LEXINGTON, Va.— Fourth-ranked Denison opened the season with a 12-10 win over No. 20 Washington and Lee on Sunday afternoon at Wilson Field.
In their first game since falling to Salisbury by one goal in last year's NCAA semifinal, Denison wasted no time getting back to work. Last year's leading goal scorer, Spencer Butler, scored the first two goals of the contest off assists from Sam Asman and Peter Pittroff. With four minutes left in the first, Pitroff scored his first goal of the season to put DU out in front, 3-0.
Over the final three minutes of the first quarter, Washington and Lee scored twice and Brooks Davy added an unassisted goal after securing a ground ball after a shot attempt by Asman.
Last year, W&L got seven points from A.J. Witherell in the Generals victory over the Big Red. He made an impact once again as he led all scorers with five goals on 10 shots. With 2:19 left in the second quarter, Witherell gave his squad the lead for the first time at 7-6.
With under one minute to play in the first half, Denison tied the game at 7-7 off a goal by Jake Waxter. The two teams went into the intermission, tied.
The third quarter belonged to the Big Red as they outscored W&L 3-0 and held the Generals to only three shots.
In the fourth quarter, a rash of penalties on the Big Red allowed to Generals to mount a comeback bid. In the final period, Denison was flagged five times resulting in five minutes of man-up time for W&L. After goals by Pittroff and Butler put DU up 12-9 with five minutes remaining, Washington and Lee put two quick man-up goals on the board to make it a 12-10 game.
After the final goal with 2:08 on the clock, Jack Hodgson won his 16th faceoff and Hudson Hamill went for the scoop-and-score but was denied when his shot was blocked by a Big Red defender. Denison goalie Cole Poyfair nabbed the ground ball but turned it over when starting the clear. DU averted disaster when back to back shots by W&L failed to hit nylon. The Generals did get one more shot-on-goal with seven seconds left by Poyfair made the save to secure the win.
Waxter led Denison in scoring with four goals and one assist. Butler posted a hat trick on nine shots. Pitroff scored twice and led all players with three assists. Poyfair turned in 12 saves while facing 22 shots on goal in his first career start. Jack Taylor took the loss for Washington and Lee. He recorded 14 saves while facing 26 shots.
Denison held a 46-35 lead in shots but was 0-for-6 in man-up situations. Conversely, Washington and Lee scored half of its goals on the power play, going 5-of-6 when playing with an advantage.
The Big Red returns to action next Sunday (Feb. 25) when they travel to No. 16 Stevenson for a 1 p.m. faceoff at Mustang Stadium. Five of Denison's first seven games will come against top-20 opponents.