DULUTH, Minn. — Behind another solid goaltending effort from sophomore Adam Berkhoel and great offensive efforts from senior Chris Paradise and sophomore Connor James, Denver remained perfect in WCHA play with a 3-1 victory over Minnesota-Duluth.
“We didn’t play all that well in the third period,” said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. “Duluth came very hard. I thought a lot of times they put us on our heels, but Adam Berkhoel played real well. There is no question that I thought Chris Paradise and Connor James had one of their better series this weekend.”
Just 78 seconds into the game, Minnesota-Duluth notched the first goal of the game. Swarming the net, Tyler Brosz collected a rebound and beat Denver sophomore Berkhoel.
The Pioneers (11-1-0, 8-0-0 WCHA) returned the favor less than a minute later on a great play by sophomore defenseman Ryan Caldwell. Caldwell lost control of the puck in the offensive zone, but retreated to center ice where he broke up a UMD pass, chipped the puck forward to freshman Jon Foster and trailed the play into the Bulldog zone. Foster passed back to Caldwell, who sent a shot on goal. UMD’s Rob Anderson made the initial save, but freshman Luke Fulghum was on the doorstep to poke in the rebound.
With 10:38 left in the opening stanza, Denver scored again to take a 2-1 lead. Paradise found James along the left side, and James rushed the puck into the zone as Caldwell jumped into the play and went to the net. James made a perfect pass through a UMD defenseman and hit Caldwell, who put the puck in the back of the net.
The Pioneers extended their lead to two goals in the middle stanza on a nice play by the Paradise-James-Kevin Ulanski line. Ulanski found Paradise in the Bulldog zone, and he held the puck just long enough for James to break to the net for a perfect pass. James chipped the puck past Anderson for his second point of the night.
Minnesota-Duluth controlled most of the tempo in the third period and generated numerous scoring chances, but could not solve Berkhoel. UMD’s best chance to cut into the Pioneers’ lead was with three minutes to play as the Bulldogs had a 4-on-3 power play.
Duluth coach Scott Sandelin pulled Anderson at that point, giving his team a 5-on-3, but Berkhoel and the Pioneers held strong. Berkhoel finished the game with 30 saves en route to his fifth win in six outings.