Danowski, Greer pace Blue Devils in opener

Even though the No. 2 Blue Devils had won every faceoff, controlled the ball and limited No. 15 Bucknell to just four shots after the first quarter of Saturday's contest, the Bison only trailed 2-1 and their sideline buzzed with excitement over the possibility of an upset.

Then Duke woke up.

And by the time the game was over, the Blue Devils were the ones excited after a decisive 16-4 win in their season opener.

Duke (1-0) began to pull away at the 12:08 mark of the second quarter, when captain and fifth-year senior Matt Danowski-the Tewaarton Trophy winner last year-picked up where he left off with an assist to sophomore Max Quinzani. One minute and 23 seconds later, Duke stretched its lead to 5-1 as Danowski registered another assist and senior attackman Zack Greer notched his first goal and assist of the season.

The Bison simply couldn't keep up.

"We have the capability to score three goals in two minutes, or a couple goals in less than a minute," Danowski said. "It's our style of play, it's what we're used to. We feel more comfortable when the ball's up and down, and when it's fast-paced rather than a six-on-six game."

The scoring spurt effectively ended the game, but the Blue Devils treated the remainder of the contest like target practice, as they outshot Bucknell 46-20 and showed why they are one of the most potent offenses in the country.

Quick ball movement, spatial awareness and unselfish passing were the key elements of Duke's attack, something head coach John Danowski has been preaching since the first day of preseason.

"We weren't sure exactly-playing against a defense like this-what was actually going to be open," Danowski said. "But we were able to look inside, and we were able to move the ball. We were really able to play unselfish and with our heads up."

Danowski and Greer, who battled last season to be the team's top scorer, finished with seven and six points, respectively. But while the team's two stars certainly led the way, the Blue Devils exhibited chemistry all the way around as nine different players scored a goal.

"It really didn't matter who was scoring, who was initiating, who got the goal or who got the assist," Danowksi said. "It was about making the right play, making the right pass, and whoever ended up near the goal catching and finishing was lucky enough to get it."

Bucknell (0-1) played a 10-man zone in an attempt to keep Duke from penetrating, but the Blue Devils were able to break it consistently by beating the defensive rotation.

Whenever the Bison got out of position, Duke made them pay with spot-on passes and point-blank shots. The Blue Devils were able to create open looks at the net by utilizing picks and flashing across the face of the goal.

"We were moving the ball so fast around the outside with people being unselfish and making the extra passes that the inside had to open up eventually," Greer said. "That's what we did. We made a bunch of passes and then we found the guy inside for open layups."

Duke plays unranked Vermont at home Saturday, then must gear up for its March 1 home matchup with No. 7 Maryland.


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