MANKATO, Minn. — They had to survive a third period scare, but sixth ranked Denver held strong and with three second period goals knocked off No. 14 Minnesota State, 3-2, Friday night at the Alltel Center.
Sophomore forward Jesse Martin scored two goals, including the game winner, leading the Pioneers to their sixth straight win and continuing their recent hot streak, outscoring opponents 29-6 during the streak.
Guys are played well and were playing as a team, said Denver defenseman J.P. Testwuide. Thats our goal. We want to play together and have fun and thats what weve been able to accomplish thus far.
After a scoreless first period, Denver got on the board first with a goal by freshman forward Joe Colborne at 5:38 of the second period. Tyler Ruegsegger led a 2-on-1 break with Colborne shooting down the slot, and when MSU defenseman Blake Friesen went to the ice to block Ruegsegger, the forward spun around and backhanded a pass to Colborne, who finished the play for his fourth goal of the season.
Martin gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead midway through the second when an MSU player turned the puck over in their defensive zone, leading to another two-on-one, where Martin one-timed a pass from Anthony Maiani at 9:38 to beat Mike Zacharias.
Martin added his fifth goal of the season at 13:26 of the second period on a four-on-four when he took a pass from Maiani after a blown assignment left him alone in front of the net for the Pioneers third goal of the period.
We were fortunate to make a few nice plays and capitalize on a few turnovers, Martin said. Our transition game helped us out with the two-on-ones. Our defensemen moved the puck real well.
With freshman defenseman Patrick Wiercioch in Ottawa at the Canadian world junior evaluation camp, it was a different, more experienced defenseman who moved the puck well for Denver, in Testwuide, who assisted on all three Denver goals, doubling his point total for the season.
I had an easy job, he said. I just had to get it to the forwards and they made excellent plays and got it to the net. When you can get it to the net good things happen.
Clinging to a 3-0 lead with minutes left until the second intermission, the Mavericks got on the board when Tyler Thompson slapped at a loose puck in the slot that snuck over Marc Cheveries blocker.
That late goal was huge, said MSU forward Rylan Galiardi. We were a little down on the bench and it got us going.
The Mavericks made it a one-goal game at 9:19 of the third when Galiardi deflected a shot from Kael Mouillierat for a power-play goal, his fourth of the season.
The Mavericks couldnt convert a goal in the final half of the third period, and were outshot 27-23 in the game.
We realistically played 40 minutes tonight, Galiardi said. The first and third period pretty much cost us the game.
During the second period Tyler Bozak and Andy Sackrison went knee-to-knee along the boards and both were slow to get up. Neither finished the game, and their availability for Saturday is unknown.
Cheverie made 21 saves in net, continuing his solid play.
Hes been playing very well, said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. When the other team has a flurry hes been fighting it off and giving us a chance to keep it even or take the lead at some point.
The Mavericks (8-6-3, 5-6-2 WCHA) and Pioneers (12-5-1, 8-4-1) finish the series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Alltel Center.
It was a big deal for the seniors, Testwuide said of the win. We havent won here in four years, but we need to focus on tomorrow, show up and play well.