DENVER –Top-ranked Denver scored three goals in a span of 1:21 in the fourth quarter to pull away from the 14th-ranked Blue Devils for a 14-9 victory in front of a capacity crowd at Peter L. Barton Stadium Saturday afternoon. The game featured four ties and two lead changes with the Pioneers outscoring Duke 7-2 in the final period.
Duke falls to 2-2 on the year, while Denver improves to 2-0. The game was tied 8-8 with nine minutes remaining before Denver went on a 6-1 run in the final 7:30 to secure the victory.
Senior Jack Bruckner led Duke with three points from two goals and an assist, while Justin Guterding and John Prendergast both had two tallies. In goal, Danny Fowler made 11 stops in a solid outing. Connor Cannizzaro led all scorers with four goals and six points, while Trevor Baptiste won 17-of-25 faceoffs and added a goal.
After three quarters of back-and-forth lacrosse left Denver and Duke all even 7-7, the excitement continued into the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Pioneers, much like they had done the previous three quarters, regained the lead 8-7 3:34 into the fourth quarter. And the trend continued for the Blue Devils as Mitch Russell found Bruckner on the crease to tie the game for the fourth time.
However, Denver never let the momentum shift all the way in the Blue Devils’ favor. Just over a minute later Colton Jackson sparked a 3-0 run in 1:21 seconds to help the Pioneers pull away 11-8 with 6:09 remaining.
Guterding made it a two-goal game again in hopes of sparking one final run from the Blue Devils in the final three minutes, but Baptiste’s play at the faceoff X proved to be too much to overcome down the stretch.
The Blue Devils offense got off to a slow start, managing just five shots in the opening 15 minutes. Duke was impressive on the other end of the field, stifling a talented Denver attack in holding it to just two goals on 15 shots. Fowler made four saves in the first period, including one in the closing seconds to send Duke into the quarter break down just two.
Duke got the break it needed to spark the offense to start the second quarter as Bruckner threw in a rebound off of a save to put the Blue Devils on the board and then answered a Cannizzaro man-up goal with a 3-0 run on goals from Guterding, Prendergast and Kevin Quigley for the 4-3 lead late in the first quarter.
Denver answered right back with a pair of goals in the final 90 seconds for the 5-4 half time lead.
The up-and-down action continued in the third quarter with the Pioneers opening the quarter with a goal. Duke pulled within one again, only to see Denver go back in front by two. The Blue Devils finished the quarter with a man-up score from Brad Smith and a great defensive stand to set up the thrilling fourth quarter.
Kyle Rowe finished 9-of-25 from the X and picked up two ground balls.
Duke returns home next weekend to host Saint Joseph’s. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m., on the ACC Network Extra.