PITTSBURGH - Pitt junior Nico Wrobel scored the game-tying goal in the 72nd minute to help the Panthers earn a 1-1 draw against rival Saint Francis on Saturday at Ambrose Urbanic Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.
The contest, delayed by lightning strikes for 100 minutes, saw the teams combined for 33 shots and 15 saves. Pitt played a man down for the final 37 minutes of the second half and in both overtime periods (20 minutes).
"We had early chances and really in the first 20 minutes of the game we were all over them," said head coach Joe Luxbacher. "We played most of the second half and two overtimes a man down and our guys showed a lot of grit, which they have shown all year. Our guys battled back a man down for 65 minutes against a team that had not lost give up a goal or lost in eight games."
The Panthers (1-0-2) kept the ball at their end for more than half of the first stanza, peppering the Saint Francis defense with six shots over the span.
One of the best scoring opportunities came in the 36th minute on consecutive shots. Forward Cory Werth fired from the right side and six yards out, but was turned away by Red Flash goalkeeper Daniel Valcicak at the 36:12 mark. A minute later, sophomore Ryan Myers' header attempt was thwarted by the SFU netminder.
SFU (1-0-2) took a 1-0 lead 22 seconds on a quick outlet upfield following that play. Junior Nick Kolarac scored his second goal in as many games - this one coming from nearly 25 yards out. His shot soared high past Pitt goalkeeper Lee Johnston and into the right upper shelf. Wayne Tiller assisted on the play.
The game made it to the half, but lightning in the area would delay play for over an hour and a half.
One play resumed, the Panthers would be handed another setback. Freshman Nick Wysong earned a yellow card and a subsequent red at the 53:26 mark. The Panthers would play a man down the rest of the game.
Pitt tied the game on a rebound goal from Wrobel in the 72nd minute. Sophomore Ryan Myers' shot was stopped by Valcicak - one of his nine saves on the afternoon - but he was not able to control the ball. As the ball bounced in front of him, Wrobel took advantage as he one-timed it into the back of the net to knot the game at 1-1.
The goal was the first scored on Saint Francis in an eight-game span dating back to the 2011 season.
The Panthers' backline and Johnston helped to hang onto to the tie. Johnston turned away a sinking header by James Price in the 81th minute and in the 82nd stopped another SFU shot short by tapping it out of the box.
Defender Alex Fischettieaided in the cause in the first overtime. The senior redirected a cross headed to the foot of SFU's Mitch Kavlick to keep the Red Flash at bay.
Pitt outshot Saint Francis 18-15 in the match.
Pitt is back in action on Friday, September 7, hosting the Pitt/Nike Invitational at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The Panthers take on IPFW in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m., while Delaware and Duquesne kick off action at 5 p.m.
Pitt 1, Saint Francis 1 September 1, 2012, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Goals by Period
Scoring Pitt: Nico Wrobel (1) from Ryan Myers, 71:19 (rebound shot, 3 yards out). Saint Francis: Nick Kolarac (2) from Wayne Tiller, 37:32 (from 20 yards out, far right upper shelf).