TOWSON, Md. -- Senior attacker Eddie Vita set a new career-high with nine goals, helping eighth-ranked Denison to 19-17 win against Stevens Institute of Technology on Saturday.
After Denison led by as many as four goals in the fourth quarter, Stevens would mount an impressive comeback, scoring five consecutive goals over a nine minute span, to take a 17-16 lead with 3:06 to play. A turnover by the Ducks with two minutes left gave the ball back to the Big Red, and that's when senior Austin Campbell connected with Vita for the game-tying goal with 1:50 to play. Denison sophomore Eric Baumgardner would win the ensuing face-off and would uncork a shot that was saved by Stevens' Kevin Rafferty. Off the carom, Vita was there to secure the ground ball in front of the cage and the senior slammed the go-ahead goal home with 1:39 to play.
DU would retain possession after a violation was called on the face-off, and with 32 second left, the Ducks were flagged for unnecessary roughness putting Denison back in man-up, with a one-goal lead. Ten seconds later, Justin DeMarchi would score his fourth goal of the game off a pass from James Meager, setting the final at 19-17.
Vita's nine goals were not only a career-high, but they were one goal short of the Denison individual single-game record set in 1990 versus Marietta College. Vita did all of his damage efficiently, taking just 12 total shots.
In the opening minutes it looked as if Stevens had the Big Red's number, as they took an early lead thanks to goals by Michael Serrante, Charlie Cronin, and Matt Ferentini in the first six minutes of play. DU got on the scoreboard with 7:49 to play in the opening quarter when Teddy Powell scored his seventh goal of the season. After the goal from Powell, the game would turn into a track meet for the remainder of the first quarter. In a four minute span, Denison would close out the quarter on a 5-1 run to take a 7-5 lead into the second.
In the second period, the pace would slow slightly, but a man-up goal by Vita with 12:14 to play put the Big Red up 8-5. Luke Walsh would follow with his first goal just 16 seconds later, and Vita would tack on his fifth tally of the half with 9:44 to play after a timely caused turnover by Campbell.
The latter half of the second quarter would belong to the Ducks as Cronin scored twice to make the score 10-7 entering the third quarter.
Stevens maintained its momentum in the second half as Serrante scored his second goal, trimming the DU lead to two, just 35 seconds into the quarter.
Less than a minute later, DeMarchi would counter with his second goal of the contest, off a pass from Powell, after he snagged a ground ball following a Stevens turnover. Over the final 13 minutes of the quarter, Stevens would outscore the Big Red 4-3, giving Denison a 14-12 lead entering the pivotal fourth quarter.
While Vita and DeMarchi accounted for 13 of Denison's 19 goals, a number of Big Red players made their presence felt on both sides of the ball. Powell scored twice, added three assists, and finished with a season-high 10 ground balls. Campbell caused four turnovers and added six ground balls to go along with one assist, and Baumgardner was 19-for-40 in face-off situations. He led the team with 12 ground balls. Luke Walsh would round out DU's scoring leaders as he finished with four points (2 goals, 2 assists).
Sophomore goalie Chris Thomas played 53 minutes in goal, ending with five saves. Clark Bullington played the final seven minutes in cage for DU, allowing one goal while facing two shots.
Stevens was led by Cronin (6 goals), and Serrante (4 goals, 1 assist). Face-off specialist Brett Incollingo paced the Ducks at the X, going 14-for-27 with 10 ground balls.
The two teams combined for 90 shots as DU held a slight 49-41 advantage in the category. The Ducks finished with 13 saves, compared to five for Denison, and the Big Red won the hustle category with 56 ground balls to Stevens' 49. Denison was 2-for-5 in extra-man, while their opponents were 1-for-3.
With the win, Denison moves to 5-0 on the season, while Stevens drops to 1-5.