No. 5 Nittany Lions Fall at No. 9 Denver, 15-11
March 10, 2014
DENVER, Colo. - The fifth-ranked Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team couldn't keep pace with the offense of No. 9 Denver in a 15-11 loss at Barton Stadium on Monday night. The loss ended Penn State's 14-game winning streak in true road games, a stretch that dated to the beginning of the 2012 season. Penn State's last road loss came April 30, 2011 at Hofstra, which game 1,045 days ago.
Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) led Penn State (3-2) with a six-point game on three goals and three assists. Joining Sturgis in the scoring ledger were Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) and Kyle Baier (Auburn, N.Y.) with two goals apiece. Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) and Brian Prestreau (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) chipped in with a goal each.
Sturgis's six points moves him into 11th all-time at Penn State with 137 career points. Sturgis has 21 goals and eight assists this season for 29 points as he is well on his way to eclipsing his career-best season of 27 goals, 17 assists and 44 points from last year.
Freshman Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) finished the game with a career-high 21 faceoff wins on 28 attempts. Kreinz also picked up a game-high 11 ground balls, one off his career high set against Michigan (Feb. 8), while pitching in with an assist.
Both teams shot the ball well with Denver connecting on 44.1 percent of its shots and Penn State shooting 37.9 percent. For Denver, it was their second win over a top 10 team in three days following its two-goal win over Notre Dame on Saturday. Penn State received its highest ranking in program history earlier on Monday, rising to fifth from its previous high of seventh.
Denver (5-2) used a 5-0 run spanning the second and third quarters, while holding Penn State scoreless for nearly 22 minutes to earn a 9-7 lead. Ultimately, the Pioneers used a 3-0 run in the final 8:41 of the game to make a one-goal game into a four-goal victory.
The Nittany Lions, down two goals with 4:45 left in the third, Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) made a save of Tyler Pace to kill off a Penn State man-down situation and stave off a potential sixth straight Pioneer goal. Eventually, Penn State would cut the two-goal deficit in half with Baier's second of the game and sixth of the year with 1:16 remaining. The goal was assisted by Sturgis from behind the net and Baier pushed it in on the one-timer.
DU's Erik Adamson, who had six goals in the win over Notre Dame, notched a hat trick with 29 ticks on the clock in the third quarter to answer the Penn State goal. That was the first of four series of responses by each team with Denver answering every Penn State second-half goal. Denver took a 10-8 lead into the fourth quarter.
Last week's CAA Co-Player of the Week, VanThof scored his seventh of the year on a helper from LaCrosse just 38 seconds into the frame. The Pioneers replied with Adamson's fourth of the night before Manley took a beautiful feed from Sturgis to again make it a one-goal game at 11-10 with 11:23 to go.
Sean Cannizzaro opened a wild 45-second stretch with 9:01 left that saw Denver regain momentum with a 3-1 thrust and open a 14-11 leaad. Cannizzaro's offering was offset by Sturgis' lightning-strike goal from Krienz off the ensuing faceoff with 8:54 remaining.
PSU seemed poised to pick up a loose ball on another faceoff win, but Denver's Mike Riis came up with the extra change and scored his first goal of the year to put the Pioneers ahead two goals. DU won the next faceoff and Zach Miller's 15th goal of the year came from beyond the restraining line for a 14-11 advantage as Penn State was unable to recover. Wesley Berg added an insurance goal to cap the scoring.
Denver out-shot Penn State 34-29, while Penn State collected five more grounders, 28-23. Turnovers were a major factor with Penn State committing 14 and Denver just five.
The Pioneers were a perfect 19-for-19 in clearing attempts, while Penn state was 9-for-10. PSU was 0-for-1 on extra-man opportunities and Denver went 1-for-2. Each team had eight saves with Denver's Jamie Faus coming up with five second-half saves and allowing only four goals, while Ryan LaPlante conceded seven goals and saved three shots.
A fast and frantic pace dictated the opening 30 minutes of the game, with each team scoring seven goals. Sturgis opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the contest, rolling around the cage for his 19th goal of the season. Denver countered with two of its own before Baier began a 3-0 Penn State spurt with 6:49 left in the first frame. His goal was assisted by TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.). Sanders had his 11-game scoring streak snapped Monday night.
Sturgis doubled his night's total on an inside roll to bounce in a shot to give Penn State a 3-2 advantage. On the ensuing possession, which came from a faceoff victory by Kreinz, Prestreau notched his third goal of the year on a low show assisted by Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.) as PSU took a 4-2 advantage. Kreinz would win all eight faceoffs in the opening quarter as Penn State held a 4-3 lead.
The Nittany Lions again opened a two-goal advantage on a LaCrosse bounce shot with 12:16 remaining in the second quarter. After a quick strike from the Pioneers, Manley scored his first goal in two seasons on a fantastic feed from Sturgis for a 6-4 lead with 10 minutes to go.
LaCrosse pushed the lead to three goals as he moved from left to right and fired a high right-corner goal, his fourth of the year for a 7-4 advantage with 8:15 remaining. The Pioneers would answer with a pair of back-to-back goals at 5:22 and 5:08 remaining to cut the lead to two. DU's Tyler Pace knotted the score at seven with a roll down the right lane with 2:16 remaining and the two teams entered halftime tied.
Denver improved to 4-2 all-time in the series, avenging last year's 15-12 loss at the hands of the Nittany Lions in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2013.
Penn State will look to bounce back on Saturday when it plays its first home game in a month as CAA rival and 14th-ranked UMass visits Happy Valley. Game time is set for 12 p.m. and attendance is free.