It was supposed to be a challenge. Could the University of Denver find a way to solve Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen? It was a question the Pioneers answered early and often.
On Thursday, the Denver Pioneers routed the Fighting Irish in their first matchup of the Frozen Four, 6-1.
Controlling play from the get-go. The Pioneers were up 2-0 by the end of the first period, thanks to tallies by senior Austrian forward Emil Romig and leading scorer and Finnish freshman Henrik Borgström.
The second period was more of the same, if not an even more dominant effort by DU. They increased their lead to 5-0, adding goals by Tariq Hammond, a wraparound by Dylan Gambrell and a late tally by Evan Ritt.
The Irish would finally get on the board in the final frame, as Colorado Avalanche prospect Cam Morrison beat Tanner Jaillet to end the goaltender’s shutout bid. Gambrell would tally five minutes later to restore the five-goal lead.
Throughout, Denver showed why they were the No. 1 overall seed heading into the tournament. In total, the Pioneers outshot the Irish 42-17. The complete effort saw 12 Pios with at least one point.
“I’m amazed at the effort our team produced tonight,” Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said afterwards. “To turn in a performance like that on a big stage like this shows what this team is made of and I’m very proud to coach this tremendous group of young men.”
With a national title on the line, Denver will face Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday. The puck is set to drop between the NCHC foes at 6:00 p.m. MT.