The Denver Pioneers Men’s Hockey team is rolling after a rough opening weekend. The Pios got their third straight victory in game one of their weekend trip to East Lansing, MI to take on the Michigan State Spartans.
The game was dominated by Denver most of the night, even though they couldn’t score any goals until later in the third period. In the first period, DU outshot Michigan State by an 11-3 margin, and in the second period by an 11-6 margin. After two periods, the Pioneers led 22-9 in shots on goal, but the game remained scoreless.
Freshman Henrik Borgström changed that at 5:33 of the third period when he scored his third goal of the season off a pass from sophomore forward Troy Terry. This finally made it 1-0 in favor of DU.
Later in the period — at the 16:25 mark, sophomore Jarid Lukosevicius scored his second goal of the year by beating Michigan State goaltender Ed Minney to make it 2-0 Denver. Borgström registered an assist on the play to pick up an assist on the play. The 2016 first round pick of the Florida Panthers was named the game’s First Star, recording his second multi-point effort in a row (going back to last week). Defenseman Blake Hillman also picked up an assist on the play.
The Spartans got a late power play in the third and combined that with pulling their goalie to force a 6-on-4 attack — on which they scored a goal. But, the Pioneers just proved to be too tough for Sparty to take down on this night.
Despite getting outshot 11-4 in the third period, DU made the most of their chances and came out with the 2-1 victory.
“As a team, we were efficient tonight and that’s what you need to be when you’re playing away from home.”
-DU Head coach Jim Montgomery said after the win on Friday night.
Tanner Jaillet did not face a busy night early on, only having to make nine saves in the first two periods, but he came up huge when it mattered most, making 10 saves on 11 shots in the third period.
“I loved the way Tanner played tonight,” coach Montgomery said. “He was aggressive, he was reading the puck well and his positioning was outstanding all night long.”
On the other side of the ice, Michigan State goaltender Ed Minney was fantastic — stopping 24 shots all night, including 22 in the first two frames, shutting-out DU in the first 40 minutes of play.
It was an ugly win, but a win — and that is what counts. Look for Denver to try and capitalize on more of their chances in game two on Saturday night, as they will want to try and impress the voters and improve on only a one-goal victory against a lesser opponent in Michigan State.
Montgomery went on to comment on how his team can improve on this outing:
“Our first two periods in particular we were strong defensively and made good decisions with the puck. Our offensive execution isn’t where it needs to be just yet but we’re definitely generating scoring chances and that’s a sign we’re headed in the right direction.”
Three Stars of the Game
- Henrik Borgström, DU — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Ed Minney, MSU — 24 saves
- Tanner Jaillet, DU — 19 saves, win
For Borgström, he has five points (3G, 2A) in his last two games, and is currently Denver’s leading scorer with those numbers. When Dylan Gambrell returns from injury later in the season, Denver is sure going to have a dynamic duo in terms of young skilled scorers up front — it should be very fun to watch.
No. 6 Denver and Michigan State face-off in game two of the series on Saturday at 3:07 pm MT. Game can be listened to locally on ESPN AM 1600.