A nearly 40-minute scoring drought was the difference in the Canisius College men's lacrosse team's 11-4 defeat to No. 11 Denver on Sunday afternoon in the Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic. The Griffs drop to 0-2 on the season, while the nationally-ranked Pioneers improve to 3-1.
"We didn't play our best game today and didn't perform nearly to what we are capable of," said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. "We turned the ball over way too much and the Denver goaltender played very well. We were able to see what we have this weekend and what we need to work on. We'll continue to move forward and get ready for a tough Cornell team in our home opener."
Seniors Steve Berntson and Joe Rautenstrauch, sophomore Brandon Bull and freshman Vince Gravino all netted goals for the Griffs. The tallies for seniors Berntson and Rautenstrauch were both the first of their careers.
Sophomore Alex Goventtio recorded his second double-digit save performance of the season with 10 stops against the nationally-ranked Pioneers.
The Pioneers opened the scoring with a goal 1:51 into the contest but Gravino responded with his third tally of the season in the first weekend of his college career. However, that tally was the last time the Griffs would find the back of the net until it was too late.
Denver held the Griffs scoreless for the next 39:36, while netting nine goals of its own to build a 10-1 advantage. Bull finally ended the drought with a goal with 12:14 remaining but the damage was already done as the Pioneers earned the victory.
The Pioneers finished with a 36-27 advantage in shots. Canisius won 12-of-19 faceoffs, led by senior Mike Moran's 11-of-18 performance, and won the ground-ball battle, 27-26. Denver was 2-for-5 with the extra-man advantage with Canisius going 0-for-3.
Wes Berg led Denver with five points on three goals and two assists, while Ryan LaPlante stopped 10-of-13 shots on goal before giving way to backup Erik Carter, who recorded one save.
Canisius returns to action on Tuesday, March 2, hosting nationally-ranked Cornell in its home opener. Game time between the Griffs and No. 7 Big Red is set for 4 p.m. at the Demske Sports Complex.
Game Notes: The game was moved from Denver to an indoor facility at Air Force in Colorado Springs due to inclement weather ... An all-tournament team will be announced on Monday ... Canisius is now 0-2 all-time against Denver.