Pioneers tie in home opener


DENVER — The Denver Pioneers, who hold the No. 2 ranking, were eager to finally have their home opener after completing their first four road games. After defeating Boston College, Denver had some momentum for Friday night. Several players came in hot having 10 points to their credit already.

First period

The Pioneers scored two quick goals in under five minutes to start the period. The first from Boston Buckberger and the second from Rieger Lorenz. Five minutes later, Jack Devine nailed his sixth goal of the year right off of the face-off. An aggressive offense for Denver led to some quick chances but also led to defensive breakdowns on the other end in front of Matt Davis. The Augustana Vikings would rush the zone and score a bloop goal that went through Davis. In the waning moments of the period, Hunter Bischoff‘s shot found the back of the net, making it 3–2.

Second period

Both the Vikings and the Pioneers would tighten up their defense in the period. This hindered both sides from advancing into each other’s zone and creating more opportunities. The period was an unresolved battle, except for the goalies.

Third period and overtime

Denver extended its lead to 4–2 with a goal from Kieran Cebrian, assisted by Devine. However, the Vikings showed resilience and scored two goals in 20 seconds, bringing the game to a tie at 4–4. Massimo Rizzo scored from the slot to regain the lead 5–4. Then with 28.8 seconds left and on the power play with their goalie pulled, Chase Brand scored for the Vikings to tie it back up at 5–5 and send the game to extra time. The Pioneers could not capitalize on their promising overtime performance, and the game ended in a 5–5 tie.


Friday night’s tie showed some gaps in the defensive game for the Pioneers and their young defensive core.

“Closing plays quicker, getting out of our zone cleaner,” coach David Carle said of the 5-on-5 game. “Managing pucks comes with that. A lot of their transition offense came from us turning pucks over. You have to give them credit. They were coming into our building trying to have their marquee moment, and they did. That’s embarrassing for us in that we allowed that to happen, but we also give credit to our opponent, who was very well prepared and did an excellent job and earned everything tonight as well. We were not ready to the play to the level we needed to for a full 60 minutes. After we went up (2–0), I think we thought it was going to be easy, and give them credit, they didn’t go away. They continued to come and were able to execute and take advantage of our looseness with our puck management and with our rush D and our D-zone coverage.”

If Denver can play a better defensive game, Davis will not have to work as hard to protect the lead for them. The offense is there for sure, now they need to fix the back end.

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