Denver downs Miami, 5-2, to stay atop NCHC

Credit: http://www.denverpioneers.com/sports/m-hockey/recaps/021717aaa.html

The No. 2 DU Pioneers emerged victorious from a highly-entertaining hockey game on Friday night, downing the MU RedHawks at Steve Cady Arena to remain atop the NCHC Standings. Denver took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission only to see Miami tie things up at two apiece in the opening half of the third period. The visitors then stormed back, netting three unanswered goals in the final 6:04 of regulation to take the decision by a final score of 5-2.

“It’s great for our team to be able to win games like these with big momentum swings,” Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said following Friday’s road victory. “That’s going to happen a lot in the NCHC Playoffs and in the NCAA Tournament and the response we had tonight after the RedHawks tied the game shows our maturity as a group and our resolve as a team.”

“We haven’t had an in-conference sweep on the road yet this season and if we want to win the Penrose Cup, that’s exactly what we need to do so hopefully we can come out tomorrow and take care of business here in Oxford.”

After a scoreless opening period, sophomore forward Dylan Gambrell (Bonney Lake, Wash.) gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead early in the middle frame, beating Miami goalie Ryan Larkin on a low wrist shot late in a Denver power play to register the eighth goal of his season. Senior Evan Janssen (Green Bay, Wis.) and freshman Liam Finlay (Kelowna, B.C.) both picked up assists on Gambrell’s man-up marker. Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (Denver, Colo.) then doubled the visitors’ lead at the 5:32 mark of the stanza, also on the power play, improving his 2016-17 goals total to a dozen in the process.

The home team cut Denver’s lead in half at the 4:15 mark of the third period when sophomore winger Zach LaValle scored his first goal of the season on a close-range snap shot. A booming slap shot off the stick of freshman defenseman Jared Brandt then tied the game up at two apiece 5:16 later.

Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis.) put the visitors back on top at the 13:56 mark of the third, taking a feed from Gambrell and rifling home his sixth tally of the season during a 4-on-4 session. Gambrell then added an insurance marker for DU shortly thereafter, with Emil Romig (Vienna, Austria) sealing the victory for the Crimson & Gold by firing home an empty-netter late in regulation.

Denver (21-6-4, 13-3-3-2 NCHC) and Miami (9-14-6, 5-10-4-2 NCHC) will square off again on Saturday night (6pm MT) at Steve Cady Arena.

Featured Image Credit: Denver Pioneers

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