North Carolina Boat Races Denver, Second Half Comeback Lifts Duke Past Robert Morris

(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)

After falling to Duke on Friday night, the Denver Pioneers rode down to Chapel Hill to face the North Carolina Tar Heels in their season opener and ran into an absolute buzz saw. Jack Hannah put Denver on the board first, but once the Tar Heels got going there was no slowing them down.

Following that Hannah goal, North Carolina responded quickly and with a purpose. The Tar Heels went on an 8-1 run to close out the first quarter, which included seven unanswered goals and a first quarter hat trick fro Chris Gray. North Carolina continued to unleash all they had on the Pioneers in the second quarter and went into the half with a commanding 14-3 lead.

The Tar Heels opened up the second half with two straight from Justin Anderson and Gray before Jackson Morrill got his first of the day first of the day for Denver. Following a Collin Krieg save, North Carolina was able to push the ball up the field quickly and get Gray his sixth of the day and Connor McCarthy put in a rebound off a Gray shot to stretch the Carolina lead even further on the Tar Heels’ very next possession.

Denver was able to get two straight from Ted Sullivan and Ty Badciong late in the third and a got a couple to go in the fourth, but any sort of comeback was already out of the picture. North Carolina continued to roll late and took home the 24-13 victory.

Chris Gray had himself a day, tallying eight points (7G.1A) while Nicky Soloman had four points (3G/1A) for the Tar Heels. Hannah led Denver with four goals and one assist.

Collin Krieg made 11 saves in cage as a first time starter for the Tar Heels. Andrew Tyeryar went 12-for-18 (66%) at the faceoff dot.

Duke 16, Robert Morris 12

Robert Morris came out the gates firing, taking an early 4-0 lead and seeing four different goal scorers. Jake Naso assisted Terry Lindsey for Duke’s first goal of the contest at the 9:14 mark of the first. The two squads traded goals to end the half with Robert Morris holding onto a 5-2 lead.

Phil Robertson scored the final goal of the first quarter and Duke made a permanent goalie change entering into the second quarter, pulling Turner Uppgren for Max Adler. For the second game in a row, a goalie change seemed to be the catalyst for a Duke comeback. The Blue Devils scored eight straight from late in the first to the 9:40 mark in the third, which included two each from Dyson Willams and Cameron Badour, to get ahead 9-5.

However, Robert Morris wasn’t going to go away that easily. Corson Kealy and Ryan Smith each scored one to help cut the Duke lead to 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter. The Colonials also found the back of the net five times in the final period of play, including the first and last two goals of the quarter.

But while the Colonials weren’t giving up, Duke always had an answer. The Blue Devils outscored the Colonials 6-5 in the fourth, which included a hat trick from Nakeie Montgomery, to put the game away and seal the 16-12 victory.

Montgomery led Duke with four points (3G/1A). Cameron Badour also had a hat trick and Michael Sowers led the game in assist with three. Mike Adler made 11 saves with a 68% save percentage and Jake Naso went 19-for-28 (67%) at the dot in his first career start.

Kealy led Robert Morris and the game with five points (4G/1A) and Ryan Smith had four points (3G/1A). Ben Savick got the start in cage and made 15 saves with a 48% save percentage.

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