DENVER - 2016 Tewaaraton Finalist Connor Cannizzaro took over possession for the University of Denver men's lacrosse program with seconds left in the game, recovered from a brief stumble and bounced in the game-winner with no time on the clock to send the Pioneers past Notre Dame in thrilling fashion (11-10) on Sunday afternoon in-front of the 19th-straight sellout at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
Cannizzaro was one of four DU (5-1) members to tally three points — on two goals and one assist — as senior Tyler Pace, sophomore Colton Jackson and junior Connor Donahue all spearheaded the offense for the Crimson and Gold. Freshman Ethan Walker also added three points behind a goal and a pair of helpers, while sophomore Austin French added a pair of goals in the process.
Junior faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste finished with 19 wins on 24 attempts from the X while picking up 12 ground balls to become Denver's career leader in ground balls with 360 in less than three years in a Pioneer uniform.
Sophomore Alex Ready took the win, making nine saves in 59:33 of action to secure his fifth win of the season. Classmate Dylan Gaines led Denver's defense with a couple of key turnovers caused in his sixth start with the Crimson and Gold.
Notre Dame (3-1) got six points from Ryder Garnsey in the form of two goals and four assists, while Mikey Wynne added four points on two goals and two assists in the loss. Shane Doss took the decision for the Fighting Irish despite making 13 saves.
DU got a goal each from Jackson and French for a 3-1 lead at 10:14, but the Fighting Irish were quick to respond in matching the Pioneers with a goal from Brendan Collins and Garnsey's second of the day for a 3-3 score past the five-minute mark.
The Crimson and Gold had the last say in the frame as Donahue posted his third marker of the season at the 2:25 mark before Jackson tallied his second of the day with 1:28 to play for a 5-3 lead heading into the second.
Both sides were scoreless through the first eight minutes of the second period until Notre Dame finally struck with 6:23 remaining to narrow the gap to 5-4 from Wynne, but Donahue rifled home his second marker of the match on a feed from Cannizzaro with 4:20 on the clock to restore the host's two-goal advantage at 6-4.
The visitors answered right back to even the score at 6-6 heading into the locker rooms as Brian Willetts and Drew Schantz found a gap at 2:39 and 2:22, respectively, to erase Denver's lead.
The game remained close in the third period as Notre Dame got its lone goal from Wynne while Pace tallied his first of the game on a feed from Donahue to keep the contest tied at 7-7 heading into the fourth.
Both teams went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter with neither side owning a lead of greater than one goal as Garnsey, Schantz and Sergio Perkovic all found a gap past Ready while French and Walker both snuck one by Doss to set the stage at 10-9 in favor of Notre Dame with 9:16 remaining in the stanza.
Pace took advantage of a man-up opportunity and had a feed from Walker for the equalizer with 2:51 left and kept possession through the final minutes as Cannizzaro took possession with 10 seconds on the clock, recovered from a brief stumble and swung around the bottom of the crease to sneak the game-winner by Doss to cap Denver's fifth victory in the six-game homestand.