Duke falls to 8-4 overall with the loss, while the Pioneers improve to 8-2 on the year. Five other Blue Devils each tallied one goal apiece with senior Zach Howell and freshman Christian Walsh both totaling two points on a goal and an assist. Todd Baxter paced Denver with four goals and an assist, while Cameron Flint had three goals.
The first half was a tight affair that featured three ties and two lead changes. Duke opened the scoring with a transition goal from senior Terrence Molinari. Howell assisted on the score. After six minutes of scoreless lacrosse, Denver evened the game as Chase Carraro snuck his shot past the stick of Duke Blue Devil goaltender Dan Wigrizer.
The back-and-forth action continued in the final 2:42 with the squads combing for three goals in that span. The Blue Devils opened a 3-1 lead with goals from David Lawson and Stephen Coyle. Seconds later, Flint notched his first goal of the game to make it a 3-2 game after 15 minutes of action.
Denver added two more goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter for its first lead, 4-3, of the contest. Rotanz responded with consecutive scores of his own to put the Blue Devils back in front with 48 seconds left to go.
The Pioneers came out and won the ensuing faceoff and just 15 seconds later Baxter fired a shot in from Mark Matthews to tie the game going into halftime.
Duke held a narrow 20-19 advantage in shots and led 13-11 in ground balls after 30 minutes of play.
Denver started the third frame much the way it began the second quarter. The Pioneers scored twice in the opening six minutes to take a 7-5 lead for good at the 9:09 mark. Rotanz recorded his third goal of the game less than a minute later to pull Duke to within one, but Denver would never let Duke any closer.
The Pioneers scored three of the next four goals to open a 10-7 lead heading into the final minute. Rotanz added another goal for Duke with 24 seconds left in the stanza to send Duke into the final quarter trailing 10-8.
After the two teams combined for eight goals in the third quarter, the offense firepower slowed down in the fourth session. Neither team was able to get on the board until 5:56 left to play as Denver's Mark Matthews put Denver back in front by three goals. Flint netted an empty net goal at 2:09 to ice the victory for the pioneers. Howell closed out the scoring for the Blue Devils with a man-up goal.
Duke held a 42-34 advantage in shots for the game and Denver won the ground ball battle 28-26. The Blue Devils won 13-of-25 faceoffs with CJ Costabile going 8-of-14 overall. In goal, Wigrizer had 11 saves for the Blue Devils. Jamie Faus made 16 stops for the Pioneers, including seven in the fourth quarter.
Duke returns home for its next two games. The Blue Devils host Presbyterian on April 11 at 7 p.m. and Virginia on April 16 at 12 p.m.