"We literally could not run past their guys," head coach John Danowski said. "Individually their scheme was very different from what we saw last week. Today we needed to run past people and today I thought Notre Dame was just better than us."
Duke (1-1) was led on offense by senior attackman Max Quinzani with three goals. Fellow attackman Ned Crotty dished out two assists, while junior attackman Zach Howell had one goal and one helper. Freshman goaltender Dan Wigrizer turned in a strong outing with 15 saves.
"[Notre Dame] had a game plan and they came out and executed it," Crotty said. "We couldn't get by their shortsticks. They would get long possessions on offense and finally we'd get a turnover and then we'd come down and want to make plays right away and get jumpy. Overall we didn't execute the way we wanted to."
The Fighting Irish (1-0) scored the game's first two goals, grabbing the early 2-0 lead 6:56 into first quarter. Quinzani put Duke on the board off an assist from Crotty with 4:29 left in the period, but Notre Dame outscored the Blue Devils 2-1 in the final 3:41 to take a 4-2 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
After a penalty on Duke, Notre Dame got a man-up score from Zach Brenneman and added another from Nicholas Beattie for a 6-2 advantage midway through the second frame. Brenneman finished the day with a team-high three goals and an assist.
With just under five minutes until halftime, the Blue Devils went on a 30-second scoring tear to make it a 6-5 contest. Redshirt sophomore Justin Turri started the spurt with an unassisted marker at 4:44 and Howell picked up a loose ball in a scrum off the faceoff and rolled it into the empty net to make it 6-4.
In a similar play off the ensuing restart, senior Parker McKee picked up a groundball and dropped in the net to pull the Blue Devils within one at the 4:14 mark of the second quarter. Unable to even the score in the final four minutes, Duke headed into the locker room trailing 6-5.
"We got those goals and then back to stick work and we threw the ball away right after that. We built momentum and then we had a letdown in throwing the ball away. They're a great team and got the ball back and had a long possession to take the momentum away from us."
The third quarter continued to be much of the same as Notre Dame would widen the lead and Duke would narrow the gap. The Fighting Irish scored to open the third quarter off a goal from Neal Hicks, the first of two in the frame. Hicks ended the game with two goals and an assist.
Quinzani cut the lead back to one with a stellar pass from Howell at 4:51 of the third quarter, but the Irish owned the final 19 minutes as they outscored the Blue Devils 4-1.
Notre Dame held a 46-33 advantage in shots, while Duke won the groundball battle 42-27. After struggling in the early going, the Blue Devils picked up the play at the faceoff X and won 11-of-21 for the game. Duke's man-down defense was outstanding, holding Notre Dame to just one goal on five extra-man opportunities.
In goal, Notre Dame's Scott Rodgers finished with 15 saves, including nine in the second half, to earn the win."
"It's still early," Crotty said. "We have a great coaching staff, great guys on the team. We'll learn from this and we'll figure out what we can do and what we can fix. We still have plenty of time."
The Blue Devils return to action on Feb. 27, hosting Pennsylvania at 3 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium.
Notes: Duke is now 32-3 all-time in the month of February and is 31-4 at home under head coach John Danowski ... Duke's Max Quinzani pushed his nation's-best scoring streak to 48 games with three goals.