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BALTIMORE – Junior Kyle Keenan scored a career-high four goals and classmate Kyle Turri recorded four saves in the final period to lead top-seeded Duke to a 15-12 win over fifth-seeded Denver in the NCAA Semifinals Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
Duke (16-3) advances to Monday’s national championship game and will meet the Maryland-Notre Dame winner at 1 p.m. Denver (15-3) had its 13-game winning streak snapped while two of the
Pioneers’ three losses on the season came at the hands of the Blue Devils.
Jordan Wolf added three goals and two assists for the Blue Devils, who will play for the national crown for the fifth time. Duke fell in the title game in both 2005 and 2007 before winning championships in 2010 and 2013.
With Duke nursing a 12-11 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Keenan and Deemer Class scored goals just 15 seconds apart to push the lead to three at the 8:29 mark. Just over a minute later, Wolf fed Chad Cohan for a marker that sent the margin to four at 15-11. Denver scored with 6:29 left in the game to account for the final margin.
Turri replaced starter Luke Aaron in the Duke net early in the fourth period and responded with four saves against just two goals allowed. Turri started 15 games during Duke’s run to the national championship a season ago including both contests during Memorial Day Weekend.
Duke and Denver traded goals throughout an opening 20 minutes that featured four ties before the Blue Devils scored four unanswered to go up 8-4 at the half. Wolf scored the half’s final three goals, including one with 7.5 seconds left to record his 32nd career hat trick and 13th of the season.
The Pioneers scored first 2:28 into the game and sophomore midfielder Myles Jones responded 52 seconds later to make it 1-1. The trend continued into the second quarter as the Blue Devils would go ahead one and Denver would answer.
Tied 4-4 with under eight minutes to go in the second period, Keenan put the Blue Devils ahead 5-4 to spark the 4-0 run over the final six minutes.
The Blue Devils went ahead by as many as five in the third quarter before Denver went on a 4-1 run of its own to cut Duke’s lead to 11-9 after three periods and set up the exciting finish.
Duke’s balanced offensive attack also featured a three-goal outing from Class and a one-goal, three-assist performance by Christian Walsh. Other multiple point contributors were Cohan (2 goals) and Jones (2 goals & 1 assist).
For Denver, Wesley Berg scored five goals while Tyler Pace had three markers.
The NCAA Championship game is set for 1 p.m., Monday May 26 at M&T Bank Stadium. It will be televised on ESPN2.