For the second straight night, the No. 1 University of Denver Pioneers and Miami University Redhawks skated to an official draw. Regulation and overtime finished at Magness Arena with the score tied at 2-2 on Saturday night, after the two teams tied 1-1 on Friday night. The Pioneers are now 7-0-3 in their last ten games and have an overall record of 8-2-2 on the season.
After regulation and the normal 5-on-5 overtime, a 3-on-3 period was played followed by another sudden death shootout, in which the Pios won on a goal from sophomore Dylan Gambrell. Just as they did on Friday night, Denver earned the extra NCHC standings point by winning the shootout. In NCHC play, the Pioneers are now 3-0-3-2 which gives them 14 points — good enough for second place in the conference standings, seven points behind Minnesota-Duluth (21 points) who swept Omaha on the weekend.
Just about four minutes into Saturday night’s contest, Gambrell scored his third goal of the season on a power play to give DU an early 1-0 lead — the goal was assisted by Will Butcher and Troy Terry.
Miami was able to equalize the game at 1-1 early on in the second period on a goal from freshman forward Willie Knierim, but Denver re-captured the lead when Troy Terry scored his second goal (unassisted) of the weekend at 14:03 of the period. DU led 2-1 after Terry’s fifth goal of the season.
Later on, Miami tied the game up again as Ryan Siroky scored the 15:51 mark of the third — the game went into overtime tied 2-2.
Tanner Jaillet got the start in goal for DU once again, stopping 24-of-26 shots faced — his record on the season now stands at 7-1-3, and he holds a 1.61 goals-against average and .935 save-percentage.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice was freshman Ryan Larkin in goal once again for the Redhawks — who was outstanding this weekend. Denver had a hard time putting a lot of goals past the freshman in the two games, as after making 38 official saves in Friday nights game, Larkin made 49 in the tie on Saturday night. His weekend at Magness is reminiscent of Cam Johnson’s amazing performance last season when Notre Dame came into Denver and tied the Pioneers on back-to-back nights.
“Our team competed hard this weekend but the bottom line is we need to score more goals. We’ve to get a lot better at capitalizing on our scoring chances and making better decisions with the puck. It’s disappointing not to get a win this series but full credit to Miami – they showed great resolve and stuck to their game plan much better than we did. Hopefully our group learned something from them.”
-Denver head coach Jim Montgomery said following Saturday’s tie
As mentioned above, Denver is seven points behind Duluth in the NCHC standings, but will play four games while Duluth has the next two weeks off. The Bulldogs next games on the schedule are on December 9th and 10th against Denver. The Pioneers will play Air Force and Wisconsin next week, and then a two game home-and-home set against in-state rival Colorado College the first weekend in December. If Denver can start scoring some more goals next weekend, they have a great chance at catching Minnesota-Duluth in the NCHC standings ahead of their big showdown with them next month.
Denver came into the weekend ranked No. 1 in the country in both national major college hockey polls, but it will be interesting to see if they hold that spot after skating to these two ties against the bottom team in the NCHC standings.