St. Cloud, MN – Denver goaltender Devin Cooley’s head had to have been spinning this weekend. Having played only three games last season he was thrown into the starting role and has played in every game. However, this weekend vs the #2 ranked Huskies it must have felt like a “Baptism of Fire” facing 80 shots in the series by a relentless SCSU attack that ended up sweeping the previously undefeated and #5 ranked Pioneers. Cooley did his best to shut down the Huskies making loads of impressive saves as the defense continually melted down in front of him. But, to his credit, he kept both games close losing both by the identical score of 4-3. And, in both games, it was the Huskies that had to rally from a two-goal deficit to capture the sweep. It’s now four straight come from behind wins for the Huskies who improved their overall record to 9-1-0 and NCHC record to 4-0-0.
For Denver, as expected, the Pioneers came out hard, seemingly desperate to gain an early lead in this contest. Their start was certainly effective putting the Huskies on their heels for a bit and attempting to throw a lot of rubber at SCSU goaltender David Hrenak. It certainly worked as the Pioneers gained an early lead on a goal by Cole Guttman, the former SCSU commit that was a thorn in their side all weekend. Defenseman, Les Lancaster carried the puck into the SCSU zone wide right and spotted Guttman in the slot feeding him perfectly for a one-time tapper and a 1-0 Pioneer lead. It was a great play by both players but admittedly also a missed assignment to have Guttman that wide open in the slot. DU extended their lead to two goals on another nice play by Liam Finlay with assist to Brett Stapley at 15:14 of the period. Stapley was left to circle behind the SCSU goal and found Finlay charging to the net and he one-timed an accurate pass past Hrenak for a two-goal lead. But, as they did all weekend, the Huskies responded quickly with a goal by Nick Perbix (Walker | R Poehling) just 37 seconds later to close the gap to one goal. Perbix took what appeared to be a harmless wrist shot low on the ice that trickled through the pads of Cooley for his first collegiate goal. After a slow start to the period the Huskies began to get their feet moving and ended up outshooting Denver 14-9 in the period.
The Pioneers got themselves in trouble early in the second period with a five-minute major called on freshman forward Jared Resseguie for kneeing. It was just what the doctor ordered for the Huskies as Blake Lizotte (R Poehling | Schuldt) scored to knot the game at 2-2 within a minute of the man-advantage. Poehling carried the puck around the rear of the goal and fed Lizotte who was in the slot and tapped it past Cooley for the game-tying goal. A series of penalties then had the Huskies on the power play again and this time it was Easton Brodzinski (Jackson | Schuldt) scoring his 5th goal of the season at 14:21 for the Huskies first lead of the game at 3-2. Schuldt slid a pass to Jackson who found Brodzinski who was stationed between the dots who simply had to deflect it past Cooley for the one-goal lead. But, it was Guttman again who gave the Pioneers life with a goal, his third of the weekend at 17:38 of period two. Jared Resseguie placed a short pass on Guttman’s stick and he wristed it from high in the slot past Hrenak’s stick side to tie the game once again. And, despite outshooting the Pioneers 16-3 in the period and 30-12 in the game up to that point still found themselves tied with Denver who converted three times on 12 shots on goal.
SCSU continued to step up their forecheck in period three forcing the Pioneers to dump the puck out of the zone to relieve what seemed like a never-ending attack. The Huskies did score on one of these attacks as Kevin Fitzgerald netted his third goal of the season at 9:07 of the period. Jack Ahcan carried the puck wide left into the zone, circled the back of the net and fed Fitzgerald between the dots and he wristed a high shot past Cooley who appeared to have been screened on the play. Once again, the Huskies had a one-goal lead at 4-3. The balance of the period saw a flurry of penalties – six to be exact that probably worked to the Huskies advantage disrupting any kind of flow for the balance of the game for the Pioneers. SCSU outshot Denver 11-6 for the period and held on for the 4-3 win.
For the game, SCSU outshot Denver by a huge margin of 41-18. DU’s Devin Cooley was very busy turning aside 37 of 41 SCSU shots on goal. Cooley took the loss and saw his record dip to 5-2-1. The Huskies David Hrenak saw a total of 18 shots allowing 3 goals. However, he still earned a win and improved his undefeated record to 7-0-0. There were 14 penalties called in the game – 8 on the Pioneers and 6 on the Huskies. SCSU was 2/9 on the man-advantage and Denver was 0/3. SCSU had the advantage in faceoffs 38 to 26 and there were 12 blocked shots on each side.
Jimmy Schuldt and Ryan Poehling each had a multiple point game with two assists.
Stars of the Game – #1 Fitzgerald (SCSU) #2 Brodzinski (SCSU) #3 Guttman (Denver)