Pioneers secure No. 3 seed in NCHC playoffs after Colorado College sweep

  

It was a whirlwind of emotions this past weekend for the Denver Pioneers.  Not only did they face their rivals in the final series of the year, but they also honored four seniors who have meant a lot to the program.  Eric Fear, Tyson McLellan, Liam Finlay, and Michael Davies were honored before the game Saturday in front of a raucous crowd at Magness Arena.

In one of the biggest games of the year, the seniors came up big.  The Pioneers were also under some pressure from Western Michigan who swept Miami and drew pretty close to leapfrogging Denver.

Here’s how things played out:


Game 1

Friday night the Pioneers traveled to Colorado College with hopes of bringing home the Gold Pan.  It was senior night for the Tigers and they definitely made it exciting for the fans.  The Pioneers were dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 44 of 64 draws, and possessed the puck well.  Although there was no score in the first period, Denver tallied twice in the second with an Ian Mitchell shot that went off a defender and a Tyler Ward rebound goal.   But, with five minutes left in the game, CC wasn’t ready to call it quits.

The Tigers went on a four-on-three powerplay, desperate to get back into the game.  They cycled the puck low to high and Grant Cruikshank took a shot from the right circle.  Magnus Chrona made the save, but the rebound went right to Tigers senior Chris Wilke who scored the first goal of the game for CC.  Then with less than ten seconds left in the game, Wilke got a pass in the high slot and nailed the game-tying goal.  Overtime wasn’t enough so the game went to a shootout where Brett Stapley won it for the Pioneers.


Game 2

There was no doubt that Saturday night’s season finale against CC was going to be big, but the crowd seemed to take it to another level.  The student section was constantly chanting and banging on the glass, making it a difficult environment for the Tigers.  Nick Halloran scored first for the Tigers on a breakaway, beating Chrona, but it was all Pioneers after that.  Denver would score five straight goals to beat CC 5-1.  Emilio Pettersen would score his 13th goal of the season, but Michael Davies stole the show with this backhand beauty over Matt Vernon.


What’s next?

Denver begins their road to the Frozen Faceoff this weekend against No. 6 Omaha.  The Mavs are 3-7 in their last ten games, but they do have some impressive wins this season against North Dakota, Arizona State, and Wisconsin.  Omaha and DU only met twice this season in Denver back in January, where they tied both games.  The Pioneers will have to strike first and not let the Mavs hang around or they could steal a game.

Tickets are on sale now for this weekend’s best-of-three series vs Omaha.

Center Ice Forums Pioneers secure No. 3 seed in NCHC playoffs after Colorado College sweep

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