"We talked about [how we haven't played well in the second half] last night in our team meeting," head coach John Danowski said. "We haven't been a good fourth-quarter team. We've been outscored this year. Then when it got to the fourth quarter today we said 'You want to be a better fourth-quarter team, here's your opportunity. Prove it.'"
Duke (7-2) pushes its wins streak to six games and remains unbeaten at home this season. Three different Blue Devils notched at least three goals as freshman Christian Walsh and sophomore Josh Offit both chipped in three goals to go with Wolf's four tallies. Hoya sophomore Davey Emala led Georgetown overall with four goals, including three in the first half, and an assist for the game.
Trailing by as many as five in the first half, Duke took its first lead of the game at the 7:40 mark of the fourth quarter with a goal from senior Zach Howell. The Blue Devils held Georgetown (3-4) scoreless for 22:49 over the course of the third and fourth quarters as they mounted the comeback. Duke scored five consecutive during the Hoyas' scoreless stretch.
Georgetown dominated the scoreboard throughout the opening 30 minutes. After Duke tied the game with a goal from Howell at 9:42 of the first quarter, the Hoyas posted five unanswered from five different players in a span of 6:49 to go in front 6-1. The Blue Devils made it 6-2 at the end of the opening stanza with a score from Walsh.
Junior CJ Costabile pulled Duke within three to start the second quarter, but Georgetown responded with a pair to make it 8-3 with 8:19 remaining in the second frame. Duke's Offit and Walsh both netted a goal to make it a three-goal game again with just over three minutes until halftime.
"Give Georgetown the credit of attacking us when they cleared the ball. They got early offense and went to the goal right away. They made plays and you have to give them credit for that."
Getting the ball back with under a minute to play, the Hoyas executed well out of the timeout and Max Seligmann notched his first of the game to give Georgetown a 9-5 advantage at the break. Duke led the way in shots (22-17) and ground balls (18-17) in the first half, but managed to fire just 10 of those shots on frame.
"I was strangely confident [at halftime]," Danowski said. "I thought that in the first half our attackmen did a poor job of exchanging the ball so we turned the ball over a lot on the offensive end and I thought we could get better at that in the second half. I thought that we could settle in and play six-on-six defense and just play them six-on-six and I thought that eventually we were going to hit the cage. I just felt strangely confident that if we kept playing we could get back in the game."
Duke, looking for its first win after trailing at halftime this season, came out strong to start the third stanza. Walsh registered his third goal of the game 1:52 into the quarter off an assist from Wolf to make it 9-6. Offit made it a 9-7 score just over a minute later and Wolf rounded out the three-goal run at the 10:53 mark to make it a one-goal affair at 9-8.
After Georgetown edged back ahead by two with a goal from Gerry Reilly, Duke clamped down on defense. Wolf dropped in an unassisted score with 1:50 left in the third quarter to make it 10-9 and the Blue Devils added four unanswered in the final session to pull away. Four different Blue Devils scored during the five-goal run that gave Duke the lead and ultimately the two goal win.
Trailing 13-11, Georgetown's Ricky Mirabito scored with 43 ticks left in the game to make it a one-goal game. However a win by Costabile at the ensuing faceoff gave Duke the possession and allowed Wolf to drop in an empty-net score to clinch the victory.
Freshman Brendan Fowler took the majority of faceoffs, going 12-of-21 at the X. His 12 wins and 21 restarts were a career high. Senior Tom Montelli registered three caused turnovers and picked up two ground balls, while Costabile had a team-high eight ground balls for the game. Costabile also was 4-of-8 on restarts.
Duke held a 43-38 advantage in shots, while both teams finished with 39 ground balls apiece. Duke won 16-of-30 faceoffs, including 5-of-6 in the third quarter. Neither team was able to manage a man-up goal as Duke went 0-6 and Georgetown went 0-3.
In goal, Duke sophomore Dan Wigrizer made 11 stops for his fifth game of the season with double-digit saves. Jack Davis had eight saves for the Hoyas.
Duke will get a short break before hosting Ivy League foe Brown on Tuesday, March 29 at 3 p.m.