KENNESAW, Ga. – Denver  never trailed and improved to 2-0 on the young season, defeating Duke 14-12 on Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University. 

A literal back and forth game, 2015 USILA First-Team All-America pick Connor Cannizzaro had a second half hat trick to lead Denver in scoring, while junior captain Tyler Pace and senior Colin Woolford  scored the final two goals of the game to put Denver ahead for good for its second-consecutive win over Duke in the Georgia event. 

2015 NCAA faceoff statistical leader Trevor Baptiste closed the game out well, finishing 17-of-25 in the final three quarters to give Denver the possession edge (18-30 in the game). In his second career game, freshman goalie Alex Ready  made nine saves, including five in the second half. 

Senior Jack Bobzien  who netted a sock trick against Duke in the season opener a year ago provided the helping hand on Saturday, joining Pace with four points on a goal and three assists. Freshman Colton Jackson  had three points for the first time in his career on two goals and a helper on Woolford’s first of the day. 

The see-saw battle started with three-straight Denver goals out of the gate off the sticks of Bobzien, Jackson and freshman Austin French Duke responded with three-straight of their own spilling over into the second quarter, including two from Myles Jones. 

Sophomore Connor Donahue and Jackson netted goals in a mini 2-0 run for the Pioneers. After Duke answered with two more of its own, the team’s traded the next four goals, and the game was tied at 7-7 with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter. Cannizzaro got on the score sheet with two goals in 1:20 to close out the third quarter scoring and send Denver into the final stanza with a 9-7 advantage. 

Duke opened the final quarter by knotting up the score with two goals inside the first 1:51 of the quarter before Cannizzaro, Brendan Bomberry  and junior Max Planning sent Denver ahead at 12-9 with 9:39 to go in regulation. Pace assisted the first two goals in the run. Duke responded once again though with three goals in 1:20, and with 6:10 remaining in the game, the score was all square at 12. 

Pace scored off a pass from Bobzien and Woolford scored a 25-yard bullet that deflected off a Duke defender and into the back of the net from outside the box on the right side to give Denver the lead for good.