DENVER — Senior Chris Paradise recorded two goals and junior netminder Wade Dubielewicz turned away 13 shots to lead second-ranked Denver to a resounding 5-1 win over Michigan Tech on Friday night at Magness Arena. Denver is now just one win away from its first WCHA Final Five appearance since the 1998-99 season.
Sophomore Greg Keith opened the scoring for Denver late in the first period with his sixth tally of the season. Linemate Luke Fulghum set up the play when he chased down the puck floating through the slot and chipped it back in front of the net to Keith, who redirected it by Michigan Tech netminder Cam Ellsworth.
Freshman defenseman Jussi Halme recorded the game-winner, his first career goal, in the final minute of the frame to extend Denver’s lead at the first intermission.
Michigan Tech forward Frank Werner scored the Huskies’ lone goal of the evening late in the second period to cut the deficit in half, but it would not be enough to conquer the MacNaughton Cup champions.
For the second straight period Denver lit the lamp in the final minute to take a two-goal lead into the break. Paradise was credited with his first of two goals after sliding a wrist shot through the five-hole of Ellsworth from the top of the left circle.
The Pioneers, ambitious to put the game out of reach, took a three-goal lead early in the third period. Sophomore Connor James fed Paradise in front of the net to extend his assist streak to three games and register his 23rd helper of the season. With the goal, Paradise joins the century club as a Pioneer with 100 career points.
Senior David Neale iced the game with his seventh goal of the season.
Denver’s defense was impenetrable as the game wore on, and allowed just 14 shots in the contest, the fewest allowed by the Pioneers this year. Both power play units were unsuccessful in two man-advantage tries.
The Pioneers have won six consecutive games against Michigan Tech and have outscored the Huskies 31-10 during that span.
The Pioneers and the Huskies face off in the second game of their best-of-three WCHA playoff series Saturday. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. Mountain time.