DENVER – Senior Eric Law (Centennial, Colo.) scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period, as the No. 3/3 University of Denver men’s lacrosse team defeated Bellarmine 11-10 Sunday afternoon at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium in front of 2,027 fans. The win brings the Pioneers to 9-2 on the season, 4-0 in Eastern College Athletic Conference action, while the Knights fall to 7-3 overall and 3-3 in ECAC play.
Senior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario) matched a career-high with four goals, tallying his 10th career hat-trick. He also added one assist to finish with five points. Law finished with five points on three goals and two assists. Sophomore Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, British Columbia) recorded two goals, bringing his season total to 33, while senior Colin Scott (Ridgefield, Conn.) tallied a pair of assists.
The Pioneers recorded 57 shots in the contest, three shy of tying the DU Division I single-game record, but Bellarmine goalkeeper Dillon Ward finished with 20 saves to hold Denver to 11 goals. Ward came into today’s game as the top goalie in the country in save percentage and ranked No. 3 in saves per game. Michael Ward recorded two goals and one assist for the Knights, while Cameron Gardner and Lance Robinson tallied two goals apiece.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and their goalie was just phenomenal,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “I thought our guys played really hard. We have to give credit to the other team’s defense and goalie because they came out and played tough the entire game. The guys showed a lot of courage to come back multiple times during the game to get the win.”
Both teams were held scoreless for the first nine minutes of action, before Berg got the Pioneers on the board with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter. The Knights leveled the score two minutes later on a tally from Ward, but the Pioneers retook the lead with two seconds left in the first quarter, when sophomore goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) passed the ball the length of the field to Law, who fired it past the goalie. It was LaPlante’s first career assist. LaPlante finished the day with five saves.
Bellarmine wasted no time in the second quarter, as it scored back-to-back goals to take a 3-2 lead just over 2:30 into the quarter. The Pioneers answered with two goals from Berg and Flint to retake the lead at 4-3, but the Knights evened the score on a goal from Gardner with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter, and the teams entered the break tied at four.
Flint brought the Pioneers back on top when he fired the ball into the back of the net, two minutes into the second half, before sophomore Eric Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) brought the lead to 6-4 with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter. Bellarmine answered, however, with two straight goals from Robinson to tie the game with just over 5:30 remaining in the quarter, and the teams entered the closing frame tied at six.
The Knights stretched the run to four unanswered, as they took an 8-6 lead with less than seven minutes left into the fourth quarter, but the Pioneers fought back with back-to-back goals from Flint and Law, snapping a 15-minute scoreless stretch to tie the game at eight with 6:12 remaining. The teams traded goals from there to bring the score to a tie at 9-9, before Ward found the net with less than three minutes to play, giving Bellarmine a 10-9 edge. Flint scored his fourth goal of the contest less than 30 seconds later, however, to level the score at 10 and force overtime.
Denver opened the first overtime frame with the face-off win and followed it up with six shots on cage, but was unable to find the back of the net. Bellarmine’s lone shot attempted was saved by junior goalie Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) and the Pioneers were able to force a second overtime period.
Bellarmine won the opening face-off, but a shot attempt sailed high and then a costly turnover close to midfield, gave the Pioneers the ball back. After a Denver timeout with 3:05 remaining in the second overtime frame, Berg attempted a shot that flew wide of the net. With the Pioneers’ getting the back-up, Flint circled the cage and found Law open on the left side to sneak it past Ward for the game-winner with 1:42 left in the frame.
Faus finished the game with seven saves, while Carraro went 12-of-21 from the face-off X and tallying six ground balls. Denver held the advantage in shots (57-40), ground balls (29-28) and were a perfect 19-of-19 on clears.
The Pioneers will return to action on Saturday, as they travel to take on Loyola at 11 a.m. MT. Fans can follow the Live Stats at DenverPioneers.com and live tweets in Twitter at @DU_MLAX.
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