The 8th seeded Tar Heels were upset by Denver in an offensive showdown at Fetzer Field on Saturday. The Pioneers prevailed 16-14.
Chase Carraro won 23 face offs and Denver dominated possession throughout the game. The play of goaltender, Steven Rastivo kept the Tar Heels in the game. Rastivo had 15 saves on the night.
But it was Jeremy Noble who had 3 goals and 7 assists and Mark Matthews who had 5 goals for the Pioneers who led the way. Marcus Holman had 6 goals for the Tar Heels.
Despite Denver's domination of face offs and time of possession, Carolina had a chance to tie the game up in the final seconds. Mark Staines fired a shot with 25 seconds left that hit the post that would have equalized the game. Carolina maintained possession and set up a play with 20 seconds left following a time out. But the Tar Heels were turned away and Denver scored an empty net goal to cap off the victory.
The Tar Heels had 7 penalties on the night but Denver was only able to score twice in Extra-Man Opportunities. Carolina scored twice on their Man Up chances.
Jimmy Bitter had a goal and assist on the night while Chad Tutton scored twice for the Tar Heels. Jimmy Dunster found the net twice for UNC as well.
With the loss, the Tar Heels are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament and their season comes to and end at 11-6. They will return a solid squad next season led by Marcus Holman, Jimmy Bitter and Steven Rastivo.
Denver will advance to face top seeded Loyola next weekend.