Blue Devils' run leads comeback past Lehigh

Playing in the mid-afternoon after stormy weather postponed its Tuesday night contest with Lehigh, No. 2 Duke came out cold, trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Blue Devils' offense, however, came to life in the second period as Duke reeled off four straight goals to take the lead. The Blue Devils (4-0) then broke open the game in the third stanza, exploding for nine goals on their way to a 16-5 victory over the Mountain Hawks (2-3) Wednesday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium.

While the vast improvement after halftime looked like the product of an inspiring speech, head coach John Danowski actually said little to his squad.

"To be honest I didn't really say much," Danowski said. "We tried to keep an even keel. It was a great opportunity to learn about ourselves. It's easy to play with a lead and when you're ahead. But the kind of character you have when things aren't always going your way is important."

Coming off an impressive win over then-No. 4 Maryland, Duke looked lethargic at the start of Wednesday's contest.

After Lehigh tallied the first point at the 13:03 mark of the first quarter, Mountain Hawks defenseman Richard Bradley took the ball off the ensuing faceoff and sprinted nearly untouched towards the goal, notching a second score for the visitors just 12 seconds later. Lehigh added a third score by taking advantage of a man-down situation due to a Michael Ward slashing penalty with just under four minutes remaining in the quarter.

"They had a good plan," sophomore attackman Max Quinzani said. "They held on to the ball for a really long time and got us tired on defense. Once we didn't get in a rhythm, it was tough for us to get out of that rut."

At the beginning of the second stanza, Blue Devil attackman Matt Danowski broke through the defense and slammed home a goal. The play appeared to get Duke on the board and reduce their deficit to two.

Danowski, though, was called for an illegal equipment penalty because the ball did not come out when he turned it over on his stick. Consequently, the goal was nullified and Danowski was forced to sit out for three minutes.

The Blue Devils, however, played tough defense and did not allow the Mountain Hawks to score during Danowski's absence. And immediately after the fifth-year senior sprinted back on to the field, Duke's offensive barrage began.

Junior Mike Catalino had the first two scores, and midfielder Bo Carrington gave the Blue Devils their first lead, running right down the seam of the defense to get a clear shot at the goal.

"I think we were frustrated," senior Brad Ross said. "Getting a three-minute release is a really frustrating thing. To not allow them to score during that period really calmed us down."

After Lehigh scored with 1:43 till halftime to tie the contest at four, Duke put away the pesky visitors for good after halftime. Off a steal, Danowski fielded a downfield pass and flipped it to Quinzani, who easily scored with 13:16 left in the third period. Just six seconds later, midfielder Sam Payton controlled the face-off and quickly found Danowski, who slammed home his ninth goal of the season. The point gave the Blue Devils a 6-4 lead that they did not relinquish.

While the end result was another large margin of victory, the early test provided by the Mountain Hawks could be valuable in the future.

"Lehigh was playing hard and dominating the ball on the ground and it wasn't so easy," Coach Danowski said. "There's a lesson to be learned from every game and going forward, I hope this makes us a better team."


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