A Flash Shift in Momentum... Advantage Duke

Feb 23, 2018

BTB Lax coach Jesse Miller

The Duke/Denver game was last Friday...  

I checked the score during the game and saw Denver was ahead 12-8 early in the 4th Qtr.

I checked again later that same night and saw Duke won 15-12.

7 goal run to end the game.

Did Duke start winning every face-off?  


Did Ethan Walker get hurt?


Well then…  what happened?

I guarantee the Denver coaches were sayin’ that exact same thing.   

I finished watching the game on Tuesday night and proceeded to think about it for the next 15 hours...

Here’s my take...

Duke was in shambles to end the 3rd… literally on the brink of total derailment…

Fowler had just re-entered the game, to replace a struggling Turner Uppgren (Duke had been splitting time between Fowler and Uppgren, waiting for one to “take” the job.)  

...and Denver scored immediately to take a 12-8 lead with less than 30 seconds in the 3rd.

Trevor Baptitse won the ensuing draw.

Almost a fast break.  Nice pass.  Great move.  Shot…

Fowler save.

...and that single play changed everything.

Instead of trailing by 5 to enter the 4th, Duke was only down 4...

And thanks to the great commentary by Paul Carcaterra, viewers had an inside ticket to the Duke huddle.

Coach Danowski’s message… “They’re not bigger, faster, or better than you.  Don’t be afraid to make a play!

Nothing magical.  

Just a simple message...  

And “poof” everything changed in less than five minutes.

Justin Guterding can see the field so well and connected with freshman Joe Roberston.  (Robertson is second in points for Duke.)

12-9.  Duke down 3.

Denver committed a foul and went man down.

Guterding scores.  Duke down 2.

Baptiste wins draw but turns it over.  Duke takes advantage.  12-11.

Another Denver penalty coupled with a turnover resulted in the tying goal…

… still over 11 minutes to play.  


The entire Denver team and coaching staff must have been in shock… All their momentum from the first three quarters vanished…

Penalties and turnovers negated their face-off advantage...

And once they finally got the ball back, their offensive mojo was gone. They lacked needed patience.

Trailing 13-12, Walker forced a man-up pass that Duke recovered.

Duke tallied two more to cap off their 7 goal run.

I’ve never seen momentum shift so drastically in favor of the team losing all the face-offs!

Momentum is such a powerful force.

Denver lost their poise and missed the experience of a guy like Connor Cannizzaro.  

The Denver post-game film session must have looked pretty good up until the 4th – then it hurt.

However, it’s better to grow from this in February than in May.

Both teams stack their schedule – so many more big games to come.

I’ll be watching.