DENVER — The University of Denver Pioneers were held to 0-for-7 on the power play and were unable to overcome a 3-0 first-period deficit in a 6-2 loss to North Dakota tonight in front of 6,140 fans at Magness Arena.
DU (18-13-2, 15-8-2 WCHA), which entered its game against the Fighting Sioux with the nation’s fourth-best power play, was held without a power-play score for the second consecutive game and lost its third contest in a row.
Pioneers sophomore left wing Tom May notched the second multiple-point game of his career with one goal and one assist. Senior left wing Gabe Gauthier scored his 14th goal of the year while junior defenseman Matt Carle, a Hobey Baker Award candidate, added to his WCHA-leading assist total with his 37th of the season.
DU sophomore goaltender Peter Mannino, starting consecutive games for the first time all season and making his first series-opening start of the year, posted 25 saves in taking the loss. Jordan Parise made 21 saves for the Fighting Sioux (21-13-1, 14-11-0 WCHA), who finished 1-for-6 on the power play and were led by three assists from Drew Stafford.
“Obviously North Dakota scoring three goals in the first period was a critical part of the game,” said DU Head Coach George Gwozdecky, who was ejected from the game at 8:58 of the third period for disputing a non-call. “We’ve got to be more patient on the power play, and when there’s land open, we need to take advantage of it.”
North Dakota scored the game’s first goal during four-on-four play early in a physical opening period. Opting to keep the puck streaking down the right side on a two-on-one, UND center Jonathan Toews ripped a shot over Mannino’s right shoulder at 2:42 of the first period to give UND a 1-0 lead.
A Pioneers penalty expired as a result of Toews’ goal, but DU was unable to capitalize on the nearly four minutes remaining on a power play stemming from a five-minute game-misconduct penalty. DU totaled only two shots through the game’s first 10 minutes, and the Fighting Sioux went ahead 2-0 a short time later on Mike Prpich’s score off a rebound in front of the net at 11:37 of the first period.
T.J. Oshie extended the Fighting Sioux’s lead to 3-0 at 16:32 of the first period, poking the puck free at center ice and skating in for a breakaway goal. Denver, which headed into the first intermission trailing 3-0, was held scoreless in the opening period at home for only the third time in its 15 games played at Magness Arena this season.
After totaling only one shot through the first 13 minutes of the second period and failing to score on two power plays, DU netted its first goal in the final minute of the period. Gauthier took May’s pass from behind the net and skated into the slot, where he fired a wrist shot past Parise at 19:11 of the second period to trim DU’s deficit to 3-1.
UND went ahead 4-1 on Ryan Duncan’s power-play goal at 1:04 of the third period. May appeared to bring the Pioneers back into the game with a goal a little more than two minutes later, but UND regained its three-goal lead on Toew’s second goal of the game at 8:17.
The Fighting Sioux added their sixth goal on Andrew Kozek’s score at 16:53.
DU returns to action Saturday night at Magness Arena to wrap up its weekend series with North Dakota. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. MST.