The No. 1 DU Pioneers captured their first regular season conference title since 2010 (WCHA) on Friday night, downing the No. 21 UNO Mavericks by a score of 4-2 at Baxter Arena to earn their 10th straight victory and win the 2017 Penrose Cup. Denver will now officially enter the NCHC Playoffs as the conference’s top seed and host Colorado College in a best-of-three quarterfinal series at Magness Arena the weekend of March 10-12 with a trip to the Frozen Faceoff on the line.
“This is the first of three major trophies for us to win this spring and it was great to get this one with a hard-fought road victory like this,” Pioneers head coach Jim Montgomery said following Friday’s contest. “We weren’t playing up to our usual standard in the first couple of periods but in the third, when the game was on the line, we really stepped up and played solid, Denver-style hockey and that’s what got us the win.”
“It’s obviously nice to be the top seed in our conference heading into the post-season but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. This is a special group we have here and we all know that we’ve got to continue to focus on the process and stay in the moment if we want to reach all of our goals this season.”
Denver took an early 1-0 lead on Friday, with Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) wiring home a high wrist shot in transition to register the 16th goal of his sophomore season in the fourth minute of play. The Mavericks then scored a pair of unanswered goals to go up 2-1, but an even-strength marker off the stick of sophomore forward Logan O’Connor (Calgary, Alta.) late in the middle frame tied things up at two apiece as Friday’s intraconference showdown reached the 40 minute mark.
The Pioneers went up 3-2 early in the third period as freshman forward Henrik Borgström (Helsinki, Finland) tallied a power play marker during a 5-on-3 advantage for Denver. Borgström then struck again midway through the stanza to put the visitors up by two, which was how the game would end.
Denver (25-6-4, 17-3-2-2 NCHC) and Omaha (16-14-5, 9-12-2-0 NCHC) will square off again on Saturday night (6pm MT) at Baxter Arena.
Featured Image Credit: Denver Pioneers Hockey, Twitter