just 18 shots in the first half and seven turnovers, four of which were caused.
The Hoos won the opening face-off of the second half, but a turnover and an offsides call gave Drexel possession and Reid Bowering took advantage with a goal on the crease to make it 9-4. Drexel scored again, closing the deficit to four with another goal by Manganiello at the 11:51 mark.
Virginia stopped Drexel’s mini-run with back-to-back goals by John Fox and D’Amario to make it 11-5 with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter. D’Amario’s second goal came on a beautiful feed from Quinn who faked the big outside shot to dish it to his teammate on the crease with the easier finish. Marshall King scored on a nice back cut for the Dragons to close Drexel back within five to end the third quarter with Virginia leading 11-6.
Another failed clear - this one an errant pass by Thompson - gave Drexel the ball and Matt Varian put pressure on the Hoos with his first goal of the game to close the deficit to four at 11-7 with 12:22 to play. Aitken appeared to have a good look, but Drexel’s Matt Klinge came up with an impressive steal on the shot. Thompson came up huge on a save in transition, and Aitken would notch his fourth of the game on Virginia’s ensuing possession to push the lead back to five at 12-7.
After an extended possession, Matt Moore connected on a bounce shot to push Virginia’s lead to 13-7 with 4:00 left. Varian scored one more for the Dragons on a man-up with 1:38 to go, but the Hoos won the face-off and were able to run out the clock to secure the win.
Next up, Virginia heads to High Point on Tuesday for a 7pm game.