The University of Denver Pioneers (17-6-6, 10-4-3-3) shot past the Colorado College Tigers (12-13-4, 6-10-3-2) to win 5-1 and clinch their fourth consecutive Gold Pan on Friday at Broadmoor World Arena.
The victory marked the seventh time the Pioneers have scored five (5) or more goals in a game this season and pushed them to an eight-game unbeaten streak. While Colorado College will have an opportunity to even the season series at 2-0-2 on Saturday at Magness Arena, Denver’s win ensured that it will retain the Gold Pan trophy as the previous winner holds onto the trophy in event of a tie. The Pioneers’ fourth-consecutive Gold Pan victory matches a record set by the Tigers from 1999-2002. Denver leads the all-time series in the Battle for the Gold Pan, 13-12.
“I love the way our entire team played from (Tanner Jaillet) on out,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s awesome for these seniors to have won four Gold Pans in a row in their career, but now that one trophy is down we start focusing on the most important ones.”
Nearing the conclusion of Denver’s first penalty of the game, Jake Durflinger blocked a shot and sprung himself on a breakaway but was unable to convert. Less than one (1) minute later, Jack Gates had a pair of opportunities for Colorado College but was denied by the post when he attempted to slide the puck around Jaillet. The fruitless chances allowed Denver to open the scoring at 14:27 of the first period when Henrik Borgström received the puck from Jarid Lukosevicius and took a shot from behind the net that caromed off Tigers goalie Alex Leclerc across the goal line.
The Tigers nearly equalized on a two-on-one opportunity only seven (7) seconds into the 2nd period, but Jaillet slid across his crease to deny the attempt from Colorado College’s leading scorer, Nick Halloran. Denver extended its lead roughly 50 seconds later when Liam Finlay took a pass from Borgström and dished the puck to Colin Staub who was standing in front of the net to give the Pioneers a two-goal lead. The Pioneers’ advantage held until the midway point of the second period when Brian Williams skated into the Colorado College offensive zone and whizzed a wrist shot from between the circles past Jaillet. Less than three (3) minutes after the Tigers scored, Griffin Mendel laid a puck behind the Leclerc, Rudy Junda collected the puck and sent a pass to Kohen Olischefkski who was alone in front of the net to make it 3-1. Denver would extend its second two-goal lead of the night with 11 seconds remaining in the second period as Logan O’Connor slipped into the right circle and backhanded a shot that glanced off the glove of Leclerc into the net. Denver held a 29-16 shot advantage through 40 minutes.
“I thought we were relentless,” Montgomery said. “I thought we never stopped attacking and I thought we never stopped pressuring. We did a really good job using our speed by our forwards and I thought that put them on their heels and led to a lot of grade-A scoring chances.”
At 5:49 of the third period, Jarid Lukosevicius added the Pioneers’ fifth goal of the night as he took a pass from Dylan Gambrell, carried the puck across the net and popped a shot over Leclerc.
Denver finished 0/5 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill. Jaillet finished with 19 saves and was replaced by Dayton Rasmussen with 64 seconds remaining in regulation.