No. 3 Loyola Withstands Furious Denver Rally, Wins in OT

No. 12/11 Denver (8-6) staged a strong fourth-quarter rally, coming back from a 13-6 deficit to tie the game with 3:30 left in regulation, but Loyola did not let the Pioneers have possession after that, winning both face-offs and holding onto the ball in their offensive zone.

Ratliff scored two goals, both of Loyola faceoff wins, and he had a game-high nine ground balls.

“We were tremendous off the ground tonight,” Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “Our transition game was spot on, led by Scott Ratliff. We felt like anytime the ball was on the ground we were going to get it, and then we tried to play very fast between the lines.”

Loyola had its 8-5 halftime lead trimmed off the thirdquarter's opening face-off when Chase Carraro grabbed the ground ball and scored himself three ticks in to the period.

The Greyhounds, however, scored the game's next five goals to lead 13-6 when Phil Dobson took a Pat Byrnes pass and scored his second goal of the game with 13:14 left in regulation.

Denver scored seven straight from that point, capping its run when Cameron Flint found himself unmarked on the low left side and scored with 3:30 left.

J.P. Dalton won the ensuing faceoff for Loyola, and the Greyhounds took two shots, both wide, while running out the clock for the remainder of regulation, sending the game to an extra period.

Carraro initially looked to have the ball in his stickduring the faceoff, but Dalton did not allow him to get the ball out cleanly and win it to himself. Carraro instead flipped the ball backwards, and Ratliff outraced Denver's Patrick Rogers to the ground ball.

Ratliff picked it up cleanly, got out in front of Rogers, and took a high-to-low shot when no Pioneers defender slid early to him.

“They had been on a huge run, so we definitely wanted to get the first face-off of the overtime,” Ratliff said. “It is a testament to our shooters that they didn't want to slide off Mike Sawyer or Eric Lusby to me, and I was fortunate that (the shot) fell for me.”

The Greyhounds got off to a fast start in the game, scoring four in a row before Denver could get on the scoreboard.

Davis Butts scored the game's first goal, dodging hard down the right side and sending a high-to-high shot into the net 1:45 into the contest.

Loyola got the ball right back when Carraro was called for a false start on the faceoff, and Josh Hawkins fed Ratliff who scored eight ticks of the clock later to make it 2-0.

The Greyhounds went on the extra man with 8:28 on the first-quarter clock after a Denver slashing call, and Kevin Ryan scored hisfirst career goal, one-timing a Justin Ward pass from behind the net to make it 3-0.

Minutes later, Loyola took an advantage of an unsettled situation, and Eric Lusby found Pat Byrnes who dodged past his defender andstepped in for a goal from eight yards out, making Loyola's advantage four with 4:49 to play in the first quarter.

The Pioneers came back, getting goals from Wes Berg and Jeremy Noble before the end of the first quarter to draw back within a pair.

Loyola, however, went on another run, this time 3-0, to go ahead 7-2 in the second quarter. Lusby used two spins to get his hands free and scored at 12:58, and Dobson fought off a check by a Denver defender to score unassisted at 9:33.

Ward then faked a pass to his right before feeding Chris Layne from behind, and Layne made it 7-2 with 8:38 left in the half.

Mark Matthews got one back for the Pioneers seven seconds later off the faceoff, but Nikko Pontrello scored at 5:44 to push the Greyhounds' lead back to five, 8-3.

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