DENVER — Junior Lessard scored the game-winning goal and Isaac Reichmuth made 32 saves as Minnesota-Duluth blanked the Denver Pioneers, 1-0, tonight in WCHA play before 3,875 fans at Magness Arena. The shutout was the first at home for Denver since Jan. 21, 2000, when Colorado College blanked the Pioneers 2-0. The loss drops Denver’s record to 15-7-3 overall and 5-7-3 in the WCHA. The Pioneers are just 0-5-1 at home in WCHA play this season. Minnesota-Duluth gains the two WCHA points and improves its overall record to 12-8-3 and 8-5-0 in the WCHA.
“We did a lot of things well tonight, especially our mental approach and emotional battle,” Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. “The only thing we are unsatisfied with is that the puck didn’t go in the net.”
Lessard’s first-period goal at 19:39 proved to be the game winner. Lessard backhanded a loose puck in the slot past Denver goaltender Adam Berkhoel for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Reichmuth took over from there for the Bulldogs. He turned back all 19 Denver shots in the deciding third period to get his first WCHA shutout and ninth win of the season. Reichmuth stopped two breakaway opportunities by Connor James and helped UMD stop all nine of Denver’s power-play opportunities.
Berkhoel was the tough-luck loser for Denver, which outshot UMD, 32-19. The Pioneers denied UMD on all three power-play chances in the game.
The Pioneers and Bulldogs will play game two of the series tomorrow night at Magness Arena.