Another sweep for the University of Denver Men’s Hockey team, as they finished off the Western Michigan Broncos with a 4-2 win on Saturday night at Magness Arena. It was the team’s sixth straight victory.
This game was dominated by the one-two punch of Henrik Borgström and Dylan Gambrell for the Pioneers. They combined for five points — including two of Denver’s goals. The duo really jumpstarted the power play tonight, as they went 3-for-9 on the man advantage.
Borgström got it all started with a goal late in the first period to make it 1-0 Denver going into the intermission. On the goal, senior defenseman Will Butcher picked up the first of his three assists on the night.
In the second, Western Michigan tied it up on a goal at 2:50 by their captain Sheldon Dries. Blackhawks’ prospect Matheson Iacopelli then made it 2-1 for the Broncos at the 9:49 mark of the period.
Later in the second, Jarid Lukosevicius tied up the game for Denver, deflecting a shot by Will Butcher from the point on the power play for his third of the season. This goal gave DU a lift going into the final period of play where they dominated the rest of the game.
Gambrell scored his second goal on the season on another power play for the Pioneers just 2:29 into the third period to make it 3-2 — Butcher and Borgstrom picked up assists on the play. Later in the game, Matt Marcinew received a beautiful pass from Gambrell to go alone on the goalie and give the Pios some insurance with a fourth goal.
Junior goaltender Tanner Jaillet was outstanding once again in net, stopping 21-of-23 shots he faced. With the victory, he sits at a record of 6-1-0 on the season with a 1.72 GAA and .931 SV%.
After the game, DU Head Coach Jim Montgomery talked about his one-two punch of Borgström leading the first line and now Gambrell leading the second line:
“The Borgström line has been very effective, and now Gambrell coming back playing with Staub and Marcinew has given us a second scoring line.”
Montgomery then added that the scoring depth doesn’t stop with just his top two lines:
“And I really love the chemistry on the McLellan line. Now it’s about finding the right chemistry on that fourth line.”
Jim Montgomery’s focus after the game was mainly on how good of a team Western Michigan was, and that Denver beating them like this means it was his team’s best hockey of the season thus far:
“That was our best sixty minute effort of the season. The mental toughness and level of determination we showed were outstanding and I’m proud of the way we played tonight. There aren’t many teams that are going to sweep the Broncos this season — they’re a very good team — so this was a great weekend for us overall and it’s definitely nice to get off to a strong start in NCHC play.”
Shots on goal by period:
1st period: WMU-5, DU-9
2nd period: WMU-8, DU-14
3rd period: WMU-12, DU-12
Total shots on goal: WMU-23, DU-35
Power play chances:
Western Michigan: 1-for-7
Three Stars of the Game
- Henrik Borgström, Denver — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Will Butcher, Denver — 3 assists
- Dylan Gambrell, Denver — 1 goal, 1 assist
What’s Next for DU
Denver will have it’s first ‘bye week’ of the season next weekend, and Coach Montgomery thinks that it “comes at an important time, as players can put hockey aside for a week and focus on school”.
After the bye, Denver will travel to North Dakota to play a two-game series against their top conference rival. North Dakota came into this week at the No. 1 team in all of college hockey, but they were swept by No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth on the weekend. The two game series against North Dakota will be played on Friday, November 12th and Saturday, November 13th.
Pioneers in the Polls
With the sweep of Western Michigan, Denver moves to 6-2-0 on the season, and starts in-conference play with a record of 2-0-0 in the NCHC. As mentioned above, North Dakota was swept by Duluth, so we are likely to see Minnesota-Duluth to jump up to the No. 1 spot in the polls this week, with Denver possibly moving ahead of North Dakota to the No. 2 spot ahead of their matchup with the Fighting Hawks in two weeks.