Denver Clinches Big East Title with Overtime Win at Villanova, 11-10

Denver (11-3, 9-1) traveled to Villanova, PA to face the third-place BIG EAST Villanova Wildcats Wednesday. The  Pioneers earned a hard-fought 11-10 overtime victory. The win assured Denver the regular-season conference title tiebreaker, margin of victory, against Georgetown (10-1, 9-1). Denver is now the #1 seed for the BIG EAST Tournament.

The win was not an easy one without the heroics of Jack Thompson in goal who made 20 saves for Denver in the contest that was often controlled by the Wildcats and aided by Denver turnovers.

The teams traded points and leads in the first quarter as the teams exited the period tied, 4-4.

Villanova began to control play in the second period but 12 saves in the half from Jack Thompson kept the game close. The half ended 5-5. Denver had an uncharacteristic 11 turnovers to give Villanova extra possession and time on the offense.

The Wildcats carried the pace of play into the third period. Four more saves by Jack Thompson kept the game close as Denver could only get one goal from Ethan Walker with an assist from Alex Simmons and trailed 7-6 going into the final quarter.

Denver started to regain control of play in the fourth period. Consecutive goals by Alex Simmons and Ethan Walker put Denver ahead 8-7.  At 5:46, Villanova’s Keegan Kahn tied up the game for the Wildcats, 8-8. Denver countered at 4:08 when Ethan Walker put Denver back in front 9-8 with a cannon shot into the lower-left corner. Jack Hannah added to the lead and put Denver up by two, 10-8, at 2:13. However, Villanova came charging back with a goal by Corey McManus with 1:05 remaining and Pat Daly tied the game, following a Wildcat faceoff win, with 31 seconds remaining to push the game into overtime.

Denver won the faceoff in OT and got the ball to Ethan Walker who drove to the goal, scored the ball, and was shoved into the circle by a Villanova defender. Good goal – Denver wins 11-10.

During the match, Denver goalie Jack Thompson made an astounding 20 saves for Denver to offset an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers for the game. Ethan Walker led Denver with 5 goals and 1 assist. Denver was 16 of 27 from the X.

The conference championship tournament will be held in Providence, R.I., and begins Thursday, May 6th. #1 seed Denver will face the #4 seed Providence Friars with the winner advancing to the BIG EAST finals Saturday, May 8th.

2 thoughts on “Denver Clinches Big East Title with Overtime Win at Villanova, 11-10”

  1. Congrats to the Pios on another well-earned regular season title in what should be a three-bid Big East league this season.

    This was a grinding game with both teams giving every ounce, and the Pios got the job done – a big W, on the road, early start/midweek on short rest and against a Villanova team playing for its life. That’s a very good performance with the game on the line, especially Danny Logan causing the turnover and winning the ground ball that set up the winner in OT. Now get back to Denver and rest up for the BET!

    Jack Thompson’s 20-save performance was a good a DU goaltending performance as I’ve seen since the days of Ryan LaPlante in the middle of the last decade, and the Pios helped the Wildcats quite a bit by coughing up a lot of turnovers (17) which against a better team, will get you beat.

    I am concerned that DU did not move the ball as fast as it should be moving at this time of year on offense, and that led to some stagnant periods of offense in the middle sections of the game on either side of halftime. That said, credit Villanova’s defense, who played as good as I’ve seen them play in years.

    DU will need to clean up those turnovers and be better on ground balls to make a deep tourney run, and I think they’ve got 10 days to fix that stuff before the postseason begins.

  2. No way the Big East gets three bids. DU and Georgetown, unless G-town falters down the stretch against Loyola (Md.) and then vs. Villanova in the conference tourney. Villanova’s not getting in unless it wins the BE tourney.

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