DENVER, Colo. — A six-week absence from the ice did not hurt the game of goalkeeper Wade Dubielewicz.
The senior was as sharp as ever in his return to the rink, stopping 30 shots en route to the seventh shutout of his career. Dubielewicz’s second shutout of the year propelled Denver (13-5-3, 5-4-3 WCHA) past Miami (12-6-1, 7-4-1 CCHA), 6-0, in the semifinals of the Denver Cup Friday night at Magness Arena.
“We were really pleased with the way Wade played,” said head coach George Gwozdecky. “He was efficient, confident and had no wasted movements. His play tonight had a calming effect on the team. If someone makes a mental error they know they have Wade behind them to help recover.”
The first period was a nip-and-tuck defensive war for 19 minutes. The two teams managed 14 shots combined, but only one got past the watchful eyes of either goaltender.
Denver broke through at the 19:43 mark when sophomore Kevin Ulanski put home a rebound off a Kevin Doell shot. The goal came during the Pioneers’ first and only power play of the period.
Denver kept the pressure on during the first few minutes of the second period. The Pioneer defense triggered its second goal of the night as junior Connor James converted a two-on-one break from the left slot off a feed from fellow junior Greg Keith. It was James’ team-high 12th goal of the year.
Denver extended its lead to 3-0 just a 1:44 later on a goal from junior Ryan Caldwell. Caldwell’s shot from the blue line was deflected by a RedHawk and skipped past Burleigh.
Doell scored the Pioneers’ fourth goal of the contest at the 14:09 mark. Using a man-advantage, Ulanski sent a pass across the crease from right to left and Doell put it home.
Doell struck again just four minutes later. After being set up by senior Jason Grahame, the junior made a great one-on-one move to beat Burleigh, who was pulled after that fifth goal.
The Pioneers added to their lead at the 4:39 mark of the third period. Sophomore Jon Foster’s shot from between the circles beat David Bowen.
Denver will face New Hampshire (11-3-2, 6-2-1 Hockey East) in the championship tilt. The white-hot Wildcats advanced to the title game for the second time (1997) after posting their fifth win in their last six games, a 4-2 victory over Clarkson, in the opening semifinal match Friday evening.
Miami is scheduled to battle the Golden Knights (5-9-1, 2-2-1 ECAC) in the consolation game.