Senior goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante made 16 saves, including 13 in the first half and sophomore Connor Cannizzaro scored five goals to lead Denver to a 15-9 win against Brown in the NCAA championship first round Sunday afternoon at a sold-out Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.Denver advances to play Ohio State on Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The game time for next week's quarterfinal will be announced after the conclusion of the first round.
Sophomore Tyler Pace added five points of his own on two goals and three helpers.
Freshman Trevor Baptiste scored seven seconds into the game to put the Pioneers up 1-0 early and kick-start Denver's 5-1 first quarter edge. Junior midfielder Colin Woolford added a goal at the 10:15 mark of the first quarter before Cannizzaro netted his first of the game with 8:47 remaining in the stanza to make it 3-0 Denver in the opening seven minutes of the match.
Brown got on the board with 4:42 to play in the first quarter, as Dylan Molloy, the nation's leading scorer, tallied his 60th marker of the campaign to cut the Pioneers' lead to 3-1.
Tewaaraton Award finalist Wesley Berg got his first of the day and 44th of the season off of Pace's 22nd assist of 2015 to keep the momentum with the Pioneers and extend the lead back to three at 4-1. Cannizzaro's second of the half came with eight seconds left in the opening 15 minutes, giving Denver a 5-1 advantage heading into the first quarter break.
Pace scored Denver's fifth unassisted goal in its first six strikes with 9:29 remaining in the first half to open the scoring in the second quarter. Molloy responded quickly to the Pace tally to cut the Denver lead right back to 6-2.
Sophomore Zach Miller's seven-yard strike off a cross-field feed from Pace made it 7-2 to take the game to the second quarter TV timeout. The Cannizzaro brothers then produced back-to-back goals within 17 seconds of each other to extend the hosts' first half lead to 9-2 with 1:52 remaining.
The Connor Cannizzaro goal completed the sophomore's 16th career hat trick. Sophomore defender Christian Burgdorf then beat the Brown 10-man ride and scored his first career goal to cap the first half scoring at 10-2.
Brown opened the first half on a 4-0 run before Connor Cannizzaro scored a shot-clock goal with 2:47 to go in the third quarter to break the drought. Cannizzaro scored his fifth of the day before his brother Sean Cannizzaro's second of the afternoon put Denver back up by seven (13-6) heading into the final 15 minutes of the contest.
The Pioneers added a pair of goals to their daily total in the fourth quarter while surrendering three, ultimately taking the decision by a 15-9 final.