Strong Second Half Lifts Duke Past Vermont

(Photo Courtesy of Duke Athletics)

The Duke Blue Devils move to 2-0 on the season as they took down the Vermont Catamounts 15-7 in a top-20 matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Vermont opened up the scoring with a Liam Limoges goal just over six minutes into the contest and Duke would answer with two straight from Nakeie Montgomery. That would be the last action the Blue Devils would see the rest of the half as the Vermont defend held them scoreless for the final 22:51 of the first half of play.

Ryan Cornell sprinted out of the cage and across the midline, and ended up being the assist man on a David Closterman transition goal late in the first quarter to even things up at two. The play helped tilt the energy in favor of the Catamounts, which they fully capitalized on in the second frame.

Two goals from Griffin Fenech and Michael McCormack pushed the Catamounts ahead 4-2 at the half. Tommy Burke going 3-0 at the dot, as well as the Catamounts winning the ground ball battle 6-2 during the second quarter helped Vermont hold onto the momentum through the end of the first half.

Suddenly, the script flipped. The Blue Devils got hot and rattled off seven consecutive goals from early in the third through early in the fourth to take a 9-4 lead. Duke ended the game on a five-goal run to secure the eight-point victory.

Vermont was able to cut the Duke lead to three twice during the fourth quarter, first off two goals from Michael McMcormack and Thomas McConveny, and lastly off a Griffin Fenech goal just minutes later to answer a Brennan O’Neill score off a beautiful question mark dodge.

The Blue Devils took total control in the final 8:02 of the game, controlling possession and holding the Catamounts to just two shots during that time frame.

During the second half of play, Duke outshot Vermont 22-16, went 11-for-11 in the clearing game, and found much of their momentum off the play of Adler. The goalie ended the day with 15 saves, seven of which came in the final two frames.

Dyson Williams (3G/1A), Brennan O’Neill (3G), and Nakeie Montgomery (3G) all had hat tricks for the Blue Devils. Joe Robertson also had four points off two goals and two assists.

Tommy Burke won the battle at the faceoff dot for the Catamounts, going 17-for-25 (68%). Michael McCormack has two goals and one assists to lead the way with three points. Ryan Cornell made 11 saves (eight in first half).

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