Impressive second half powers DU past Wittenberg
No. 13 Denison erased any thoughts of a Wittenberg upset by outscoring the Tigers 7-0 over the final 30 minutes of play. The result was a 12-4 victory by the Big Red that keeps them perfect in North Coast Athletic Conference play at 5-0. It also sets them on a collision course with the conference's other 5-0 team, Ohio Wesleyan. The two rivals will square off on Wednesday (April 17) at 7 p.m. at Selby Field in Delaware, Ohio.
In the first half, the Tigers gave DU all they could handle. The Big Red took a 2-0 lead after goals by Chapin Speidel and Connor Carroll. Following Carroll's score with 7:23 to play in the first, Wittenberg's Ryan Spitzer would win the ensuing face-off and streak down the middle of the field, scoring the Tigers' first goal of the night.
That would spark a 3-0 run by Wittenberg over the next six minutes. Their go-ahead goal with 1:03 to play came while playing shorthanded after an unnecessary roughness call on Hunter Bastian. Denison turned the ball over in its offensive zone and the Tigers went right down the field and scored the man-down goal when Andrew Fuss found Thomas Fuss.
In the second quarter, DU would start a 3-0 run of its own thanks to a pair of goals by Will Koontz and one by Powell. Koontz' second goal with 5:56 to play in the first half was man-up and came via an assist by Nick Caravana.
Now leading 5-3 in the closing minutes of the half, Wittenberg's Alex Previte gave the Tigers some momentum with his first goal of the night, sending the two teams into the intermission with the score 5-4, in favor of DU.
Denison would dominate possession much of the night, thanks to a 14-of-20 performance at the face-off X by Chip Phillips (6-for-10) and Eric Baumgardner (8-for-10). Powell and Carroll would each score in the third quarter.
Leading 7-4 heading into the fourth, Denison would break out with five goals in the final stanza. Justin DeMarchi, Speidel (twice), Eddie Vita, and Austin Campbell would all get into the act, setting the final at 12-4.
Wittenberg attempted just 13 shots in the game while DU attempted 49. The Big Red was 1-for-3 in extra-man situations while the Tigers were 0-for-1. DU won the turnover battle, 17-12, and held a 32-22 advantage in ground balls.
Speidel led Denison with three goals. Powell posted two goals and two assists while Carroll and Koontz also notched multi-goal outings. Baumgardner was the team leader in ground balls with six. Campbell finished with four ground balls and four caused turnovers while Drew Newman chipped in four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Denison goalie Chris Thomas posted five saves in 60 minutes. Wittenberg's Jesse Langer kept the Tigers in the game with his 15-save performance while playing all 60 minutes.
Wittenberg drops to 7-4 overall and 2-3 in the NCAC with the loss. The winner of the Ohio Wesleyan-Denison game on Wednesday will lock up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAC Tournament.