The Denver Pioneers punched their ticket to the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament’s ‘Elite Eight’ in convincing fashion on Saturday, skating to a 7-2 win over the Boston Terriers at Xcel Energy Center in West Regional Semifinal action. Six different Pioneers found the back of the net  in the high-scoring affair, while sophomore goaltender Tanner Jaillet made 19 saves in the victory.

“It was a great game for us – I was proud of how we played,” Denver captain Grant Arnold said via after the win. “We weathered the storm early after not getting off to the start we wanted and then we got some good breaks in terms of momentum and executed on our chances. Our team’s focus and commitment to one another is at an all-time high right now and that’s exactly what you need in order to be successful in this tournament. It’s a special group of guys we’ve got in our locker room and hopefully we can keep this momentum going as we look to earn a berth in the Frozen Four.”

Denver struck first on Saturday when freshman defenseman Blake Hillman buried a loose puck at the 13:49 mark of the opening frame to put the Pios up 1-0. Dylan Gambrell doubled DU’s lead a moment later, taking a pass from Danton Heinen deep in BU territory and proceeding to rip a backhand shot past starting Terriers netminder Sean Maguire to register the 16th goal of his freshman campaign.

The Pioneers took a 3-0 lead early in the second period when Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher fired home a long-range wrist shot during a DU power play. Denver’s offensive onslaught continued throughout the duration of the middle frame, with Janssen and Matt Marcinew both scoring to send Saturday’s game into the second intermission with the Pios on top 5-0.

The third period saw both team scoring twice, with Butcher netting another PPG and Trevor Moore getting in on the action by converting on a wraparound to net DU’s seventh marker of the game and set a new team high for the season. Heinen and Terry both finished the game with three assists apiece, as did Quentin Shore. The five-goal margin of victory marks the largest for the Pioneers at the NCAA Tournament since a 9-2 win over New Hampshire on March 24, 1995.

Denver will now face Ferris State on Sunday (3:00pm MT) at the Xcel Energy Center with the winning team advancing to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. (Apr. 7-9).

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