Irish Fall to Denver in NCAA Tournament

May 20, 2017
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The Irish scored the first goal of Saturday's quarterfinal matchup against the Denver Pioneers, but that was the only bright spot of the game. The Pioneers scored early and often and controlled the possession game basically from the start on their way to a 16-4 victory.

Freshman attackman Austin French paced the Pioneers with four goals and an assist, while Ethan Walker and Tyler Pace added hat tricks as they advanced to championship weekend for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. Mikey Wynne led the Irish with three goals.

Pioneers attackman Connor Cannizzaro tallied four points in the game, giving him at least a point in his 57th consecutive game, a NCAA record.

The Irish won the face-off to open the final quarter but were unable to capitalize as Alex Ready stoned Brendan Gleason in close. Sergio Perkovic went off for a penalty early in the quarter giving the Pioneers their fourth man advantage of the game. Pace finished off his hat trick to give the Pioneers a 14-2 lead.

Trevor Baptiste put the exclamation point on the day with a face-off win and goal, his 12th of the season to make it 15-2. Colin Rutan joined the party midway through the quarter with his first goal of the game, making it 16-2 with 7:45 to play.

Wynne scored a hat trick goal to cut the deficit to 13 with about seven minutes left to go. Perkovic made it two straight goals with his first of the day in his last game of his storied career. The Irish went on the man advantage for the second time late in the game but were unable to capitalize.

Face-off specialist Baptiste won 21 of 22 draws in the game.

The Pioneers won the opening face off and started the second half with possession. They dominated the time of possession in the first half and scored on their first possession of the second half on French's hat trick goal, making it 9-1 Denver.

The Pioneers made it ten straight goals after another by French, giving him four for the afternoon. Walker continued the trend with his third of the day, giving the Pioneers their 11th straight goal and an 11-1 lead.

Wynne finally stopped the bleeding with his second goal of the day and 32nd of the season to cut the deficit to nine with 4:38 left in the third quarter. Cannizzaro answered right back for the Pioneers just 10 seconds later with his second goal of the game.

Tyler Pace scored from a tough angle for his second of the day with 2:38 to go in the third and the Pioneers leading 13-2. The score remained 13-2 entering the fourth quarter.

The Irish won the opening draw of the game against Pioneers face off ace Baptiste but were unable to put a shot on goal. Wynne scored for Notre Dame on their next possession off a nice feed from Perkovic to open the scoring 3:11 into the game.

Denver answered about two minutes later on a wraparound goal by French to tie the game. The Pioneers then took their first lead on a goal by Walker with seven minutes to go in the quarter.

Drew Schantz drew a flag crossing midfield sending the Irish to the man advantage. The Pioneers killed it off, getting a big save from Ready. After a long period of not much activity, Ready made another big stop, this time on Ryder Garnsey which kept the Pioneers in the lead. Denver led 2-1 after one quarter.

Notre Dame was guilty of a push from behind early in the quarter, giving the Pioneers a man advantage. The Irish killed the penalty with relative ease, but Colton Jackson found the back of the net a minute or so after to give Denver a two-goal lead.

The Pioneers extended their lead to three with 9:35 to go in the half after a goal from Nate Marano. Cannizzaro then made it five straight goals with his first of the day, giving the Pioneers a 5-1 lead with 6:46 remaining in the half.

Pat Healy took a slashing penalty giving Denver their second man advantage of the game. French capitalized with his second goal of the afternoon, upping the Pioneer lead to five.

Pace joined the onslaught with his first goal, giving the Pioneers a 7-1 lead with just 2:20 left in the half. Walker then whipped in his second goal of the day to make it 8-1 just about a minute later. Mercifully, the half ended with the Pioneer lead still 8-1.

Player of the Game: French. The freshman was outstanding as he often finished with ease around the net. He was a big part of the scoring run in the middle of the game to put it out of reach.

Unsung Hero: Baptiste. The face-off ace essentially controlled the game and was a huge part of that scoring run as well. He even added a goal in the second half to put the icing on the cake.
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