DENVER — Senior forward Chris Paradise and freshmen Matt Weber and Kevin Ulanski combined for six points in the third period and junior netminder Wade Dubielewicz turned away 25 shots to lead No. 1 Denver over Minnesota-Duluth, 4-1, Friday night at Magness Arena. With the win, Denver (25-4-0, 17-4-0 WCHA) clinches home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Junior forward Greg Barber opened the scoring for the Pioneers late in the first period with his 12th goal of the season to give Denver a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. Linemate Kevin Doell set up the scoring chance when he stole the puck from a UMD defenseman and drove towards the net. Bulldog netminder Rob Anderson sprawled lengthwise to block Doell’s shot, but the rebound bounced free to Barber, who skated alone through the crease and chipped it over Anderson.
The goal, Barber’s third in his last two games, was Denver’s first even-strength tally since January 25 against Minnesota.
Ulanski jumpstarted Denver early in the third frame with his fourth goal of the year. Paradise created the opportunity when he chipped a shot on goal from the left side of the net that dribbled through Anderson’s legs and found Ulanski’s stick in the crease for the eventual game-winner.
UMD (11-19-1, 4-16-1 WCHA) forward Matt Mathias tallied the Bulldogs’ lone goal of the game just over a minute later when he beat Dubielewicz on a wide-open shot following a Denver turnover at the blue line.
The resurgent Pioneer offense continued its assault on Anderson throughout the third period and took a three-goal lead late in the game on goals by Paradise and freshman Jon Foster. Paradise, who snapped a four-game scoreless drought with a goal and an assist, recorded a career-high 11 shots in the game and tallied his 10th goal of the season on Denver’s third power play of the night.
For the game Denver successfully extinguished all four Bulldog power play attempts to extend its consecutive home penalty killing streak to 36. In addition, the Pioneers remain a perfect 22-0 this season when leading after two periods of play and held UMD to just 12 total shots in the final two periods. Denver has outscored Minnesota-Duluth 25-7 in the three victories this season and extends its winning streak over UMD to six games.
“We came out and played a tougher style of hockey tonight,” said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. “I thought we played better as the game wore on especially in the second and third periods. Give credit to Anderson, he played well tonight, but we knew that if we could continue to shoot and continue to battle that chances would come our way.”
The Pioneers complete the regular-season series against Minnesota-Duluth Saturday at Magness Arena. The puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m.