Photo: Denver’s Peter Barton Stadium Sunday afternoon
It was the 21st consecutive sellout at Peter Barton Stadium Saturday and a beautiful spring afternoon. Would the Pioneers (8-2, 2-0 Big East) be distracted after a late night of hockey viewing against Big East foe Villanova (6-5, 1-1 Big East)? Not exactly – they took a page out of Pioneer hockey handbook and followed their own ‘process’ – let Trevor Baptiste dominate. And dominate he did with 23 for 28 (82%) wins at the X. If that was not enough, he chipped in with three breakaway goals and collected an assist, too.
Nova actually out-shot the Pioneers 45-40 but Denver took advantage of their opportunities. Alex Ready had 13 big saves against the Wildcats and was steady in the cage. The only troubling stat for Denver was turnovers with 11 giveaways while Villanova only coughed up the ball 3 times the entire game. The visitors hung close early but the Wildcats were chasing Denver all afternoon.
Denver jumped out to a 4-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter and the teams battled even-up, 4-4, until half. Denver earned some breathing room in the third quarter with a 5-3 scoring advantage and the teams traded goals the final period to end the contest with a final score of 16-11.
Freshman Ethan Walker continued his outstanding season with 5 points to lead the Pioneers in scoring. Connor Cannizzaro had 4, Austin French 3, and 2 points each for the trio of Tyler Pace, Colton Jackson and Connor Donahueg. Christia Cuccinello led the Wildcats with 4 points Jack Curran finished with 3 points to lead Nova scorers.
The Pioneers head on the road for another Big East contest at St. John’s on Saturday, April 15, with opening faceoff at 11 a.m. MT.