The loss ends Duke's win streak at 10 games and is the Blue Devils' first loss since March 10. Duke is now 13-4 overall, while Denver improves to 8-5 for the season. Duke twice attempted to mount a comeback, but could never take the lead against the Pioneers.
"We knew it was going to be difficult to come out here and play," head coach John Danowski said. "We've traveled for the past three weekends now and classes ended this week and we understood it was going to be a challenge. With that being said, Denver was great today and deserved to win. They were the better team. It was great for our guys to play in a hostile environment and this was a good one for us. You don't always win with a win and hopefully we learn from this one."
Denver jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game and never trailed. After falling behind 5-2, the Blue Devils rallied to make it 5-5 late in the second quarter. In the 3-0 run for Duke, three different Blue Devils registered goals in a span of 1:40.
Junior Jake Tripucka started the quick spurt of offense with a great individual effort, while Costabile took the faceoff right down the field for a goal six seconds later. Lawson completed the comeback for the Blue Devils with his first score of the game and 10th of the season.
Pioneer attackman Alex Demopoulos put Denver in the lead for good 39 seconds later send Denver into the locker room with a 6-5 advantage.
The third quarter was all Denver as the Pioneers outscored Duke 5-1 in the frame. Matthews netted two goals and assisted on a third to help Denver to its largest lead of the game at 11-6 with 15 minutes to play.
Needing a furious fourth-quarter rally, Duke started the final period with three goals in 1:22 to pull back within two, 11-9. That was the closest the game had been since it was 7-5 at the 12:55 mark of the third quarter.
Lawson tallied his third goal of the game off an assist from Wolf and Wolf added another score seven seconds later to make it an 11-8 game. Riding the wave of momentum, senior Robert Rotanz notched his first marker of the evening, cutting Denver's five goal advantage to just two with 12:08 to play.
Just like they had all game, the Pioneers had an answer. They locked down on defense and added four unanswered to close out the game, 15-9. Matthews added a goal and an assist in the final run of the game.
Duke held a narrow 38-35 advantage in shots and edged the Pioneers in the ground ball game, 25-24. Costabile won 6-of-15 restarts and had nine ground ball, while Brendan Fowler was 7-of-12 from the X with five pickups.