ATHENS, Ohio -- Matthew Sillaman (Sr., Riverside, Calif.) scored twice, including the game-winner with 10 seconds left in the first three-minute overtime period, to earn Player of the Game honors as the No. 9 nationally ranked University of Oregon Ducks shocked No. 5 ranked the University of Pennsylvania 6-5 OT in the opening round of the 2008 National Collegiate Club Championship on the campus of Ohio University.
In a game which featured no lead larger than a single goal, it was the goalies that came up big down the stretch as Penn's Michael Rico (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) and Oregon's Tony Nuccio (Fr., San Clemente, Calif.) combined to stop 15 shots, including four in the final 30 seconds of play in regulation.
Tied 2-2 at halftime, the teams traded scoring trips in the third period to set up a dramatic end to regulation and overtime.
Penn jumped ahead 3-2 57 seconds into the second half thanks to a shot by Shane Gillette (Jr., Bay Shore, Trinidad), but the Ducks flew back into the game in a hurry with a marker by Nate Jessop (Sr., Ashland, Ore.) with 2:52 remaining in the period.
Oregon went ahead 4-3 at the 1:59 mark of the period for the first time since a 1-0 lead with 1:33 left in the first period as Sillaman converted on a chance in front of the cage, but the Quakers countered courtesy a shot from the outside by Alex Valner (So., Los Angeles, Calif.) with 17 ticks left on the period clock to knot the game at four-all entering the fourth period.
Neither team could muster much offense in the fourth for the first 6:30 of play as the defense in front of the cage locked down to prevent any easy scoring chances. However, the final 30 seconds of the period were explosive as the teams combined to hit three posts.
First, with the shot clock winding down, Sillaman unleashed a shot with 30 seconds left which deflected off the post and into the arms of Rico who passed the ball up tank to his offense.
On the ensuing possession, Penn had its chance to put the game away with 18 seconds on the clock as Valner rattled the cage with a rocket which hit the upper crossbar and came back into play in front of Nuccio. A scramble ensued with Nuccio and two Oregon defenders wrestling with a Penn driver before the pool popped out of the water and appeared headed for the goal mouth. However, Nuccio wrangled the ball before it crossed the plane of the cage to keep his team's hopes alive.
Following a turnover, Penn raced back down the tank and unleashed a point blank shot which Nuccio turned away with seven seconds on the clock. Needing a score to end the game in regulation, Nuccio rifled a pass down tank to Sillaman who fired a shot that deflected off the inside of the left cage post and away from the cage as the horn sounded to end regulation.
In the two three-minute extra periods of overtime, the scoring and drama escalated as Penn regained the lead for the first time since the 2:51 mark of the third period as Benjamin Naecker (Sr., Pasadena, Calif.) converted on an exclusion chance to give the Quakers a 5-4 lead. Oregon answered back with an exclusion score of its own with 54 seconds remaining in the first OT period as Conor Broom (So., Redwood City, Calif.) netted his only goal of the game.
The score tied the game and set-up Sillaman's heroics as he punched in a natural goal with 10 ticks left on the clock in the first OT period.
Neither Penn nor Oregon could manage another goal in the final three-minute overtime period as Sillaman's marker stood up as the game-winner.
In cage, Nuccio made eight saves to earn the win for Oregon, while Rico took the loss while making seven saves.
Oregon advances to face No. 1 ranked Michigan State University at 11:20 a.m. on November 15, while Penn will next face Columbia University at 8:40 p.m. on November 14.
|University of Oregon||1||1||2||0||2||6|
|University of Pennsylvania||0||2||2||0||1||5|
Penn Goals: Ben Naecker (2); John Gillette; Alex Valner; Shane Gillette
Oregon Goals: Matthew Sillaman (2); Conor Broom (2); Andrew Del Carlo; Nate Jessop
Saves: Penn - Michael Rico (7) ; Oregon - Tony Nuccio (8)
Ejections: Penn - 8 ; Oregon - 9
Sprints: Penn - 5 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th) ; Oregon - 1 (4th)