Ryan Geris scored one goal and notched an assist, and Beau Geisler added three assists to lead the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to a wild 6-5 win over the No. 9 Denver Pioneers in WCHA action Friday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
With the loss, Denver falls to 17-8-4 overall and 8-7-4 in the WCHA. Minnesota-Duluth improves to 12-11-4 overall and 8-8-3 in the WCHA.
Junior Connor James had a goal and two assists to lead Denver, which couldn’t overcome four separate two-goal deficits. The Pioneers pulled junior goaltender Adam Berkhoel with 2:08 left in the third period, but couldn’t tie the score and possibly send the game to overtime.
“We constantly got beat to the net, got turned and our coverages broke down, which cost us the game,” head coach George Gwozdecky said. “We fought back, but it’s really tough to try and keep fighting back.”
Jon Francisco scored the winning goal for Minnesota-Duluth when he knocked in a Geisler rebound at 13:01 of the third period. Geisler’s third assist of the night gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead.
Senior Aaron MacKenzie scored on the power play at 15:06 to cut the lead to 6-5. MacKenzie’s 10th goal of the season was assisted by James and junior Greg Keith, who recorded his first three-point game with one goal and two assists.
Minnesota-Duluth and goaltender Isaac Reichmuth held on to the 6-5 win after Denver pulled Berkhoel with 2:08 left. Reichmuth made 31 saves for Minnesota-Duluth, while Berkhoel had 25 saves for Denver.
James became the 84th student-athlete in Denver history to reach the 100-point barrier. His assist on Keith’s second period goal was his 100th career point. He joins teammate Kevin Doell as current Pioneers with 100 or more points.
The Pioneers will try for a split with Minnesota-Duluth Saturday night in game two.