DENVER — In a rare 11 a.m. game, the Denver Pioneers beat the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, 6-1. Shawn Ostrow had two goals, Ty Loney had three assists, and Sam Brittain made 27 saves.
“We came out, established how we were going to play right away, we had good jump, we had good energy,” said Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky. “Sam Brittain was really good in goal the first two periods. The third period, we played really smart. You don’t want anything negative to happen in the third period, like injuries. I thought we played smart position-wise.”
The game seemed to start slowly, with both teams possibly recovering from the time change and early start. Despite being outshot in the early going, Denver struck first when Scott Mayfield fired a laser wrist shot from the right point that beat Chris Kamal high stick side at 7:03.
Getting their legs under them, the Pioneers struck again quickly when Paul Phillips got the puck in the left circle and fired a shot on net. Zac Larraza, who was in the crease, tipped it low glove side at 12:03.
Denver got a late power play that turned into a shooting gallery. Shortly after Joey LaLeggia hit the post from the right point and Nick Shore’s rocket from the left point went high, Nolan Zajac beat Kamal high glove side with a rocket from the top of the right faceoff circle at 18:44.
“Besides the score, I think you could look past it and see we played really good hockey,” said Phillips. “They played us tough. They came out hard, especially when we got a few goals on them, but even though we put in a lot of goals this weekend, it wasn’t a fluke. It was cuz we were playing really good hockey. We’re playing good hockey at the right time of the year.”
Shawn Ostrow got a pair of goals in the second to increase Denver’s lead to 5-0. Both were similar. On the first, Josiah Didier let fly with a slap shot from the left point, and Ostrow got the rebound down low and lifted it in at 5:24. On the second, Phillips carried the puck up the left boards and circled behind the net, then passed to Ostrow in the crease, who tapped it into the open net at 14:15.
“Loney kind of passed it on me and I thought I could reach it,” said Phillips. “I knew I had Shawn or Zac in front. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure which one it was going to be, but I knew where they should have been and I knew where they were going to be. I’m happy for Shawn.”
Despite having a five-minute power play to start the third, Denver, which rolled four lines through the power play, didn’t score. However, David Makowski made it 6-0 at 11:02 when he ripped a snap shot from the top of the slot.
Tyler Currier spoiled Brittain’s shutout bid at 16:42 when he got a rebound of Blake Leask’s shot off the post and potted it home.
Denver will be home for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, and hosting archrival Colorado College in what should be an intense series.
“We couldn’t have a better match-up than the match-up we have coming next Friday,” said Gwozdecky. “No matter what league you are in, this is going to be a great series. It should be a lot of fun and a lot of energy. We’re probably going to have a lot more interest in this series than we normally have simply because it’s CC-DU.”