The No. 1 DU Pioneers reclaimed first place in the NCHC Standings in dramatic fashion on Friday night, defeating the No. 18 SCSU Huskies 4-3 in overtime to capture their eighth consecutive victory in front of 6,102 fans at Magness Arena. Denver now leads second place Minnesota-Duluth by one point with one game in hand in the race for the Penrose Cup.
“This was a great college hockey game,” Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said following Friday’s hard-fought home win. “There was a lot of emotion from both sides, several momentum swings and some really terrific end-to-end action. We showed great resolve after they tied the game up late in regulation and stepped up our game from that point on, dominating the last couple minutes of the third and overtime, where our best players took over and won the game for us.”
“The Huskies are a strong, well-coached team and we know we’ll get their best again on Saturday so we’ll have to be very good again as well if we want to complete the sweep.”
Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) gave Denver an early 1-0 lead on Friday, burying a picture-perfect feed from linemate Henrik Borgström (Helsinki, Finland) in the fourth minute of play to register the 15th goal of his sophomore season. St. Cloud State then struck twice in quick succession to take a 2-1 lead, but San Jose Sharks prospect Dylan Gambrell (Bonney Lake, Wash.) tied things up at two apiece by netting his 10th tally of 2016-17 at the 12:05 mark of the opening frame.
Gambrell scored his second goal of the game early in the second period to put DU up 3-2, carrying the puck into Huskies territory and beating SCSU goaltender Jeff Smith on a nifty backhand shot. An equalizing goal by Buffalo Sabres prospect Judd Peterson with 2:22 remaining in regulation then necessitated an overtime period from which Denver emerged victorious thanks to the heroics of Borgström, who took a pass from Terry on the fly in the slot and beat Smith on a well-placed wrist shot to make the 16th goal of his freshman season of the skate-off variety.
Denver (23-6-4, 15-3-2-2 NCHC) and St. Cloud State (15-15-1, 9-11-1-0 NCHC) will square off again on Saturday (puck drop – 7pm) on Senior Night at Magness Arena. A special pre-game ceremony will be held honoring the nine members of the Denver Hockey Class of 2017. The Pioneers wrap up their regular season schedule the weekend of March 3-4 in Omaha prior to returning home to face a TBD opponent at Magness Arena in Round 1 of the NCHC Playoffs.
Featured Video Credit: Denver Pioneers, YouTube