April 21, 2012

Denison captures NCAC crown with win over Kenyon

Two trophies are always better than one.

No. 7 Denison overcame a one-goal deficit in the third quarter by scoring the final seven goals of the game en route to an 11-6 win over Kenyon College.  With the win, Denison was awarded the newly created Thomsen-Heiser Trophy which goes to the winner of the annual regular season game between the Big Red and the Lords.  Denison also secured the 2012 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship, its 13th conference title in school history.

The pair of trophies didn't come easy for the Big Red as Kenyon found themselves with a 6-4 lead early in the third quarter.  Denison started strong, scoring the first three goals of the game but Kenyon's Will Lowe got the Lords on the scoreboard with his unassisted goal at the 7:14 mark of the first quarter.

Cory Couture would find Alex Hardt for his first goal of the game with 2:29 to play in the quarter, giving DU a 4-1 lead.  That would start a 19 minute scoring drought by Denison and the Lords would take full advantage, going on a 5-0 run to take a 6-4 lead.

With 10:08 left in the third quarter, Couture broke DU's scoreless streak with his second goal of the game.  Two minutes later, after a penalty was flagged on Kenyon, Zach Walsh fired a shot from 17-yards that tied the game at 6-6.  Denison would win the ensuing face-off and miss a shot attempt.  The Lords got out in transition, looking to answer Walsh's goal.  At midfield, Denison's Chapin Speidel placed a thunderous check on Kenyon's Chris Pappalardo that brought the crowd to its feet.  Austin Campbell gathered the loose ball caused by Speidel's hit and minutes later, Walsh would score again, this time via a pass from Speidel, giving Denison a 7-6 lead.

Vita and Speidel would account for the final four goals of the game for Denison, setting the final at 11-6.  As they have at other points in the season, the Big Red successfully handled adversity and came away with the victory.  The offense outshot Kenyon 47-21 and was 2-of-4 in extra-man situations.  The Lords were 1-for-3 in extra man.  They committed 17 turnovers to Denison's 11 and were 8-for-20 in face-off's.

Tommy Harrison and Chip Phillips led Denison with six ground balls.  Harrison also added two caused turnovers.  Phillips was 12-for-20 at the face-off X while junior goalie Nick Petracca posted seven saves in 60 minutes.

Kenyon was led by Lowe and Geoff Akie who scored two goals apiece.  Akie and Caleb Florence finished with three ground balls and Fletcher Franklin tallied 11 saves in goal for the Lords.

The win improves Denison's record to 11-1 overall and 5-0 in the NCAC.  This is 10th time they have went undefeated in conference play in the regular season.  The Big Red closes out its regular season next week with a home game on Tuesday (April 24) against Otterbein and the regular season finale on Saturday (April 28) against St. Vincent.

* Former Kenyon head coach, Bill Heiser was present at the game with a number of his family members.  He was joined on the field by the family of the late Ferris "Tommy" Thomsen, Jr.  Coach Thomsen's memory has been honored by the Big Red, who wear a patch on their helmets bearing his initials.