Johnnies battle snow in loss at Denver

Eric DeJohn led the Red Storm with five goals, however his effort was not enough to keep St. Johns in the game. (Photo Credit: St. Johns/Athletic Communications).

Eric DeJohn led the Red Storm with five goals, however his effort was not enough to keep St. John’s in the game. (Photo Credit: St. John’s/Athletic Communications).

Derrell Bouknight, Staff Writer

After dropping their Big East home opener last weekend against the Marquette Golden Eagles, the St. John’s men’s lacrosse team traveled to Colorado on Saturday seeking their second win of the season in a matchup with the defending NCAA champion Denver Pioneers (10-1, 3-0).

In addition to facing the third best team in the nation, the Red Storm had to fight through an April snowstorm that affected the field early on.

However, the snow didn’t affect Eric DeJohn, as the redshirt senior tied a game high with five goals. The Red Storm could not hang with the defending champs despite DeJohn’s excellent effort.

Jason DeBenedictis notched three goals for the Johnnies, scoring his 25th goal of the season while sealing a hat trick.

“We didn’t start great today, Denver is obviously as good as advertised. I thought we did a better job of continuing to play through the rough patches,” head coach Jason Miller said to “Trevor Baptiste was dominant, as he’s been all year. But I thought our guys fought through it with better consistency.”

The Pioneers went 22-of-29 in faceoff battle against the three specialists Miller used. Baptiste, whom Miller spoke about, is a member of the 2016 Tewaarton Award watch list and won 20 of the 25 faceoffs he was a part of this season. St. John’s was edged 35-27 in ground balls.

After Connor Cannizzaro – who led Denver with five goals – scored the first Pioneer goal of the game, his team followed with two more. James Bonanno scored the first Red Storm goal of the game with 6:45 left in the first quarter on an assist from Zach Larsen.

With Denver up 5-1 at the end of one, St. John’s struggled to score, due in part to limited visibility and aggressive Denver defense. The Pioneers’ half-field defense caused errant possessions and very few shots for St. John’s. The team’s long possessions resulted in having ten fewer shots than Denver, who outscored the Red Storm 22-12 and led 9-3 at halftime.

In the second half, DeJohn and Bonanno officially recorded multi-goal games. After Cannizzaro scored with 8:03 left in the third quarter, DeBenedictis cut the Denver lead to 11-7 on an assist from DeJohn. Momentum, however, swung back to Denver’s side after they added four more goals before the end of the quarter to take a commanding 15-7 lead into the fourth.

The final period featured a hat trick from DeJohn, who capitalized on three bouncing goals from runs beginning behind the net. Denver went on to add two more goals, which put all hope for a St. John’s comeback out of reach as they fell 17-10 in their final road game of the regular season.

St. John’s (1-11, 0-3) will return home to Queens next weekend for the first of two consecutive home games to conclude the season. On April 23, the team will face conference rival Villanova, followed by a date with Georgetown a week after. They will then prepare for the Big East tournament beginning on May 5 back at Peter Barton Stadium in Denver.