The No. 9/8 University of Denver ice hockey team settled for a 1-1 tie with Colorado College on Friday night before a sellout crowd of 6,065 at Magness Arena.
The draw moves Denver’s record to 15-8-5 overall and 10-6-5 in the conference loop. The tie also allowed the Pioneers to reclaim the Gold Pan Trophy, after watching the Tigers claim it last season. Colorado College now sits at 10-14-5 overall and 7-10-4 in WCHA action.
The Pioneers now reside in fifth place in the WCHA standings each with 25 points, one behind Nebraska Omaha, Minnesota and North Dakota, who are tied for second overall in the conference race.
“I think the opportunity we had tonight to do a little bit better probably was there,” Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. “But with both teams creating all types of chances, taking advantage of miscues by the opponent, I thought the goaltenders were outstanding. You are never quite sure what is going to be the key moment of the game. We scored the power play goal and then the interference, it was the right call, but at that point of the game you hope that is not going to be a major factor. We have to be better on our shot selection, we did not create enough second chance opportunities and part of that is how their goaltender played.”
Both teams came out aggressive in the opening period as each squad spent a significant portion of the frame in the attacking zone while totaling a combined 21 shots.
Denver (15-8-5, 10-6-5 WCHA) broke through and got on the scoreboard with just under three minutes remaining in the period when sophomore Larkin Jacobson (Sioux Falls, Iowa) jumped out of the penalty box and streaked down the right side before beating Tigers goaltender Joe Howe with a wrist shot from just inside the circle, giving the Pioneers a 1-0 advantage.
Colorado College (10-14-5, 7-10-4 WCHA) tied the game at 1-1 at the 10:46 mark of the second period on a one-timer by Jordan DiGiando that beat Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora (Helsinki, Finland) on his stick side.
Freshman Nolan Zajac (Winnipeg, Manitoba) scored what appeared to be his sixth goal of the season just 1:15 into the third period on a slapshot from the top of the right circle, but the score was disallowed after a video review due to goalie interference, keeping the score deadlocked at 1-1.
The Tigers had a chance to take the lead with 6:49 remaining in regulation as Eamonn McDermott got free on a breakaway but was thwarted by Olkinuora who made a sprawling save on his back to turn away the opportunity and keep the teams even.
Denver was outshot for the game 36-34. The Pioneers finished the game 0-for-5 on power play opportunities, while Colorado College came away empty on a pair of chances.
Olkinuora finished with 35 saves, while Joe Howe made 33 saves in net for Colorado College.
Denver won the the overall faceoff battle 42-21. Junior Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.) led the Pioneers on the draws capturing 15-of-23.
Denver and Colorado College will close out this year’s Gold Pan series on Saturday in a 7:07 p.m. (MT) puck drop at World Arena in Colorado Springs. Saturday’s clash will be broadcast live on Denver’s 102.3 FM ESPN Radio.
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