Denver scored three times in less than seven minutes early in the second half on its was to defeating Valparaiso 4-2 on Friday afternoon in the first round of the Falcon Invitational at the Air Force Academy.
Neither team scored in the opening half, leading to a wild second half of scoring. The Pioneers outshot the Brown and Gold 5-2 in the first stanza, but had only one shot on goal.
Denver opened the second half with a goal just 2:33 into the period as Mike Stark scored his first of the afternoon. Valpo answered at the 53:04 mark as Ryan Wolin (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park H.S.) found the top right corner on a give-and-go from Mickey Miller II (Tulsa, Okla./Bartlesville H.S.). Just 24 seconds later the Pioneers took the lead for good as Chris Fagnant scored his first of two goals in less than a minute.
Trailing 3-1, the Crusaders cut the lead in half at the 72:57 mark when Billy Wanecke (Granger, Ind./Mishawaka Marian H.S.) fought through two defenders and fired a shot that rebounded to Mark Korba (Portage, Ind./Portage H.S.) who found the back of the net with the rebound.
Stark added an insurance goal at the 82:31 mark as the Pioneers recorded their first victory of the season.
Denver outshot Valpo 16-6 for the match, and held a 6-3 advantage on corner kicks. Jeff Oleck (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) made four saves between the pipes for Valpo while Brian Lux mad three four the Pioneers.
The Crusaders will face Air Force on Sunday afternoon to conclude the tournament with kickoff slated for 1 p.m. CDT.