Freshman Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) took center stage on Saturday at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium for [3/3] Denver’s senior day contest against BIG EAST foe [20/20] Providence. The underclassman set a DU single-game freshman record with eight points on three goals and five assists leading the Pioneers (10-2, 4-0 BIG EAST) past the Friars (9-5, 3-1 BIG EAST) 12-2 to clinch Denver’s fourth consecutive BIG EAST Regular Season Championship.
In addition to Walker’s eight points, DU got two goals from sophomore Austin French (Danville, Calif.) and senior Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.), while 2016 Tewaaraton Finalist Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) kept his point streak alive with a pair of helpers. Walker now has 28 points in his last five games.
Cannizzaro also had three caused turnovers in the win while sophomore Alex Ready (Lancaster, Pa.) took the win with nine saves in 57 minutes of action. Freshman Josh Matte (Issaquah, Wash.) closed out the final three minutes in goal for Denver.
The Friars got one goal each from Conner Byrne and Ryan Nawrocki, while Tate Boyce took the loss with 10 saves in all 60 minutes.
Junior Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) extended his double-digit faceoff win streak to all 47 career games, going 11-of-17 with four ground balls.
This afternoon’s sellout (2,347) was the 22nd straight at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium, and the 44th in the stadium’s history.
Both sides were quiet in the opening frame as Denver struck first at the 3:27 mark after French took a feed from Walker to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead heading into the second stanza.
Walker, who had a hand in five of Denver’s six first-half goals, took a feed from junior Connor Donahue (Groton, Mass.) and rifled a shot past Boyce at 11:51. Walker followed up with another feed to French for a 3-0 DU lead with 6:56 remaining in the half.
The Peterborough, Ontario, native kept the momentum rolling after burying his second marker at 6:27 before sophomore Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) found the back of the net to extend the lead to 5-0 with 4:49 to play in the second quarter.
Walker had one final assist to give in the first half as he connected with Pace on a man-up opportunity at 2:53 to give Denver a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The Pioneers managed only one goal in the third quarter as Walker handed junior Sean Mayle (San Carlos, Calif.) a look early in the frame at 14:47 to extend the lead to 7-0. Providence finally got on the board with a Jarrod Neumann feed to Byrne at 12:49.
Providence added one more goal in the quarter as Nawrocki found a gap past Ready to set the score at 7-2 heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter remained in Denver’s control as the hosts tallied the last five goals of the contest with Walker posting his eighth point at the 11:50 mark on an assist to Pace’s second goal to set DU’s freshman single-game points record. The Pioneers would go on to clinch their fourth straight BIG EAST Regular Season Championship at 12-2.
Denver improved to 114-15 when scoring double-digit goals under associate head coach Matt Brown, and 25-0 under defensive coordinator John Orsen when the Pioneers allow single digit goals. The Pioneers also improved to 20-0 in BIG EAST regular season play.
Denver men’s lacrosse will close out the 2017 regular season next Saturday when the Pioneers travel to Marquette for a 2:30 p.m. MDT faceoff. Denver will play in the first semifinal of the BIG EAST Tournament on May 4 at 2:30 p.m. MDT in Providence.