Leading up to this weekend, things had not been easy for the Blue Devils.
Duke (8-2) had played four straight games decided by two goals or less, pulling out a pair of hard-fought victories over North Carolina and Georgetown while suffering two tough losses to Cornell and Loyola.
The Blue Devils had a little more room to breathe this weekend and coasted to 12-6 and 18-9 victories over No. 12 Delaware (6-3) and Bellarmine (1-7) at Koskinen Stadium.
Duke jumped out to a big lead Friday against the Blue Hens, netting the first seven goals of the contest to take a 8-1 lead into halftime.
It was more of the same Saturday against the Knights, as Zach Greer scored five first-half goals to give Duke a 14-5 lead heading into the break.
"We have a saying 'early and often,' and that's what we did against Bellarmine and against Delaware," defenseman Tony McDevitt said. "We jumped on them, and teams feel like they need to create then, and they get out of their sync."
The Blue Devils dominated their two opponents' defenses, registering a combined 99 shots in the two contests. At one point in Saturday's game, Duke netted three goals in a 37-second span, baffling a bewildered Bellarmine defense. Duke's defense also continued its solid play, holding the opponents to half of the Blue Devils' offensive output in both games.
Duke's transition game looked as fluid as it has all season, as the Blue Devils successfully cleared every one of their 22 opportunities against Delaware and 20-of-23 against Bellarmine.
Co-captain Matt Danowski said the team has finally started to show signs of adjusting to the style of play head coach John Danowski has been pushing for all season.
"It's taken a while for guys to get used to the new system," Matt Danowski said. "We're starting to flow a little bit better now, feed off each other more, and you can see it just looks a little better."
Danowski became the 21st player in ACC history to reach 200 points Saturday, when he fed Greer in front of the net early in the first quarter for his second assist of the game.
John Danowski said that as more teams have keyed-in on his son's scoring ability-sometimes sending double teams and sliding excessively to slow the senior's prolific offensive output-he has seen Matt mold his game to fit what is best for the team.
"Matt is becoming a more complete attackman," Danowski said. "His vision is better, and guys are learning to play with him better. We're asking [him] to play a different role than he played two years ago and even last year, and the guys are learning how to play off of him also."
Matt Danowski's adjustments were on display this weekend, as the senior scored just three goals but tallied nine assists, four of which were to Greer, who leads the Blue Devils with 28 goals on the season.
"You can see the passes were faster, and guys were more confident with themselves and in what they were doing," Danowski said. "We believe in each other's ability to help the team out."
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