April 12, 2014

Denver Punches Big East Ticket by Topping St. John's

from Press Release

DENVER – Led by hat tricks from freshman Tyler Pace (Mission, B.C.), junior Erik Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and sophomore Jack Bobzien(Littleton, Colo.), the No. 5 University of Denver men's lacrosse team defeated St. John's 16-9 in front of a record-setting sold-out crowd of 2,702 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Denver improves to 10-2, (4-0 BIG EAST), while St. John's falls to 6-6 (2-3 BIG EAST).

The win also secures the Pioneers a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament hosted by Villanova, beginning on Thursday, May 1.

The Pioneers' record crowd of 2,702 fans surpassed the previous mark of 2,621 that was set last season in Denver's 19-14 win over Albany in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the 16th time since Peter Barton Stadium opened in 2005 that the Pioneers have had sold out crowds and the 13th time under head coach Bill Tierney.

"You win a game like this against a really good opponent and you've got to feel good about it, "Tierney said. "We're still on the journey though. It was a tale of two different games. The first half, I thought we played great defense. In the second half, I thought we played great offense and we were able to score some goals. I'm disappointed in the second half in defensive production and disappointed maybe a little bit in the overall score of how many they got, but in general, this is a good team win."

Senior Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) led the Pioneers with five points off three assists and two goals, while junior Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) tallied two goals and two assists for four points. Along with his three goals, Bobzien added an assist to finish with four points. Freshman Zach Miller (Steamburg, N.Y.) and sophomore Colin Woolford (Norwalk, Conn.) both tallied a goal and an assist each to finish with two points. Woolford's goal was the first of the season, tying his career-high, while his assist was the first of his career.

Junior Connor Pagnani (Nashville, Tenn.) tied his career-high for the fourth time as he finished with one goal, while senior Cole Nordstrom (Bellevue, Wash.) recorded his first career assist and point.

Junior goalie Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) made 10 saves in the first half, allowing only three goals, while senior goalie Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) made three saves.

Face-off specialist Chris Hampton (Bethesda, Md.) won a career-high 12 face-offs, picking up six ground balls and causing a season-high two turnovers.

St' John's Kieran McArdle finished with five points off one goal and four assists, while Colin Keegna, Kevin Cernuto and Ryan Fitzgerald all tallied two goals each. Goalie Joseph Danaher made 14 saves on the day and sits at 6-5 on the season.

Denver held the advantage in shots (46-34) and ground balls (26-21), while St. John's held the advantage in saves (14-13). Face-offs were even at 13-of-26 each.

Denver opened the game scoring two goals within the first eight minutes of play as Adamson netted his 24th of the season, followed by a goal from Pace. St. John's answered with back-to-back goals in the final five minutes to knot the game at 2-2 to end the first quarter.

The Crimson and Gold opened the second quarter with three straight goals, starting the streak with a man-up goal from Bobzien off a pass from Noble. Bobzien netted his 27th of the season with 9:38 remaining in the half, putting the Pioneers up 4-2. Less than 15 seconds later, Pace made it 5-2, scoring his 18th of the season, a man-up goal off a pass from Noble.

St.John's Cernuto scored his 26th of the season with 4:10 remaining in the first half to break Denver's scoring run. Denver scored twice more before the end of the half to lead 7-3. Noble scored his 10th off an assist from Miller, and with eight seconds remaining Berg netted his 26th of the season.

Coming out of the break, the Pioneers extended their streak to three goals 51 seconds into the action as Pace scored his 19th of the season. St John's answered a little over a minute later with a goal from Cernuto to make it 8-4 Denver.

With 8:20 remaining in the third quarter, Bobzien recorded seventh hat trick of the season to lift the Pioneer lead to 9-4. Miller followed to log his 24th goal of the year off a pass from Bobzien with 6:11 remaning. St John's scored back-to-back goals to narrow the lead to 10-6, but Noble ended the third quarter with his 11th goal of the season, scoring off a pass from Berg.

St John's came out firing in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter scoring two goals to narrow the Pioneers' leading to three. However, Denver halted St. John's scoring run with back-to-back tallies from Adamson over a three-minute span to put the Pioneers up 13-8. St. John's tallied a man-up goal with 1:55 remaining, but Denver netted the final three in the closing 1:38 of play to seal the game with a 16-9 win.

Denver returns to action Saturday, April 19 when it travels to Providence, R.I., to take on the Friars in another BIG EAST match-up. Faceoff is set for 10 a.m. MT.

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