It's not often that Denison play's games with major NCAA ramifications in February, but that's exactly where the No. 15 Big Red found themselves this Sunday with the Washington & Lee Generals coming to Granville. With the weather shading more toward an April afternoon than a February one, DU managed to hold off W&L for a 10-6 victory from Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.
Denison's strong start would prove to be enough of a cushion as the Generals made a fourth quarter run. In the first quarter DU got goals from Chapin Speidel (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield), Kyle Brown (Glenview, Ill./New Trier) and Davis Lukens (Marietta, Ga./Holy Innocents) to take a 3-1 lead through the first 15 minutes of play.
The second half was marred by 16 total turnovers but the Big Red took eight shots in the period and connected on one, when Colin Molloy (Stamford, Conn./Fairfield Prep) scored on an unassisted goal with 3:59 left in the quarter. Denison took a 4-1 lead into the second half and quickly that lead ballooned to 6-1 following back-to-back goals by Brown and Molloy.
Washington & Lee's Jack Switala scored his second, and the team's second goal of the game with 8:46 to play in the third and Mark Wachtmeister notched his first goal of the season to bring the Generals to within five goals at 7-3.
The game's most highlight-reel worthy moment would come with just over three minutes to play in the quarter when Denison's Nick Farrell (New York, N.Y./Millbrook School) scooped up a ground ball after a W&L turnover. He quickly got the ball to defenseman Spencer Riehl (Reisterstown, Md./St. Paul's) who streaked down the center of the field and fired off a shot from just outside the crease which bounced past General goalie Jason Lumpkin and into the goal. It marked the first goal of Riehl's career at Denison.
That goal gave Denison their largest lead of the game at 8-3 but the Generals refused to go quietly. They opened the fourth quarter with three unanswered goals and with 8:58 to play they trailed by only two at 8-6. DU would win the ensuing face-off and would run nearly three minutes off the clock before W&L regained possession. The Generals immediately went to work on offense, attempting five shots which all missed the mark.
With just under four minutes to play W&L turned the ball over and Denison's Tanner Smith (Boxford, Mass./Brooks School), from behind the goal, fed Emmett Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) for the game-clinching goal with 2:28 to play. Leading 9-6, Brown would add his third goal of the game with 19 seconds to play, setting the final at 10-6.
Washington & Lee held a 28-26 advantage in the shot department and DU gathered 32 ground balls to W&L's 26. Both teams were 10-for-20 at the face-off X and turnovers impacted both squads as the Generals committed 24 miscues while Denison turned the ball over 21 times.
Denison goalie Gregg Shannon (Lindenhurst, N.Y./St. Anthony's) posted six saves and Lumpkin finished with five saves for W&L.
Denison's next game will be on March 12 when they travel to Haverford, Pa. for another key match-up against the Haverford College Fords. Their next home game will be March 26 when they host The College of Wooster at 1 p.m.