Photo: Courtesy DenverPioneers.com
#4 Denver (4-1) jumped out to a 3-1 advantage in the first quarter but the real suspense came at the beginning of the 4th quarter against formerly undefeated North Carolina (6-1). While the Pioneers held a solid 9-6 lead entering the final frame, would they collapse under the same circumstances they faced against Duke several weeks earlier? The Pioneers passed with flying colors, despite a few turnovers, to hold off the Tar Heels for an impressive 10-6 win.
Alex Ready (9 saves) had one of his best games as a Pioneer and a host of Denver players found the back of the cage. Seven different players scored Denver’s first seven goals.
Denver held a 6-3 advantage at half and never trailed from 3:01 of the first quarter. After the halftime break, Colton Jackson reeled off Denver’s first goal of the 3rd quarter to negate a Perry William goal a minute earlier to make it 7-4. A top shelf shot from Ethan Walker extended DU’s lead to 8-4 as Trevor Baptiste (12-8 for the game) started to take control of the X – but there was no quit by the Tar Heels. They pulled within two goals, 8-6, but Ethan Walker responded again to give Denver a 3-goal advantage going into the final period of play.
Colton Jackson earned his second goal of the game at 13:28 of the 4th period and DU’s defense played rock solid, not allowing UNC star Chris Cloutier any chances to take over the period. Alex Ready was supported by stout defense and played a confident game in the cage for the win.
This was an impressive effort from beginning to end against a formerly undefeated Tar Heel squad. However, the Pioneers committed 16 turnovers to North Carolina’s 10 – so there is still some work to do for the Pioneers to clean up this part of their game as the season progresses. It does not get any easier for the Pioneers as they travel South Bend, Indiana to play #11 Notre Dame for a 12:30 pm MT game on Saturday, March 10th.