Peter Sejna should remember his 100th career game for quite some time.
The junior from Slovakia scored twice, including the eventual game-winner, and Curtis McElhinney kept Denver in check with 30 saves as Colorado College defeated the Pioneers, 6-2, to sweep their home-and-home weekend series.
The contest, played in front of a sellout crowd at the Colorado Springs World Arena, lifts the Tigers’ record to 13-1-2, 8-0-2 in the WCHA. Colorado College extended its unbeaten streak to 14 games with the victory.
The Pioneers, who have lost consecutive games for the first time since the Tigers swept them Feb. 1-2, slip to 12-4-2, 5-3-2 in conference play.
“It’s great to sweep Denver,” said Sejna, who added an assist and was named the first star. “They won the first two against us last year. Now we know how it feels.”
Despite scoring at least six goals in a game for the sixth time this season, it was Denver that dominated play over the opening seven minutes, firing the first seven shots on goal. McElhinney denied a two-on-one breakaway with a glove save 3:15 into the contest, then thwarted another quality scoring chance four minutes later with another glove save.
“We’ve worked on a lot of stuff in practice that has helped,” said McElhinney about his success this season. “Our defense is playing real well in front of the net.”
The Tigers, meanwhile, opened the scoring at the 7:47 mark on their first shot of the game. After a scramble in front of the Pioneers’ net, Sejna came out with the puck and, from his knees, wristed a shot through the legs of Denver netminder Adam Berkhoel.
Late in the first period, Colorado College doubled its lead. In the closing seconds of a five-on-three power play, Tom Preissing took a cross-ice feed from Noah Clarke, and his one-timer from a difficult angle found the top-left corner.
Denver, down two goals despite outshooting the Tigers, 10-5 in the opening period, appeared to get on the scoreboard four minutes into the second stanza. However, Ryan Caldwell’s goal was waved off, as senior alternate captain Greg Barber was whistled for goaltender interference.
The Pioneers didn’t stay scoreless for much longer. Less than four minutes after Caldwell’s tally was disallowed, Kevin Ulanski stole the puck from James Laux behind the Tigers’ net. He slipped the puck to Colorado Springs native J.J. Hartmann, whose backhand went over a prone McElhinney.
Just as Denver appeared poised to tie the contest, Sejna responded for Colorado College. With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, he took the puck at the blue line after a turnover, and fired a backhander top-shelf over Pioneers’ goaltender Adam Berkhoel (19 saves).
Denver hung around early in the final period. After the Tigers’ Joe Cullen notched a power-play goal 50 seconds into the frame to make the score 4-1, the Pioneers cut the deficit to two a minute later. However, that was all the visitors could get past McElhinney, who saved 11 shots in the final 20 minutes to improve his career record to 16-1-3.
“Today was just a good game for me and the team all-around,” said McElhinney. “It’s always nice when the team scores four or five goals a game for you.”