Denver Uses Relentless Defense in 10-6 Win Over Cleveland State

Photo: Courtesy Jason Evans

Denver (3-1) used a smothering defense and forced turnovers (24) to down the Cleveland State Vikings 10-6 at the 2020 Faceoff Classic at Peter Barton Stadium. Denver had a narrow 5-4 halftime lead but broke open the game with timely goals and sustained defensive pressure to pull away to a 10-6 final score.

In the first period, red-hot Jack Hannah scored two goals to match Cleveland state 2-2. CSU struck twice in the first 10 minutes of the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead but DU’s Alex Simmons and Schuyler Blair drew the score even, 4-4, with 3 minutes to go in the first half. With under a minute to go, JJ Sillstrop put the Pioneers up 4-5 heading into the break.

The Pioneers struggled at the X during the first 30 minutes, with the Vikings winning faceoffs (7-11) and ground balls (18-9). But, Denver’s tight, physical defense kept the score close and forced the Vikings into turnovers and several clock violations.

Denver carried their defensive effort over to the second half and began to wear down CSU. While Denver shut down Cleveland’s offense, Stephen Masi put Denver up by two at 9:37 of the third period. Jack Hannah struck three minutes later for his hat trick to make the score 7-5. In the fourth period, Denver reeled off three goals in a row to double up CSU 10-5. Schuyler Blair, Ethan Walker, and Drew Erickson accounted for Denver’s final goals on the afternoon. In the waning seconds, Cleveland got a final goal from Ryan Haigh but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

Denver’s defense only allowed 29 shots on the afternoon and forced 24 turnovers in what was their best defensive effort so far this season. Cleveland led DU on ground balls 18-9 the first half but DU closed the gap and finishes 28-26, trailing the Vikings by two.

Next up is Denver versus North Carolina on Sunday March 1st 1:00 pm MT at Peter Barton Stadium.




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