The No. 1 DU Pioneers defeated the No. 8 WMU Broncos by a score of 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Target Center to finish Third at the 2017 NCHC Frozen Faceoff and earn a win in their final game before this year’s NCAA Tournament. Senior netminder Evan Cowley (Evergreen, Colo.) made 28 saves in picking up his 23rd career victory while sophomore forward Colin Staub (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored two goals in helping DU improve to 29-7-4 on the season.
“This was a good team win for us,” Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said following Saturday’s victory. “We decided to rest a few of our regulars to give some of our other student-athletes an opportunity to play and they seized the moment and did a great job. Our team’s depth and character are two of our biggest strengths and we showed that here today by picking up this win.”
Click HERE to view Denver’s complete post-game press conference featuring Coach Montgomery, Staub, senior center Evan Ritt (Lakewood, Colo.) and alternate captain Matt VanVoorhis (Grand Forks, N.D.)
The Pioneers took an early 1-0 lead on Saturday when Staub buried a close-range backhander during a DU power play midway through the opening period. Defensemen Michael Davies (St. Louis, Mo.) and Blake Hillman (Elk River, Minn.) both drew helpers on the PPG.
Western Michigan pulled even at the 5:29 mark of the middle frame, with Detroit Red Wings prospect Mike McKee scoring in transition to register the second goal of his season and end Cowley’s shutout streak at 149:31. Denver went back up by one a moment later courtesy of freshman winger Liam Finlay (Kelowna, B.C.), who rifled home his eighth marker of the season to net what proved to be the game-winner as the lone goal of the third period came off of Staub’s stick.
Denver had already clinched an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament prior to the Frozen Faceoff and will enter the regional portion of the tourney (Mar. 24-26) as a No. 1 Seed. ThePenrose Cup Champions will find out which of the four host cities they’ll be headed to on Sunday at 12pm ET/10am MT during the NCAA Hockey Selection Show on ESPNU.
Featured Image Credit: Denver Pioneers