Pioneers explode in second period to rout Air Force

The University of Denver Pioneers (11-5-4, 5-3-2-1) scored four (4) goals during a 2:32 span in the second period to defeat the Air Force Academy Falcons (8-9-3, 3-7-2), 6-0, on Saturday at Magness Arena.

“I thought we played with more urgency and more purpose,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “We won battles, we won races and it was everybody. I thought our first period was our best first period in a long time.”

Tanner Jaillet made 15 saves in the victory while Jarid Lukosevicius and Jaakko Heikkinen each finished with one (1) goal and two (2) assists. Denver outshot Air Force, 46-18.

Liam Finlay scored the first goal of the game at 6:14 of the opening period when, following a flurry of shots, Finlay put the puck on his backhand and lifted a shot over the shoulder of Falcons goalie Billy Christopoulos. The Pioneers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The second-period scoring explosion began on a Denver power play at 12:17 of the frame when Lukosevicius took a couple whacks at a puck in the crease and was able to pop a shot over the pad of Christopoulos. At 13:27 of the period, Heikkinen extended the Pioneers’ lead with another power-play goal as he skated down the right-wing side and fired a shot into the top corner of the net. Logan O’Connor made it 4-0 only 31 seconds later, beating a defenseman on a one-on-one before finishing with a backhander. Less than one (1) minute later, Ryan Barrow added the fourth goal of the period and fifth of the game to make it 5-0 after 40 minutes. Barrow’s goal was his first career goal.

Rudy Junda scored the lone goal of the third period, putting a loose puck between the legs of Christopoulos to make it a 6-0 final. Junda’s goal came on the power play and marked the first of his NCAA career.

The Pioneers finished 3/11 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill. Devin Cooley replaced Jaillet with 4:41 remaining and made three (3) saves.