After visiting the University of North Dakota last week and coming away with a couple of tie games, the DU Pioneers were all set for another intense weekend series against another NCHC division foe.
This time going against the team who the Pioneers beat in the national championship game last season, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. This season, the games against Minnesota Duluth have consistently been tight contests, where the games could have gone either way.
“I think those games [against Minnesota Duluth] are just easy to get up for. I mean, both of us are super competitive teams who are well coached and we have good systems on both sides,” defenseman Adam Plant said.
Prior to the start of the game, one of the surprising factors was that Pioneers defenseman Adam Plant would be starting the game after having to be helped off of the ice in the last series following a large hit against the University of North Dakota.
“Yeah,” Plant said in regards to being 100 percent prior to Friday night’s game. “It was mostly my jaw and my neck going back to the last injury with my neck, so it was a quick recovery. I felt pretty good the next day and I took a couple days to regroup and feel better.”
Through 40 minutes of play, the score would remain scoreless. Both teams would generate plenty of chances, but would ultimately be unable to break the twine.
In the end, it would be Henrik Borgström who found the back of the net early in the third period, as he would fire a sneaky shot from the goal line to give the Pioneers the 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs.
— Aaron Goldschmidt (@lateinthegoldie) February 3, 2018
The Bulldogs would bring the pressure for the remainder of the third period, but the outstanding play from the Pioneers defense, and Pioneers goaltender Tanner Jaillet would prove to be enough to give the Pioneers the victory in their first game of the two-game series against the Bulldogs.
With the victory, Jaillet claimed his third consecutive shutout.
“He’s incredible,” Plant said with a laugh. “He is the backbone of this team, and you know, we aren’t going to be doing well if he is not on his game, which hasn’t happened at all this year. He has been unbelieveable.”
Defensively the Pioneers have been able to step up their game, as they are 13-0-3 when the Pioneers are limiting other teams to two goals or less.
“I think we are just starting to figure it out and work as a team,” Plant stated. “We have a young team this year, so we knew that it would be a little bit more difficult getting that d-zone sorted out and communication. I think that we are communicating at a high level now, with still a lot of room to grow in that area.”
The Pioneers will look for the same result Saturday night against the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to close out the weekend series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm MT.