Extra time needed for DU to stay unbeaten; Pioneers defeat WMU 4-3

Photo Courtesy of JJ Seaward / Mile High Sports
The DU Pioneers celebrate with forward Emilio Pettersen following his game tying goal against Western Michigan University

The Denver Pioneers looked to continue their unbeaten streak heading into night two of conference play against Westen Michigan University. After a 5-2 statement win over the Broncos the night before, DU was hoping to lean on their young guns yet again to remain atop the NCHC rankings; the Pioneers were able to do just that, winning 4-3 in overtime.

DU came out flying, carrying their energy from Friday into the first period, as WMU barely matched the Pioneers intensity. An early 5-minute penalty on Jamie Rome for boarding and a game-misconduct handed DU what little momentum the Broncos had on their side. Denver took the full five minutes to set up their power-play, after quite a bit of pressure from the Western Michigan penalty kill.

Slava Demin broke the tie with a sharp wrist shot from the left circle beating Ben Blacker over his glove, giving him his first ever NCAA goal. WMU killed the remainder of the long penalty and kept DU off the score sheet, finishing the first frame 1-0.

Western Michigan came out of the locker room for the second period, yet again matching the speed from DU. Both teams used the beginning of the frame to settle their game down, establishing a zone presence on both ends of the ice.

Both teams committed penalties early in the period, but Colt Conrad’s high sticking yet again gave DU the man advantage. The Pioneers power play made the Broncos pay, as Ian Mitchell found Jarid Lukosevicius sitting on the doorstep for an easy, tap-in goal, netting his 6th goal of the young season.

Tempers would rise as the period progressed, and both teams took more trips to the box. DU ended the second period leading 2-0 and also were on a power play that carried over into the final frame.

Western Michigan killed off the penalty from the previous period, and another committed early, giving them just enough momentum to sneak one past goaltender Devin Cooly.

Josh Passolt broke down the right side boards and tossed a weak wrister over the outstretched glove of the Pioneers netminder. That goal proved a significant momentum swing in favor of the visiting Broncos as they would add two more goals in the third frame.

Mattias Samuelsson knotted the score at two with a rocket through a sea of skates, and just three minutes later, Paul Washe gave WMU the lead.

DU fought to regain momentum for the remainder of the period until the Broncos took a tripping minor with 2:37 remaining in the game. Again, the Pioneers made the Broncos pay on Emilio Pettersen’s third goal of the season. Pettersen’s goal sent the game into overtime, with DU entirely in control of the momentum.

Heading into the extra frame, DU had scored every one of its goals on special teams, while Cooley saved 22 of the 25 shots he faced.

Lukosevicius took full advantage of the momentum scoring his second of the game and fifth of the weekend, giving the Pioneers the 4-3 overtime victory.

The Pioneers head on the road next weekend, to take on (2) St. Cloud State University. Puck drop is set for 6:07 PM MST from Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MN.

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