Berg scores eight goals to lead Denver to 19-14 tournament win against Albany
DENVER -- Sophomore Wesley Berg recorded career-highs in points (nine) and goals (eight) as No. 4-seed Denver defeated Albany 19-14 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. With the victory, the Pioneers move to 13-4 on the season and advance to take on North Carolina in the quarterfinals in Indianapolis. Albany finished its season with a 13-5 record.
The game was played in front of a record crowd of 2,621 fans, surpassing the previous record of 2,575 that was set in 2011 when the Pioneers hosted Villanova in the first NCAA tournament game played west of the Mississippi.
The game brought Berg’s season tallies to 52 goals and 67 points.
Eric Law finished with five points on four goals and one assist while Cameron Flint tallied four goals.
Gordie Koerber had three assists and Eric Adamson recorded one goal and three assists. Sean Cannizzaro scored a pair of goals. Chase Carraro won 22 of 35 faceoffs and finished with nine ground balls.
Lyle Thompson led the Great Danes with four goals and one assist while Miles Thompson finished with one goal and five assists. Ty Thompson tallied three goals. Tim Cox scored two goals, while Derrick Eccles and Matt Garziano ended with one goal and one assist apiece.
Albany found the net first 2:30 into the game, but the Pioneers responded less than 30 seconds later with a goal from Cannizzaro. The Great Danes retook the lead with a pair of tallies before back-to-back goals from Berg and Law brought the score to 3-3 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first quarter, and the teams ended the period with the score level.
Cox found the net for Albany to give the Great Danes a 4-3 edge early in the second frame, but Berg recorded two consecutive goals to give Denver its first lead of the game with 9:37 left in the second quarter. The edge didn’t last long, however, as Albany retied the contest a little more than 40 seconds later, but Berg returned the advantage to the Pioneers with his fourth goal of the game, 5:30 before the intermission. Denver parlayed Berg’s tally into four unanswered goals before the Great Danes scored the final goal of the period, and the Pioneers took a 9-6 lead into halftime.
Albany opened the scoring in the second half, as Cox found the net less than three minutes into the third quarter. Law answered to put the Pioneers in double-figures with a score of 10-7, but the Great Danes hit the target seven seconds later to cut the deficit back to two. Berg completed the sock-trick with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, and then tallied his second consecutive score to give Denver a 12-8 lead. The Great Danes responded with two consecutive goals, but Flint broke the run with two minutes left in the third frame, sparking a 3-0 Denver run to close the period.
Flint scored first in the fourth quarter to stretch Denver's run to four unanswered, but the Great Danes answered with two goals of their own, before Flint tallied his second score of the frame to give Denver a 17-12 lead three minutes into the period. Albany came back with a pair of goals, but the Pioneers held on for the five-goal victory, as Berg and Flint scored the final two goals for the Pioneers.