DENVER – The [1/1] University of Denver men’s lacrosse team, the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST tournament, defeated No. 4 seed Providence 17-8 on Thursday at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
The Pioneers broke out from a 4-4 tied game with 9:33 remaining in the second quarter to take a dominant 9-4 lead at halftime.
Denver featured two six-point scorers on the night, with Tewaaraton Award nominee Zach Miller (Steamburg, N.Y.) recording three goals and three assists and All-BIG EAST Second Team member Jack Bobzien (Littleton, Colo.) scoring a goal and dishing out five assists. BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) led the Pioneers with four goals in the victory and also added a helper.
Denver kicked off the scoring, tallying three assisted goals for a 3-0 lead with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter. Freshman Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) found the back of the net first off an assist by Miller 3:37 into the game before the Pioneers tallied goals 1:02 apart. All-BIG EAST First Team member Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.) finished a pass from Bobzien for his first of the night, then senior Colin Woolford (Norwalk, Conn.) scored a no-look behind-the-back goal off an assist from sophomore Connor Donahue (Groton, Mass.).
Providence powered back to cut Denver’s lead to 3-2 at the end of the first quarter with two unassisted goals in the final 2:09 of the opening quarter.
The Pioneers got on the board first in the second quarter as Cannizzaro notched his first of the night 0:58 into the quarter. The Friars linked together a pair of goals 1:20 apart to tie the game up 4-4.
BIG EAST Co-Midfielder of the Year Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) facilitated the 5-0 Denver run to close out the first half as he won the final six faceoffs of the second quarter.
Miller sparked the DU run with a natural hat trick in 1:56. The junior scored his first goal with the timer on as Jackson returned the favor and dished the ball to Miller with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter. Miller continued his run with an unassisted goal before finishing off of a Bobzien assist for the hat trick and 7-4 Denver lead with 4:44 to play in the first half.
A pair of Pioneers scored their second goals of the game to continue the momentum as Woolford tallied an unassisted goal with 3:30 to go in the first half and Pace recorded his second of the night off of Bobzien’s third assist of the game 1:19 later.
Denver continued its scoring streak in the third quarter, notching three goals in the first 3:49 to increase its lead to 12-4 before the Friars found the back of the net to end the Pioneers 8-0 run. Baptiste also won the first two faceoffs of the game for eight wins in a row.
Cannizzaro bookended the DU run to begin the second half with his second goal of the night 1:04 into the third quarter as he snagged a pass by Miller in the air and stuck it past All-BIG EAST First Team goalkeeper Tate Boyce as he rolled to the ground. Donahue and Cannizzaro drew a 6-on-4 opportunity 2:01 into the third quarter, and Donahue converted off an assist by Bobzien on the power play. Cannizzaro closed out the run with his third goal of the game with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pioneers and Friars played to an even 2-2 in the final 7:41 of the third quarter. Providence ended Denver’s run with an extra-man goal, but DU returned its lead to eight goals 1:13 later as Pace became the third Pioneer with a hat trick off an assist by Cannizzaro. Denver added another one for the 14-5 lead with 4:56 to play in the third quarter as Cannizzaro finished a pass from sophomore Brendan Bomberry (Ohsweken, Ontario).
BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year Alex Ready (Lancaster, Pa.) made back-to-back saves to keep Denver’s lead at nine, stopping a shot on man-down defense and saving a laser from Providence’s Michael Perettine before the Friars snuck in a goal with 0:05 on the clock in the third quarter.
Denver outscored Providence 3-2 in the final quarter for the 17-8 win, getting goals from sophomore midfielder Joe Reid (Petaluma, Calif.), Bobzien and freshman Nate Marano (Tustin, Calif.) to wrap-up the scoring.
UP NEXT: With the win tonight, Denver will face the No. 2 [19/19] Marquette in the BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Championship, presented by the Jeep Brand at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. First faceoff is schedules for Saturday at 2:40 p.m. MT in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports 2.