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Denver, UMD Complete Sweeps as Pioneers Move into First Place

By NCHC, 01/20/18, 11:30PM EST

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CC nips WMU in OT for weekend split; SCSU falls to Minnesota State

Saturday, January 20, 2018 Scores
No. 5/5 Denver 4, No. 15/15 Omaha 0
No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth 5, No. 7/7 North Dakota 2
Colorado College 6, No. 11/11 Western Michigan 5 (OT)
No. 9/8 Minnesota State 5, No. 3/3 St. Cloud State 2


With No. 3/3 St. Cloud State, which entered the night in first place in the NCHC, playing out of conference this weekend, that opened the door for other teams to take over the top spot and No. 5/5 Denver took advantage Saturday night. The Pioneers completed a sweep of No. 15/15 Omaha, as senior goalie Tanner Jaillet pitched his second straight shutout to give DU a 4-0 win, the Pioneers 12th straight victory over the Mavericks. With the win, Denver moved past the Huskies into sole possession of first place in the NCHC. Also earning a sweep on Saturday was No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth, which won its eighth straight game over No. 7/7 North Dakota with a 5-2 comeback win, scoring the game’s final five goals, including three on the power play to extend its unbeaten streak to seven games. In the lone NCHC series to split, Colorado College and No. 11/11 Western Michigan required overtime for the second straight night with the Tigers coming out on top this time as sophomore forward Nick Halloran scored late in the extra session to give CC a 6-5 win. In the only non-conference game Saturday, No. 3/3 St. Cloud State fell to No. 9/8 Minnesota State, 5-2, on Hockey Day Minnesota in the teams’ home-and-home series finale as the sides split their two meetings.

In a déjà vu performance from Friday, No. 5/5 Denver shut out No. 15/15 Omaha for the second straight night, blanking the Mavericks, 4-0, Saturday at Magness Arena to complete a series sweep and move into first place in the NCHC. Freshman forward Jaakko Heikkinen opened the scoring with 1:45 remaining in the first frame, while fellow Finn sophomore Henrik Borgström, who had a two-point night, made it 2-0 late in the second stanza when he potted a rebound. Denver (14-6-4, 8-4-2-1/0 NCHC) made it 3-0 on the power play when junior forward Troy Terry banked in a goal off a Maverick defenseman, while an empty-netter completed the scoring. Senior goalie Tanner Jaillet recorded 30 saves for his second straight shutout and fourth of the season as Omaha (12-11-1, 5-9-0-0 NCHC) outshot the Pioneers, 30-29. Denver is on the road next weekend for two games at No. 7/7 North Dakota, while Omaha hosts No. 11/11 Western Michigan for a pair.

Scoring the game’s final five goals, No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth erased a two-goal deficit to down No. 7/7 North Dakota, 5-2, Saturday at AMSOIL Arena, completing a weekend sweep. With the win, UMD (13-9-3, 7-7-0-0 NCHC) stretched its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1), while winning its eighth straight game over the Fighting Hawks (12-8-6, 6-6-2-0/2 NCHC). Junior forward Shane Gersich and senior forward Austin Poganski staked UND to a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes, but the Bulldogs started their comeback midway through the opening period, cutting the deficit in half. Freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich then took over, scoring two power play goals in a 16-second span in the second period to give UMD the lead for good with his second goal the game-winner. UMD added another power play goal in the final frame, while an empty-netter capped the scoring. Sophomore forward Joey Anderson dished out a career-high four assists in the win, while the Bulldogs outshot UND, 33-20 and went 3-for-6 on the power play, killing all four UND man advantages. Minnesota Duluth plays at No. 9/8 Minnesota State in a rare Tuesday non-conference tilt, while the Fighting Hawks return home to host No. 5/5 Denver in a key NCHC showdown next weekend.

For the second straight night, Colorado College and No. 11/11 Western Michigan needed overtime to decide their game, but the Tigers came out on top Saturday, clipping the Broncos, 6-5, in the extra session as the teams split their series. Western Michigan (13-10-1, 8-6-0-0 NCHC) jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, but the Tigers (10-11-3, 4-8-2-1/0 NCHC) roared back in the second stanza thanks to power play goals from junior forwards Trey Bradley and Mason Bergh less than two minutes apart, both assisted by sophomore Nick Halloran, to tie the game. WMU regained the lead when freshman Paul Washe scored on the man advantage later in the second stanza, but CC freshmen Troy Conzo and Jack Gates each tallied in the third period to put the Tigers ahead for the first time. An extra attacker goal tied the game late for WMU, only to see Halloran bury a wrister off a faceoff for the game-winner in the final minute of overtime as Halloran finished with a three-point night. CC outshot the Broncos, 40-38, in the win, including 3-0 in overtime. The Tigers return home to host Miami for two games next weekend, while WMU hits the road for two games at No. 15/15 Omaha.

In the lone non-conference game Saturday, No. 3/3 St. Cloud State fell to No. 9/8 Minnesota State, 5-2, on Hockey Day Minnesota at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center as the teams split their home-and-home series, with SCSU winning in Mankato back in October. The Mavericks (18-7-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first frame, before the Huskies (14-5-3) got on the board late in the opening period with a goal from junior defenseman Jon Lizotte. The teams then traded goals in a 25-second span in the second period with MSU regaining a two-goal lead only to see junior forward Robby Jackson answer with a snipe to make it a 3-2 game. Zeb Knutson scored his second goal of the game for Minnesota State later in the period, however, and MSU added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the victory. SCSU outshot MSU, 30-26, despite the loss. The Huskies return to NCHC play next weekend at No. 14/13 Minnesota Duluth.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Duluth plays the final non-conference game for any NCHC team this season when they play at Minnesota State to complete their home-and-home series. Next weekend, all eight NCHC teams are in action with four conference series on the slate. No. 14/13 UMD hosts rival No. 3/3 St. Cloud State, No. 7/7 UND welcomes in rival No. 5/5 Denver, No. 15/15 Omaha entertains No. 11/11 Western Michigan and Miami heads west for two games at Colorado College. Seven of the eight games next weekend can be seen on NCHC.tv, with Friday’s DU at UND game only on CBS Sports Network.

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