No. 9 Denison Upended by No. 15 Wittenberg

In a battle of two nationally ranked NCAC foes, No. 15 Wittenberg improved to 10-0 on the season by outscoring the ninth-ranked Big Red, 6-3 in the second half, en route to a 9-8 win over Denison from Deeds Field-Piper Stadium. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Big Red that dated back to March 16.

DU came out of the gates as the aggressor and led 3-2 after the first quarter after Zach Walsh (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) converted a man-up opportunity with 1:03 left in the quarter off a pass from Cory Couture (San Diego, Calif./Coronado). Denison's positive momentum continued into the second quarter when senior Tanner Smith (Boxford, Mass./Brooks School) fired in his 12th goal of the season just over a minute into the quarter.

Two minutes later, Spencer Riehl (Reisterstown, Md./St. Paul's School) would force a turnover on Wittenberg's Ryan Spain and after the clear, Couture hit Colin Molloy (Stamford, Conn./Fairfield Prep) for his first goal of the game and his 16th of the season.

With the Big Red in front 5-2, Wittenberg got a much-needed goal from Brady Christensen with 7:30 left in the quarter. Despite 11 combined shots over the final 7:30 of the first half, neither team could get on the scoreboard which sent DU into the intermission with a 5-3 lead.

The third quarter is where the tide turned in favor of the visiting Tigers as Wittenberg scored two goals to tie the score at 5-5. With 1:34 remaining in the third, Davis Lukens (Marietta, Ga./Holy Innocents') sent a rocket past Tiger goalie Mark DeOliveira which gave the lead back to DU. That Big Red lead lasted exactly 18 seconds as Wittenberg won the ensuing face-off and Christensen scored in transition off a feed from Danny Johnson. That quick-strike goal by Wittenberg would prove to be the play of the game as it fueled one more third quarter goal, this time from George Gion with only 17 seconds left.

Now trailing 7-6 entering the fourth quarter DU failed to secure the face-off and Wittenberg patiently worked the ball around until Chris Gipson scored his second goal of the game after taking a pass from Matt Lord at the 13:30 mark.

Denison, who had their fair share of scoring opportunities, were turned away 18 times by DeOliveira. Emmett Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) was frustrated most by the Tiger goalie as five of his six shot attempts on the day resulted in DeOliveira saves. After two nifty stops on Jones, DU did manage to slip one by with 8:06 remaining when Chapin Speidel (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) made a nice pass into the interior where Kyle Brown (Glenview, Ill./New Trier) converted his second goal of the game, getting DU back to within one goal at 8-7.

Over the next four minutes, the Big Red would put two shots on goal but the Tigers would strike again as Gipson completed his hat trick at the 3:41 mark of the fourth quarter.

With the crucial face-off looming, Wittenberg's Charles Harreys would secure the ground ball but quickly turn the ball over to DU. The Denison offense went to work and after three shots were stymied by DeOliveira, Smith finally slipped one into the right side of the goal after an impressive shoulder fake got him free of his defender.

That cut the deficit to one with exactly one minute to play but once again, it was Harreys who locked up the ground ball off the face-off and this time he did not turn the ball over. The Tigers quickly got the ball into their offensive third and in an effort to force a turnover, the Big Red were penalized, thus giving Wittenberg a man-up advantage for the remaining 44 seconds of regulation. Finally, with four seconds left, Reihl checked the ball away from the Tigers but there was not enough time to clear the ball and get a shot attempt before time expired.

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2011-04-16



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