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Villanova Athletics | February 3, 2018

Villanova rallies to top No. 12 PSU in 33-goal OT thriller

  The Wildcats opened the season in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

John Kluh netted the sudden-victory goal for Villanova just seconds into the first overtime to secure a season-opening 17-16 win over No. 12 Penn State.

The Wildcats were down five heading into the fourth quarter after Penn State went on a four-goal run to end the third quarter up 14-9. Connor Kirst got the Wildcats' offense going in the final 15 minutes of regulation, netting the first goal and then dishing an assist to Danny Seibel just over a minute later to pull Villanova within three. Penn State's Nick Spillane scored his second goal of the day, but Kirst kept the Villanova offense going, assisting Colin Crowley's first career goal with just over 11 minutes to play in regulation.

MORE: Full USILA Top 20 rankings | Season preview

Christian Cuccinello would score two of the Wildcats' final four goals in the fourth, Jared Nugent and Seibel scored the others, this put the Villanova up 16-15 with just over four left.  The Nittany Lions called a timeout with a minute remaining, and were able to capitalize when Kevin Hill completed his hat trick to tie the game up. 

It only took Kluh 40 seconds into the first overtime to score the game winner on a fast break where he was able to loss his defender and get his shot to fall in the top corner. 

Villanova's only other lead of the day came in the second quarter when Eric Overbay netted his first career goal at the 6:39 mark. The game was tied nine different times and remained close from the beginning until the third, when Penn State outscored the Wildcats 7-3. 

Cuccinello finished with a team-high five goals on the day, while Kirst had four points on one goal and three assists. Freshmen Colin Crowley and Keegan Khan both made a big impact in their first collegiate games, each scoring two goals. Transfer Matt Barrett got the start in goal for the Wildcats and had three saves before Nick Testa played the final 53 minutes to pick up the win.

The Wildcats will travel to Frisco, Texas next to take on the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday, February 17th.