Rizzo nets OT winner in Denver’s 6–5 win over Western Michigan


The No. 4 Denver Pioneers secured a 6–5 win in overtime against No. 13 Western Michigan, resulting in a series split against the Broncos on the weekend. Junior forward Massimo Rizzo scored the game-winning goal 62 seconds into the extra session. Freshman netminder Paxton Geisel made his Denver debut and allowed five goals on 36 shots.

Denver scored three times during the first period. Tristan Broz redirected Shai Buium’s blast from the right circle. Miko Matikka scored the first of his two goals on Saturday on the power play. Sean Behrens added a power play marker with under eight minutes left in the frame. After allowing two goals, the Pioneers took a 3–2 lead into the locker room in a penalty-filled opening 20 minutes.

Matikka potted his second goal 43 seconds into the middle stanza, putting the Pioneers up at 4–2. Western Michigan tied the game with a goal late in the second period and another just 50 seconds into the third period. Jack Devine scored his NCAA-leading 15th goal of the season with under five minutes left in regulation, giving the Broncos a chance to tie the game again with 14.1 seconds left.

However, Rizzo scored the game-winning goal in overtime, curling in tight to the net and burying his second-chance opportunity, ensuring Denver would leave Kalamazoo with a series split.

— Matikka recorded his third multi-goal game of the season, had four goals on the weekend and extended his points streak to 11 games. Could the freshman forward be in line for some NCHC hardware this week?

— Freshman defenseman Boston Buckberger led all skaters with his first three-assist game.

— Shai Buium, Zeev Buium and Rizzo each recorded two assists, with the younger Buium extending his points streak to 12 games.

— Carter King picked up a helper and extended his point streak to five games. The junior forward has 23 points in 18 games this year, matching last season’s point total.

— Devine led all skaters with six shots on net. Rieger Lorenz and Matikka each tallied four shots on goal. Buckberger and Rizzo each had three. King, Behrens, Broz, Zeev Buium and Aidan Thompson all had two shots.

— Denver converted on 2 of 4 power play chances and went a perfect 2 for 2 on the penalty kill.

Up next

The Denver Pioneers (12–5–1) have a couple of weeks off and will resume play with the first of five straight home games at Magness Arena against Minot State in an exhibition contest on Dec. 30.



Center Ice Forums Rizzo nets OT winner in Denver’s 6-5 win over Western Michigan

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