DENVER — Senior forward Chris Paradise netted two goals and sophomore netminder Wade Dubielewicz turned away 26 shots to lead third-ranked Denver to an electrifying 2-1 win over No. 5 UMass-Lowell in the championship of the Wells Fargo Denver Cup Saturday night at Magness Arena.
Denver, with its fifth straight win, improved to 16-2-0 overall on the season and 5-1 against non-Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes. UML’s school-record nine-game winning streak ended with the loss as the Pioneers handed the River Hawks their first nonconference loss, dropping them to 13-3-0 on the season.
Denver also improved its Cup record to 16-3-1 and defended its title after winning two straight, the Pioneers’ eighth overall in the tournament’s 10-year history.
UMass-Lowell took advantage of an early break and capitalized to take a 1-0 lead late in the opening period with a shorthanded goal by Ed McGrane, his eighth of the season. McGrane stole the puck from Denver in the offensive zone and skated alone towards the net before chipping a shot over the stick of Dubielewicz.
Seconds later, UML goalie Cam McCormick was whistled for an infraction, which resulted in a two-man advantage for the Pioneers. Denver regrouped and netted the equalizer when Paradise wristed a shot from the left circle over McCormick’s glove, his sixth tally of the season.
The Pioneers took the lead five minutes into the second frame on Paradise’s second marker of the night. Paradise took control of the puck in the offensive end and skated through the slot before sliding a shot under the leg of McCormick to put Denver ahead 2-1.
“This game played out exactly as I had predicted,” said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. “UMass-Lowell was as good a team as we have seen all year. We were able to use our quickness and speed to create scoring chances, which they were unable to find an answer for.
“I thought that our seniors played a terrific game, something that we needed to have against an experienced and talented team such as UMass-Lowell.”
For the game Denver outshot the River Hawks 29-27 and tallied one goal in seven man-advantage opportunities, while UML was held scoreless in all five of its power-play tries.
The all-tournament team consisted of forwards Greg Barber (Denver), Greg Day (Bowling Green) and McGrane; defensemen Aaron Mackenzie (Denver) and Peter Capouch (Harvard); and goaltender Will Crothers (Harvard). Barber, who scored the winner Friday and assisted on another goal, was named tournament MVP.