In its first showing since capturing last season’s NCAA national championship, No. 1/1 Denver began its title defense with a 3-1 exhibition win over Lethbridge Sunday night at Magness Arena to start the 2017-18 season. The Pioneers were one of six NCHC teams in exhibition action this weekend, with five teams playing Saturday and DU the lone team to play Sunday. NCHC teams finished the weekend 5-1 in exhibition games.
Denver scored the game’s first three goals Sunday, including short-handed and on the power play in the first period, before the Pronghorns scored late in the second stanza. Sophomore forwards Tyson McLellan and Liam Finlay and junior forward Troy Terry scored the goals for Denver. Three goaltenders combined to make 30 saves for the Pioneers, led by 18 from freshman Dayton Rasmussen. DU outshot Lethbridge, 37-31, in the win. The Pioneers are off next weekend before opening the regular season at No. 8/8 Notre Dame Oct. 13-14.
The other seven NCHC teams are in action next weekend with six beginning the regular season and Omaha hosting an exhibition game on Friday. Seven of the games next weekend can be seen on NCHC.tv.
DENVER – The University of Denver Pioneers used a two-goal first period to surge past the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns in a 3-1 exhibition win on Sunday night at Magness Arena.
Despite going shorthanded early in the game, the Pioneers opened the scoring on an odd-man rush at 4:30 of the first period. Logan O’Connor helped set up the shorthanded goal with a pass through the neutral zone to Tyson McLellan, who finished the play with a toe drag and wrist shot over the glove of Pronghorns goalie Garret Hughson.
Denver extended its lead to 2-0 halfway through the first period when Adam Plant found Liam Finlay alone in the right circle for a power play goal. Jaako Heikkinen had the secondary assist. The two-goal advantage held through the first intermission.
After Tanner Jaillet started the game, freshman goalie Dayton Rasmussen replaced him in the second period and was tested early. Rasmussen helped preserve the Pioneers’ lead with a glove save on a breakaway in the early moments of the frame, then, at 5:30 of the second, Troy Terry put the Pioneers back on the board. Dylan Gambrell and Jarid Lukosevicius had the assists on Terry’s move from the corner to the front of the net.
The Pronghorns scored their first goal of the night at 16:56 of the second period when Brandon Clowes took the puck up the left-wing boards and fired a shot through Rasmussen’s legs to make it 3-1. The Pioneers’ two-goal lead stood through a scoreless third period.
The Pioneers finished 1/3 on the power play and 6/6 on the penalty kill. Denver outshot Lethbridge, 37-31. Jaillet finished with eight (8) saves, Rasmussen finished with 14 and Devin Cooley made four (4) stops in the final 10:18 of the third period.
Denver is set to open the regular season on Oct. 13 at Notre Dame.