Sixth-ranked Duke advances to the quarterfinals for the 11th time overall and for the fifth straight season. The Blue Devils (13-5) will take on No. 4 seed Notre Dame in the quarterfinals in Foxborough, Mass. The game is schedule for May 22 at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.
"We knew that the Delaware kids were so mentally tough that it didn't surprise me that we got a lead and they just kept coming back and kept playing," Duke head coach John Danowski said. "I was very proud of our guys. We've always preached that we want to be a team and you never know when it's your time to step up. Today was an example with Mike Rock who's a guy who hasn't really played significant time and stepped in and did a phenomenal job."
Howell finished the evening with four goals, including Duke's final two goals in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference, and an assist for five points. Wolf chipped in three goals and two helpers. Overall, Duke had a balanced attack with nine different players registering a goal and 12 different Blue Devils with at least one point. Sophomore Josh Offit finished with two goals and senior defenseman Tom Montelli had a goal and an assist.
Grant Kaleikau led all Delaware with three goals and three assists and Eric Smith added two goals and two helpers. Matt Stefurak helped to anchor the defense with four caused turnovers.
The game was one of runs as the Blue Devils jumped all over Delaware (11-7) 6-1 in the first quarter. Duke had four goals from four different players in the opening 4:16 and added two more to match its largest lead of the season after the opening 15 minutes.
Delaware, unfazed by what became a six-goal deficit to start the second, roared back to within two at halftime. The Blue Hens scored five of the final six goals of the quarter, including three in 1:39. Sean Finegan started the run with two goals and then Delaware showed its scoring depth in the final next 99 seconds with three markers from three different players. Kevin Kaminiski, Smith and Kaleikau all got in the mix to pull the Blue Hens within two at the break.
The Blue Hens made it a one-goal contest, 9-8, at the start of the third quarter on a man-up score from John Mills. That proved to be as close as Delaware could get as it battled back to within one goal one more time, but could not get over that final hurdle.
After being held without a goal for over 17 minutes Duke rebounded by scoring four unanswered to build its lead back to five, 13-8, seven seconds into the fourth quarter. In that stretch included a 35-minute weather delay that sent both teams to the locker rooms between the third and fourth quarter.
Trailing 15-10 with 4:50 left to play, Delaware regained momentum of the game again and netted three goals in 29 seconds to make it a 15-13 contest with 3:16 left to play. After trading possession over the next two minutes with neither team scoring, the Blue Hens made it interesting as Taylor Burns slipped a shot past Rock to make it 15-14 with 19 seconds left.
Delaware's Dan Cooney won the ensuing faceoff, but some pressure from the Blue Devils resulted in a turnover and ground ball from Costabile that helped to run out the clock. Delaware goaltender Noah Fossner attempted one last shot, but the ball sailed wide to give Duke the victory.
Delaware had a 40-30 edge in shots and both squads finished with 36 ground balls apiece. Cooney won 19-of-32 faceoffs for the Blue Hens, while Costabile was 6-of-12 at the X and Brendan Fowler went 5-of-13 in restarts. Costabile led all players with 10 ground balls, while Chris Hipps had four.
In goal, Fossner had five saves and two ground balls. Rock picked up one ground ball to go with his career-high 12 saves.
Duke and Notre Dame will square off for the second time this season when the two teams meet in the NCAA Quarterfinal in Foxborough, Mass. The Fighting Irish defeated the Blue Devils earlier this season, 12-7, in Jacksonville, Fla. The winner will advance to championship weekend in Baltimore, Md. on May 28-30.
Duke improves to 21-13 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and is 12-3 in the postseason since 2007... The Blue Devils have won their previous five NCAA Tournament outings ... Head coach John Danowski improves to 15-10 overall and 12-3 at Duke ... This will be his ninth appearance in the quarterfinal round all-time ... Senior Zach Howell now has 22 goals and eight assists for 30 points in eight career NCAA Tournament games to rank fourth in goals and fifth in career points in Duke history ... Jordan Wolf and Howell both have six hat tricks on the year to lead Duke, while it is Howell's fifth five-point outing and Wolf's fourth ... Duke is now 8-5 in one-goal games under Danowski and is 5-7 all-time in one-goal contests in the NCAA Tournament ... Senior goaltender Mike Rock is now 3-0 in NCAA Tournament games after securing wins in the first two NCAA outings in 2010.