The Denver Pioneers (23-9-8) defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions (18-15-5) 5-1 and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Midwest Regional on Saturday at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.
Denver will play the Ohio State Buckeyes for a spot in the 2018 Frozen Four on Sunday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
“Penn State is an explosive offensive hockey team,” Richard and Kitzia Goodman Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “I thought in the first period we neutralized their transition game because of our commitment to staying on the right side of the puck. To me, that goes to our leaders and the guys that have been here before.”
Ian Mitchell and Troy Terry each logged three (3) point games and Tanner Jaillet made 26 saves to tie the school record for most career wins (82).
The Pioneers broke a scoreless first period at the 12:19 mark when Liam Finlay retrieved the puck from Ian Mitchell’s shot and centered a low-to-high pass to Kohen Olischefski, who stopped in front of the net for a tap-in past Peyton Jones. After killing a penalty one (1) minute after taking the lead, Denver capitalized on a delayed penalty to mount a 2-0 advantage before the first intermission. At 16:40 of the period, the Pioneers worked the puck with the extra attacker until Dylan Gambrell found Troy Terry for a wrist shot from the slot.
After outshooting the Penn State, 18-7, in the first period, Denver continued its pressure in the second to establish a four-goal lead. Henrik Borgström made it 3-0 at 4:51 of the second period, taking a pass on a two-on-one rush with Troy Terry and firing a wrist shot from the hash marks over the shoulder of Jones. Penn State responded to the three-goal deficit with a spurt of pressure, but Nittany Lions’ efforts were negated when Denver added another goal before the end of the second period. The Pioneers worked quickly on a power play with 12 seconds remaining in the second period as Ian Mitchell took a shot from the point and Jarid Lukosevicius deflected the puck past Jones at 19:58 of the frame.
Penn State tallied its lone goal of the night at 7:39 of the third period when Liam Folkes stole the puck in the offensive zone and put a shot through the five-hole of Jaillet. The 4-1 score held only briefly before Lukosevicius put a wrist shot past Jones to put Denver in front by four (4) goals and make it a 5-1 game.
Sunday’s game is set to be broadcast on ESPNU.
Denver went 1/2 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill.