DENVER — After falling behind, 1-0, in the first period, Princeton scored four unanswered goals to defeat two-time defending national champion Denver, 4-1, on Friday night at the Denver Cup. Four Tigers scored in the win, including a two-point performance from junior Kevin Westgarth as Princeton defeated the 12th-ranked team in the country.
Denver took a 1-0 lead in the first period off an end-to-end rush by Patrick Mullen. The goal came on the power play and began when Mullen collected a pass from Matt Carle in his own zone. Mullen wheeled up ice and split the Tiger defenders before taking a shot that beat Princeton senior goaltender Eric Leroux to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.
Despite the goal, the team’s played an even period that saw both take seven shots. Princeton had several good chances but was unable to convert and the period ended 1-0 for DU.
The Tigers answered early in the second period when junior Kevin Westgarth scored his third goal of the season. His brother, Brett, cleared the puck out of the Tiger end and it came to a rest just inside the Denver blueline. Freshman Brett Wilson and a Pioneer defender overskated the puck but senior Sebastian Borza picked it up and drove to the net. His initial shot was blocked but Kevin Westgarth pounced on the rebound to knot the score at 1-1 at 1:34 of the period.
The game continued to see-saw with both teams getting good chances, but it was Princeton that found the back of the net next as sophomore Landis Stankievech picked up his second goal in as many games at the 15:32 mark to give Princeton a 2-1 lead. Kevin Westgarth started the play when he delivered a big hit on the blueline. The hit caused a turnover that Westgarth collected and gave to Stankievech on the far wing. Stankievech then backhanded a shot inside the far post that squeezed between DU goaltender Glenn Fisher’s blocker and pads and into the goal.
Denver outshot Princeton, 12-11, in the period but the Tigers took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Leroux made all 12 saves in the period.
Down a goal at home in the third, Denver was unable to muster a comeback as it managed just five shots in the third period to Princeton’s 11. The period also included a five-minute major that Princeton had to kill, but Denver was unable to get a shot off with the man advantage.
Princeton cemented the win with a goal from freshman Lee Jubinville with 3:54 remaining. Jubinville battled his way to a puck in front and put it high over Fisher for his second goal of the year.
Sophomore Kyle Hagel added an empty-netter with 20 seconds left in the game for his fourth goal of the season. Junior Darroll Powe assisted on the goal.
Leroux made 23 saves in the game for his third win of the year.
Princeton will face No. 4 Boston College tomorrow at 7 p.m. MT in the Denver Cup Championship game.