Source: USA TODAY
Eric Law’s rebound goal with 13 seconds left in regulation Sunday capped a huge comeback as No. 4-seeded Denver rallied to beat No. 5 North Carolina 12-11 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, sending the Pioneers to the Final Four for the second time in three seasons.
Denver will play top seed Syracuse next Saturday in the national semifinals in Philadelphia.
In the second contest in Indianapolis, David Lawson scored a career-high five goals, including the game winner with 2:16 remaining, as Duke earned its seventh consecutive trip to Championship Weekend with a 12-11 victory against second-seeded Notre Dame.
“We try not to think about that,” Lawson said of the Final Four streak. “You try not to get nervous about being the first team not to get to a Final Four under coach (John) Danowski. But we’re obviously very happy about it.”
Josh Dionne added a hat trick for the Blue Devils (14-5), who earned a semifinal date with Cornell. Duke overcame a huge day from freshman attackman Matt Kavanagh (three goals, three assists) and senior goalie John Kemp (13 saves) for the Fighting Irish (11-5), who were defeated in the tournament by Duke for the third time in four years.
The game was a back-and-forth affair throughout with neither team able to grab a lead larger than two goals.
Duke led 6-4 in the second quarter, but the Irish knotted things at 6-6 at the half.
Notre Dame took its largest margin at 11-9 on a fourth-quarter tally by Conor Doyle with a man up, but Christian Walsh quickly got the Blue Devils back within one.
Kyle Turri made his best save of the game against Notre Dame’s Sean Rogers, and Dionne finished a fast break at the other end to create the ninth tie at 11. Lawson then gave Duke the lead, and the Blue Devils ran out the clock.
Denver’s victory in the opener seemed improbable when the Tar Heels (13-4) scored the game’s first six goals and the shots for the Pioneers (14-4) shots kept finding the pipe.
The last tally of UNC’s opening barrage was the product of a wild sequence. With Denver trying to change goalies on the fly, the Pioneers instead turned it over, allowing defenseman Evan Connell to snag his first career goal into an empty net for a 6-0 lead with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Colin Scott finally got DU on the board, but the Tar Heels took a 9-4 lead into halftime with eight different goal scorers, while Denver sent an almost uncanny six shots off the frame of the goal.
“Every single head was up in the locker room,” Law said of Denver’s halftime deficit. “We knew we were right there because of the chances we were getting and we knew our defense was going to get stops. We just kept believing in each other.”
But with Jamie Faus taking over in goal, the Denver defense appeared to settle down.
UNC managed only two tallies after intermission, and the Pioneers’ shots began to find the twine. An unassisted goal by Eric Adamson with 1:31 left in the fourth got Denver even for the first time. His bid for the lead a minute later was stopped by Tar Heelsgoalie Kieran Burke, but the rebound bounced to a wide-open Law who buried the game winner.
Law, a senior and Colorado native who began his collegiate career at Division III power Salisbury (Md.), finished with six points on three goals and three assists.
Wes Berg added four goals and one helper for DU, while Faus finished with 11 saves.
Tar Heels senior captain and Tewaaraton Award finalist Marcus Holman was limited to a single assist. His storied career concludes with a school-record 213 points (121 goals, 92 assists).
Contributing: Associated Press