In what has become a bit of a pattern this season, the Virginia Cavaliers followed up a disappointing loss with a win as UVA bounced back from Thursday’s defeat to Duke with a confidence-boosting win over Quinnipiac on Saturday.
Scoring-wise, UVA’s attack led the way as and Payton Cormier (two goals, four assists) Xander Dickson (five goals), and Connor Shellenberger (three goals, two assists) put on a clinic despite usual starter Matt Moore missing another game with a hamstring injury.
At the face-off X, Petey LaSalla put on a clinic by winning 23 of 28 and shouldering just about the entire load with his backup Gable Braun out with a stomach bug.
After a Quinnipiac goal opened the game’s scoring, Shellenberger responded with three straight goals in 3:21 of play. That was an encouraging sight to see for Wahoo fans considering the attackman’s recent shooting struggles. Since Shellenberger’s been dealing with a shoulder injury, the UVA coaching staff pulled him from the game before the end of the first half as the ‘Hoos had built a more than comfortable lead.
After Shellenberger notched his hat-trick, UVA’s midfield got in on the action as Griffin Schutz and Patrick McIntosh each scored and Jeff Conner fed Cormier for a goal. Dickson found his groove in the second period with four tallies while Virginia continued to display its depth at midfield. Junior Michael Bienkowski scored his first goal of the season, Jack Simmons added a pair, Conner found the back of the net, and Evan Zinn ripped a bouncer past the Quinnipiac keeper.
That meant that by the end of the first 30 minutes UVA led 15-3 with plenty of gas left in the tank.
The Wahoo offense slowed down in the second half with more substitutions being made. Schutz, Dickson, and Cormier each scored one last time before Lars Tiffany started to truly empty the bench. Paul Rodriguez — who subbed in at attack — found the back of the net twice with nifty finishes while McIntosh added his second of the day midway through the fourth quarter.
That was it for Virginia’s scoring on the day and despite Quinnipiac’s four fourth quarter goals, the ‘Hoos pulled out the 11-goal win and improve to 9-3 on the season. Next up, UVA heads to Syracuse on Saturday for a 4:00 PM contest that could clinch Virginia an ACC Title.