Duke guts out a win. The #1 ranked Duke Devils (1-0) welcomed the #5 Denver Pioneers (1-1) to Koskinen Stadium on Friday afternoon. Duke was welcoming transfer student Michael Sowers and Netminder, former St. Joseph’s standout, Mike Adler in their Blue Devils debut.
Denver, coming off a less than stellar performance a week earlier, clearly had their game faces on and dominated early. A 7-0 advantage from the “X” and a five-goal run gave the Pios a 5-1 edge after the first 15 minutes. Brennan O’Neill (3 g, 1 a) put Duke in front 1-0 two and a half minutes in.
Denver woke up, flexed their muscles, and took charge. JJ Sillstrop (2g,1a) started the onslaught less than a minute after the Duke tally. Ethan Walker (2g), Sillstrop set up Jackson Morrill (3g) before Sillstrop hit the net again quickly followed by the second from Morrill to close the quarter with Denver in cruise control, 5-1.
With Duke reeling and on the ropes, Drew Erickson (1g) pushed it to 6-1 with just 1:27 played. Duke Coach John Danowski replaced Adler (3 saves off 9 shots) with Turner Uppgren (11 saves) and the move paid off. The aforementioned Sowers (1g,3a) showed his value, pushing it to 6-2.
Lucas Cotler (2g,1a) answered a minute later to maintain the Denver lead. Dyson Williams (1g) would counter but, Morrill quickly answered. Griffin Corley (1g) converted a Sowers feed and the curtain came down on the thrilling first half with the Pios holding an 8-4 advantage.
Things opened up in the third with a combined 7 goals with 5 from the Devils to change the face of this one. Cotler notched his second to give Denver a five goal edge that seemingly sealed the upset. Not so fast, Brennan O’Neill (2g) and Sowers combined for a pair and things were getting tight.
Sean Lowrie (1g) and Owen Caputo (2g) closed it to 9-8. Denver countered :11 later with Walker’s second of the day to push it to a two-goal lead at 10-8. Duke showed why they are ranked #1 and completely took over. Nakeie Montgomery (1g) scored with just :30 on the clock and momentum shifted. A fourth-quarter shut out and a three-goal performance signaled the difference. Cameron Badour (1g), Owen Caputo, and Reilly Welsh (1g) made the difference in a thriller.
The power play or, lack thereof spelled doom for Denver who went a dismal 1 of 7. Faceoffs went the Pios way, 19 of 25. Duke guts out a win. More lacrosse coverage by clicking here.