DENVER — Despite firing 44 shots on net, the No. 1 Denver Pioneers had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Miami RedHawks in a hard-fought NCHC battle at Magness Arena. Denver couldn’t solve Miami netminder Ryan Larkin in either the regular overtime, or the three-on-three OT, despite dominating the zone time.
“I thought we did a good job generating chances, and a focus of ours has been possessing pucks, and I thought we did a good job doing that,” said Denver forward Troy Terry. “We did a good job getting to the net. I’ve got to give him credit; he played really well.”
One thing that set this game apart from many recent contests was the lack of penalties; there were only three in the game, one for Miami and two for Denver.
“It was a little frustrating, but it’s not something we can dwell on,” said Terry. “We got one and I thought we had a pretty good power play. It obviously would have been nice to have a couple more. It went both ways; they didn’t have any power plays either. It was a good-fought game.”
“I thought the refs called a good game,” said Denver coach Jim Montgomery. “I didn’t see a lot of calls that could have been made. I thought there were a lot of line calls and pucks being frozen that I guess I have to go back and read the rule back on some of those.”
Grant Hutton put the RedHawks up 1-0 with an absolute cannon of a shot, rifling it top corner stick side past Tanner Jaillet from the top of the slot at just 1:59 of the game.
“I thought we played a hard-fought game tonight,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Denver’s a good team. They’re number one in the country for a reason. They came in waves. I thought we handled ourselves defensively fairly well. We had our opportunities.”
It proved one of the few shots the RedHawks got over the next period and a half, as Denver built up a shot advantage of 25-11 at one point. Larkin stood tall in net until a defensive breakdown led to a Denver goal. Miami defenseman Bryce Hatten got the puck inside the blue line and tried to pass across the ice, but Terry intercepted the shot and streaked in on a breakaway. He deked to his right and beat Larkin five hole at 3:58 of the second.
“I saw him kind of fumble the puck, so he was sort of starting to panic, so I just tried to get on him,” said Terry. “I put my stick in the middle and tried to anticipate it and he put it right on my stick. I thought I had a step on the other D because he was kind of flat-footed.”
Miami regrouped from that, helped in part by two power plays, but was unable to generate any sustained pressure. Meanwhile, Denver had an excellent chance to take the lead after the second power play when Terry picked up a rebound near the right post with an open net, but his shot hit the post.
“There’s a lot of times where we just have to hunker down and finish our chances; my second one was a great example of that,” said Terry. “I had an open net and I have to focus and put that in and not off the post. Just little things like that.”
“When Troy plays like he did tonight, he’s a force,” said Montgomery. “He creates scoring chances for himself and his teammates.”
In the third period, Denver again dominated most of the offensive chances, but couldn’t solve Larkin. Adam Plant had a partial breakaway in the last minute of the game, but his backhand missed wide.
“I thought he did a good job; he made some good saves,” said Blasi. “I thought our D corps and our forwards did a good job backchecking and limiting Denver’s chances. They’re going to get their chances because they’re a good hockey team. Whenever they did, Ryan was there, and it was a good bounce-back game for him.”
“I thought he was terrific,” said Montgomery. “We had a lot of chances where our players were all alone with him and he was very patient, he stood his ground, and he made some excellent saves.”
At the other end, Miami did get some good chances over the last few minutes of the game, but Jaillet made the stops when called upon.
“I thought our third period we had some real good chances,” said Blasi. “We played well in the offensive zone.”
Denver got an extra point in the conference standings by winning the shootout. Denver freshman Henrik Borgström shot first and scored low stick side after a pretty fake. Miami’s Kiefer Sherwood then shot wide.
“When you see the move he made, he flipped the puck and sauced it to himself, he knows what he’s doing when he has the puck,” said Montgomery. “I did think about going with Troy Terry because he had such a great game and he scored our goal, but Henrik in practice all the time gets a breakaway, it’s usually a goal.”
Air Force 5, at No. 18 Western Michigan 5
Three times, Air Force trailed in the game, but rallied to get a 5-5 tie against Western Michigan. The Broncos won a three-on-three OT period on a goal by Aaron Hadley. Goals by Wade Allison and Hugh McGing put Western up 4-2 after one period. Griffin Molino’s power-play goal at 13:02 of the second gave Western a second two-goal lead, 5-3, but Dan Bailey scored at 17:25 of the second, and then Matt Pulver tied it at 14:36 of the third right off a draw in the Broncos’ end. Trevor Gorsuch made 31 saves for Western in the tie.
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth 6, at Omaha 4
Alex Iafallo had a goal and an assist and Carson Soucy notched two assists as Minnesota-Duluth defeated Omaha, 6-4. After Omaha’s Steve Spinner notched his second goal of the game at 6:35 of the second on a power play, Minnesota-Duluth scored four consecutive goals, two in the second and two in the third, with Dominic Toninato’s goal at 9:11 of the second starting the surge. Omaha got two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to pull closer, one on a power play and one by David Pope at 18:35 of the third with an extra attacker. Hunter Miska made 25 saves in the win.
No. 8 North Dakota 4, at No. 12 St. Cloud State 0
Shane Gersich got a hat trick and Cam Johnson notched a shutout with 26 saves as North Dakota snapped a six-game winless streak by defeating St. Cloud State 4-0. Gersich’s power-play goal at 16:46 of the first proved all the offense North Dakota would need. Tyson Jost got two assists, including on Gersich’s first goal and his last goal that made it 4-0 at 18:42 of the second.