Pioneers take first game of NCHC playoffs vs. Colorado College

The No. 1 DU Pioneers opened their 2017 postseason in winning fashion on Friday night, downing the Colorado College Tigers by a score of 4-1 at Magness Arena to take a 1-0 lead in the teams’ best-of-three opening round NCHC Playoff series. Denver has now won 12 straight games which is tied for the fifth best single-season mark in program history. The Pioneers have also now won their last 13 head-to-head matchups with the Tigers by a combined score of 52-19.

“I really liked the way we played tonight,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said following Friday’s home victory. “Our effort and execution were both very good and we did a great job of managing the puck in all three zones. When those elements are in place you tend to have success which was the case tonight.”

After a scoreless opening period, the Pioneers took a 1-0 lead early in the middle frame when Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) buried a close-range wrist shot to register the 17th goal of his sophomore season. A power play marker off the stick of freshman forward Liam Finlay (Kelowna, B.C.) then put the hosts on top by two a few minutes later.

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman (Elk River, Minn.) gave the Pios a 3-0 lead in the 29th minute of play, taking a nice feed from Terry on the fly into CC territory and wiring home the first goal of his season. The Tigers responded shortly thereafter, with Westin Michaud scoring on a one-timer to send Friday’s intrastate playoff showdown into its second intermission with the home team leading by two.

The Pioneers’ three-goal lead was restored by senior forward Matt Marcinew (Calgary, Alta.), who deposited a  picture-perfect feed from fellow Canuck Jarid Lukosevicius (Squamish, B.C.) to the back of Colorado College’s net during a DU power play at the 12:36 mark of the third period. Marcinew’s tally proved to be the final offense either team would generate on the evening as the Crimson & Gold ultimately took the decision by a 4-1 final.

Denver (27-6-4) and Colorado College (8-23-4) will meet for Game 2 of this series on Saturday (7pm) at Magness Arena. A win in this game will secure DU a berth in the 2017 Frozen Faceoff.

Featured Video Credit: Denver Pioneers, YouTube

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