Denver vs. Bellarmine
April 7, 2013
The Game Story:
DENVER - The Bellarmine University lacrosse team dropped a double overtime thriller to the No. 3 ranked Denver Pioneers 11-10 on Sunday. The Knights now fall to 7-3 (3-3 ECAC) while the Pioneers move to 9-2 (4-0 ECAC) on the season.

The game was a back-and-forth affair with Bellarmine scoring first only to have the goal disallowed when the stick of Cameron Gardner was judged to have been illegal.

Denver took advantage of Bellarmine's misfortune and Wes Berg was able to tally the game's first goal and give Denver a 1-0 lead.

After two minutes Bellarmine's Michael Ward was able to answer back with a goal of his own. Driving in with a short-stick defender draped all over him, Ward drew the slide from a long-pole and still was able to finish against Denver's Ryan LaPlante.

It was the Pioneers that would score next with just two seconds left on the first quarter clock. With seven seconds to play, after an errant shot by the Knights, LaPlante sent a clearing pass nearly 80 yards downfield which was miraculously caught and finished by Eric Law, giving Denver a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Bellarmine found their offensive rhythm early in the second quarter and with back-to-back goals from Karsen Leung and Luke Acton, took a 3-2 lead over the Pioneers.

The Knights would hold the lead for just over one minute before Denver's Berg tied the game in spectacular fashion. Cradling his way through defenders on the crease, Berg dropped his stick into his left hand and put a crafty between the legs shot on cage that Dillon Ward never saw coming.

After a goal from Cameron Flint gave the Pioneers a 4-3 lead, Bellarmine's Gardner was able to throw a fake, create space and rip a shot to the top right corner and tie the game at 4-4 at the half.

Denver came out in the second half and got their offense rolling, scoring two consecutive goals to take a 6-4 lead with 7:03 to play in the period.

The Knights were able to respond with a four goal run of their own thanks to back-to-back goals from Lance Robinson, the second of which was a textbook split dodge. Robinson, matched up with a short-stick, ran at the defender and quickly split from left to right and was able to finish on Jamie Faus.

Bellarmine's two goal cushion would not last long however after Flint and Law put together a run of their own and tied the contest at 8-8.

The last five minutes of regulation would prove to be exciting with both teams answering back, unwilling to go away.

It was Brogan Hill for Bellarmine who was able to score in tight on the crease and give the Knights a 9-8 lead but the lead would last just seven seconds as Tom Moore again knotted the game at 9-9.

Bellarmine would capture the lead one more time, for a brief 27 second period, on a goal by Ward. Ward was able to drive through three Denver defenders and score on an acrobatic backhand finish to give the Knights another short-lived lead.

Just thirty seconds later the Pioneers, and Flint, tied the game at 10-10 and forced the game into overtime.

In the first overtime Denver was able to put pressure on the Knights defense however Bellarmine was able to hold the Pioneers at bay and force a second overtime.

The winning goal came with 1:42 to play in the second OT after Flint, playing a two-man game with Law, drew the early slide and dumped the ball off to Law on the crease who was able to finish passed Dillon Ward.

Bellarmine's Ward had a huge day in between the pipes stopping 20 shots, the 4th most saves in a game in Bellarmine history (Ward also sits in 1st on that list with 23 against VMI in 2011).

Ward was so impressive that Denver Head Coach Bill Tierney had this to say, "That was one of the finest performances I have ever seen by a goalie, he frustrated us and made for a tough day." This is high praise coming from Tierney who is a legend in college lacrosse and who's own son was a three time All-American goalie at Princeton.

For the Knights' offense it was the attack unit of Luke Acton, Gardner, Robinson and Ward putting up seven goals, while Leung chipped in a goal and two assists. Midfielders Hill and Will Cary each also contributed a goal.

Denver's offense was paced by the star attackman Law who had a five point day on three goals and two assists. Flint also had his highest scoring day of the season with five points on four goals and an assist. The Pioneers' sophomore sensation Wes Berg also had a strong day netting two goals of his own.

The Knights will take the field again on Saturday Apr. 13 at home against Hobart College at 1 p.m. With a win against Hobart Bellarmine will secure a spot in the ECAC tournament, their first in program history.