MANKATO, Minn. — When on a streak like the current one the sixth-ranked Denver hockey team is, some scoring might have to come from some unusual faces.
Just like J.P. Testwuide’s three assists the night before, Matt Glasser got in on the action Saturday night at the Alltel Center, scoring a goal in each period for his first collegiate hat trick to lead the Pioneers to a 5-2 WCHA victory over No. 14 Minnesota State in Mankato to complete the weekend sweep. The Pioneers have now won seven straight games.
“With Tyler Bozak (who was injured last night) out, it’s a hard void to fill with the point production,” Glasser said. “Even last night with J.P. (Testwuide), a lot of guys stepped up. It didn’t matter who it was, everybody played their roles and played them well.”
Glasser, a junior forward who had just seven goals in 70 career games at Denver entering the game, scored his first goal at 13:55 of the first period, shoveling a backhand shot from the right circle past Mavericks’ goalie Mike Zacharias for an early 1-0 lead.
As the final minute of the first period ticked away, Rhett Rakhshani carried the puck over the blue line after the Mavericks committed a turnover. Rakhshani passed to Anthony Maiani, who left a drop pass for Jesse Martin, who then lifted a wrist shot past Zacharias for his third goal of the series to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead with just 10 seconds remaining in the period.
“It’s such an emotional boost for us and such a deflating thing for the opponent,” said Denver coach George Gwozdecky. “With under a minute to go you either lose or gain great momentum. You couldn’t ask for timelier goal scoring.”
The Mavericks crawled back into the game just 17 seconds into the second period when a shot off Zacharias’ leg pad shot the puck toward center ice, where Minnesota State freshman Adam Mueller chased the puck down and beat Marc Cheverie over his blocker.
“It was a big goal for us to get back involved in the game,” said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting. “Adam Mueller played very well tonight.”
The Mavericks then tied the game at 8:06 of the second on a power-play goal from Mike Louwerse, his fifth power-play goal of the season.
After Cheverie stopped numerous shots in front of the net, the puck came to the top of the slot, where Kurt Davis one-timed the puck off the pipe, where Louwerse knocked it in from the doorstep.
The tie didn’t last long however, as Denver added yet another last-minute goal, Glasser’s second of the game at 19:05 on almost an identical play to his first goal.
Glasser added his final goal of the evening at 1:12 of the third on a breakaway, sailing the puck over Zacharias’ right shoulder.
“Obviously tonight Matt Glasser was a hero for us,” Gwozdecky said. “Not only did he score three but the timing of his goals was critical for us. It’s great to have that kind of offensive depth.”
Luke Salazar put the game away with a goal at 7:41 for his 11th goal of the season. Salazar skated to the right circle and shot the puck off Zacharias’ left shoulder, where it bounced over the goaltender and into the net.
“He’s played very well for us,” Jutting said of Zacharias. “But tonight he struggled.”
Zacharias finished with 24 saves, and was lifted after Salazar’s goal for Dan Tormey, who made four saves. Cheverie made 21 stops in net.
“I thought we played very well tonight,” Gwozdecky said. “I’m very proud of our guys and obviously very pleased with the weekend sweep.”