After losing twice on opening weekend, once to Ohio State, once to Boston College, and struggling to get scoring from their top two lines, the Denver Pioneers figured to have trouble heading into this weekend against No. 2 Boston University. The task got taller when it was announced star sophomore forward Dylan Gambrell had gotten hurt and would be unavailable for not only the BU series, but the next four-to-six weekends.
Instead, the Pioneers rallied impressively. Coach Jim Montgomery decided to go with Tanner Jaillet as his goaltender in both games, and Jaillet delivered, making 23 saves Friday in a 4-3 win and following it up with 24 saves Saturday in a 3-1 decision. Friday’s scoring came by committee. Evan Janssen notched two in the second period, including the game-winner, and sophomore forward Troy Terry got his first goal of the season early in the second to give Denver a 2-0 cushion. The Terriers came out firing in the third, getting two goals and closing to within one, but Jaillet stood strong for the last nine minutes to get the win.
Saturday, freshman and NHL first-rounder Henrik Borgström finally got some points, scoring the first goal of the game, as well as his first college goal, just 1:37 into the second on an off-angle shot, and then getting the game-winner with a nifty power-play goal at 10:23 of the third to break a 1-1 deadlock with a quick move from the left circle toward the net, lifting the shot top corner. Borgström also got an assist on classmate Tyson McLellan’s empty-net goal to seal the win. Denver travels to East Lansing next weekend to face Michigan State.
Western Michigan opening strong
Broncos coach Andy Murray would probably be happy to play the No. 20 team in the polls every week, especially if that team is from the WCHA. After sweeping then No. 20 Ferris State to open the season, the Broncos followed with a tie Friday on the road at No 20 Bowling Green and a thorough 8-2 win Saturday in the home end of a home-and-home with the Falcons.
Friday, the Broncos had to rally from two goals down three times. Bowling Green jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first, getting a goal from Mitchell McLain just 48 seconds into the game and then making it 2-0 with a short-handed goal at 3:34. However, Wade Allison got a power-play goal at 18:47. Bowling Green again made it a two-goal game with a power-play strike at 5:48 of the second, but Sheldon Dries answered with an extra-attacked power-play goal at 14:37, but just three minutes later, Bowling Green again scored to take a two-goal lead in the third. However, Colt Conrad scored at 10:18 and Allison got his second of the night on a power play just 36 seconds after to tie it. Trevor Gorsuch made 15 saves in relief of Ben Blacker, coming on after the third Bowling Green strike.
Saturday, Western struck first on a power play, and though Bowling Green tied it up at 15:45 on a five-on-three power play, that was as close as they got, as Matheson Iacopelli scored at 16:34 and Chris Dienes scored a power-play goal at 18:13 of the first, which turned out to be the game-winner. Iacopelli also scored at 58 seconds of the second, and scored a power-play goal on a five-on-three at 5:58 of the third to notch the hat trick. Gorsuch made 18 saves in the 8-2 win.
Western Michigan’s offense is currently ranked fourth in the country, scoring at a 4.75 goal-per-game clip, and its power play is also fourth, clicking at 30.77 percent.
St. Cloud struggles defensively
You knew St. Cloud might have some issue on the back end this year after losing senior defenseman Ethan Prow and starting goalie Charlie Lindgren, who departed early for the pros. However, opening weekend was not kind to the Huskies, who got swept by Minnesota State 4-1 and 6-4. The Mavericks jumped out to a 3-0 lead by midway through the second period Friday night, scoring early in both the first period and second period, with the game-winner coming at 1:46 of the second on a power-play strike by C.J. Franklin.
Saturday, the Huskies again fell behind 2-0 before taking a 3-2 lead by 10:56 of the first. Minnesota State tied it at 2:26 of the second, but St. Cloud again took the lead on a goal by Daniel Tedesco. However, the Mavericks scored three times in a 7:38 stretch on the middle of the second period to take a 6-4 lead, which held up. Freshman Jeff Smith played Friday, giving up four goals on 24 shots, and freshman Zach Driscoll started Saturday, giving up five goals on 22 shots before Smith came on in relief.