"Whether we won or we lost, it's still Feb. 9 on the calendar," said head coach John Danowski. "We're not going to get too high over a win or too low over a loss. I thought we generated a lot of shots, we rode, and we cleared the ball well. I thought the special teams were good and we fought in the fourth quarter even though we were down. I think overall for Feb. 9 there are a lot of positives we're going to take away from this going forward."
The loss end Duke's 10-game home win streak and is the Blue Devils' first loss in a season-opening game since 1998. Duke (0-1) and Denver (1-0) are the lone two ranked teams to face off against a ranked opponent to start the 2013 campaign.
Trailing 8-5 at intermission, Denver scored nine consecutive goals, including four by Adamson, to claim a 14-8 lead with 11:46 left in the fourth period when Eric Law found the back of the net.
"I thought Denver did a good job staying with their two-man game and we didn't communicate some simple picks, but Denver that's what they do. It's very different and they do it very well. You can try to simulate it in practice, but if we made a mistake they made us pay."
The resilient Blue Devils rallied, netting four straight tallies as Jordan Wolf's fourth marker of the game pulled Duke to within 14-12 with 33 seconds remaining. Duke junior Brendan Fowler won the ensuing faceoff, but David Lawson's shot bounced off the post and Denver recovered the loose ball to seal the victory.
Wolf led all scorers in the game with seven points from four goals and three assists, while junior Christian Walsh contributed three goals and an assist. Adamson amassed five goals and one helper for the Pioneers.
Duke scored five of the game's first six goals and led by a 6-2 margin after one period of play. Three straight Pioneer goals to open the second quarter pulled Denver within one, but markers by senior Jake Tripucka and Wolf in the final 1:19 sent the teams to the locker room with Duke ahead, 8-5.
Led by goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante, Denver's defense held the Blue Devils without a goal for the entire third period and well into the fourth period. Wolf broke the scoring drought of 23:08 with his goal off a Tripucka feed at the 7:10 mark of the fourth period.
For Denver, Gordie Koerber and Wes Berg chipped in three and two goals, respectively, to go with Adamson's six points. LaPlante posted a career-high 18 saves between the pipes.
Freshman Deemer Class posted his first collegiate point with an assist, while Tripucka added two goals and an assist in the season-opening performance. A the faceoff X, Fowler finished the day with 18 draws in 30 attempts while goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer made eight stops.
Duke won the ground ball battle 33-28 with Chris Hipps, Bill Conners and Will Haus each picking up three loose balls. Both squads had two man-up scores with the Blue Devils' man-down killing three of five penalties.
The Blue Devils host Jacksonville on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 12 p.m.