No. 3 Duke (13-4) fell to No. 16 Denver (8-5) 15-9 Friday, ending a 10-game winning streak, the team’s second longest under coach John Danowski.
The Pioneers controlled the game from the start, leaving the first period with a 3-0 lead. Although the Blue Devils narrowed the deficit to 6-5 at halftime, Denver exploded in the third with four consecutive goals. Three Duke goals in the fourth quarter, including David Lawson’s team-high third of the game, made it 11-9, but the Pioneers finished the game on another four-goal run, ending all hopes of a comeback.
Senior Mark Matthews led Denver, tallying five goals and two assists and on the other end freshman Ryan LaPlante notched a carrer-high 16 saves in just his seventh career start.
The Blue Devil starting lineup was comprised of some unfamiliar faces, as none of Duke’s regular starters received the nod in favor of many freshmen and seniors who had received limited playing time during the season. Fifth-year senior Casey Shannon started his first career game, allowing two goals in his 3:16 on the field.
Duke found its stride in the second period, tallying five goals by five different players, including two within six seconds of each other from Jake Tripucka and C.J. Costabile. After Lawson’s first goal tied it at five, Alex Demopoulos gave the Pioneers the lead for good with the first of his two goals.
But after Blue Devils had outscored their opponents 43-18 in the third quarter coming into the contest, the Pioneers supplied the offense after the break, scoring four unanswered goals to extend its lead to 10-5.
Duke was able to make a run as the fourth quarter began, but Denver’s Chase Carraro stifled the rally when he scored off a faceoff to bring the Pioneer advantage back to three.
The loss was Duke’s first since March 10 against Loyola. The Blue Devils have no games remaining on their regular-season schedule and will await the selection for this year’s NCAA tournament May 6.