DENVER — The University of Denver Pioneers continued their winning ways Friday night, beating the visiting St. Cloud State University Huskies, 5-3.
The Huskies scored the first goal of the game four and a half minutes into the first period. Sam Zabkowicz held the puck in the DU zone and tossed it to Ryan Lasch at the center of the zone who skated it down the far side before cutting in front and slipping it past Pioneer goaltender Marc Cheverie (25 saves).
The first period was tough; 10 of the 20 minutes was on the power play, said SCSU coach Bob Motzko. But, we felt in those 10 minutes of 5-on-5, we actually did some things, but just not enough to sustain anything and we got the lead on a turnover, right off the bat.
The Pioneers tied it up 94 seconds later on freshman Chris Knowltons first career goal. Knowlton one-timed a pass from fellow rookie Drew Shore at the top of the left circle past SCSU goalie Mike Lee (24 saves).
Chris Knowlton positioned himself perfectly, Shawn Ostrow kept it alive, Drew Shore made a great pass and it was an excellent time to score a goal [and] great to see him score his first goal of his career, said Pioneer coach George Gwozdecky.
Denver took a 2-1 lead at 14:46 of the first period when Rhett Rakhshani took a pass from Kyle Ostrow in the high slot and whipped it low stick-side past Lee.
Four minutes into the middle frame, the Pioneers had a goal reviewed and disallowed. Anthony Maiani appeared to have tipped in a Tyler Ruegsegger shot in past Lee, but after a lengthy review, it was ruled that the puck actually went in off of Maianis skates.
However, DU took a two-goal lead for real 2:21 later when Jesse Martin, on the goal line, fired a Ruegsegger pass tough-angle past Lee.
At 9:08 of the period, Martin scored his second of the game, tipping in a William Wrenn point shot past Lee to put the Pioneers up 4-1.
The Ruegsegger line [Ruegsegger, Maiani and Martin] was very effective tonight for us, said Gwozdecky. They did a real nice job and obviously Jesse had two and its nice to see him scoring with a little more regularity than he has.
With 2:30 left in the second, the Huskies narrowed the Denver lead back down to two. Nick Oslund backhanded the puck in front to Ben Hanowski who wristed the puck under Cheveries right shoulder.
Then, just 66 seconds later, a crashing Travis Novak shot a Jared Festler pass past Cheverie to make it a 4-3 game heading into intermission.
The Huskies almost tied it late in third with two chances on Cheveries doorstep that the DU goaltender turned away. However, the Pioneers recovered and turned the puck back down the ice
SCSU almost tied it with 7:09 remaining in the third with two chances on the doorstep. However, right after Cheverie turned those chances away, the Pioneers came back down the ice, with Matt Donovan wristing a shot five-hole past Lee to make it 5-3 Denver at 6:57.
The turning point in the game was Marc Cheveries save and that flurry, where he makes an unbelievable save and seven seconds later, we put the puck in the net in the other end, said Gwozdecky. Its the difference in the game, at least the difference in the third, as the game breaker.
Motzko pulled Lee with 90 seconds remaining to try and pull closer, but to no avail.
You cant give up that many goals to this hockey team, he said. We made an effort to get back and make it a game, but you give up five hockey goals and one was disallowed, that was a tough go.
The two teams face off again Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. Mountain time.