Petersen Frustrates the Pioneers, Forces Another Denver Tie

For the second night in a row, Notre Dame Fighting Irish goalie Cal Petersen was on the top of his game. The University of Denver Pioneers sent 45 shots at him, but Petersen only allowed 2 pucks to get past him in 65 minutes of NCAA regulation play.

Saturday’s game started very similarly to Friday’s as both teams came out of the locker room skating hard. There was a lot of up and down, scoreless play until Notre Dame’s Thomas DiPauli beat DU goalie Tanner Jaillet top shelf to the stick side at the 5:54 mark.

After that, Denver began to control the play again, but true to Petersen’s form, the Pioneers couldn’t push the puck past him until the 19:06 mark of the 2nd period. At that point, Dylan Gambrell shot the puck off of a player and into the back of the net. After a short review to ensure there was no goalie interference, the game was tied.

Gambrell’s goal was finally the fruit of the 2nd period effort that saw DU dominate play. In the middle frame, DU outshot the Irish 18-3. Throughout the period, it felt like de ja vu all over again. DU continued to send quality shots at the net and Petersen somehow came up with every save.

Finally in the third period, for the first time all weekend, the matchup felt like a real college hockey game: 2 goals were scored. At the 15:52 mark, Dylan Gambrell beat Petersen glove side to give the Pioneers their first lead of the weekend.

Just less than 4 minutes later, at the 19:30 mark, Notre Dame tied the game at 2 when a bouncing puck just made it past Jaillet low to his glove side.

Just off the ensuing faceoff, DU had a great chance to take the late lead, but the puck was shot just off the side of the net. For the second night in a row, Denver and Notre Dame went to overtime.

Throughout the first 5 minute overtime, DU controlled play. As they did throughout the evening, they challenged Petersen with quality shots but again, Petersen wouldn’t let anything get by him.

“You start to hope pucks go in,” DU Coach Jim Montgomery said. “[Petersen] was screened and he catches it with his glove. It’s like he’s seeing the puck as big as a balloon.”

With about 10 seconds left in the first overtime, Danton Heinen clanged a shot off the crossbar. It was DU’s best chance of the first 5 minute frame, but the puck just wasn’t bouncing the Pioneers’ way all weekend.

“Sometimes it’s a game of inches, like all sports are,” Montgomery said. “But you also need to take away the goalie’s eyes and you need to crash the net.”

After a scoreless, eventful, meaningless 3 on 3 overtime, the two teams went to the shootout where the Pioneers came away with the victory. In the second round of the shootout, Trevor Moore slipped the puck through Petersen’s 5-hole to give DU the advantage and Jaillet stoned the Irish attempt to preserve the tie victory.

The story of the night may have been the poor officiating. Time after time, both the linesmen and the referees seemed to miss obvious penalties and offside calls. In fact, after further examination, on the game-tying goal, an Irish player was offside, but the linesman missed it.

Notre Dame was offside as they entered the zone on their tying goal.
Notre Dame was offside as they entered the zone on their tying goal.

Earlier in the third period, at the 3:41 mark, Notre Dame appeared to take the 2-1 lead, but the goal was waved off as there was a premature whistle for a Tariq Hammond cross-checking penalty.

In the end, the Pioneers tied the Irish twice this weekend and, unfortunately, didn’t do themselves any favors in the pairwise rankings. They had an opportunity to take a win and a tie this weekend, and vault themselves off the bubble and into the all important top 16, but their two ties will keep them firmly placed on the bubble.

“Our top end players need to make more plays than they did tonight,” Montgomery said. “It wasn’t a lack of offensive zone time. Sometimes it’s a structural thing which is stuff I give them, but they need to make plays.”

Sure, the officials didn’t help much, but the bottom line is, DU wasn’t good enough to earn a much needed victory on Saturday night. Two ties in a weekend against a top 20 team certainly isn’t a bad result, but it’s not what DU was envisioning when the puck dropped on Friday night.


Dylan Gambrell netted both of DU’s goals on the night to give himself 5 on the season; Danton Heinen stayed off the score sheet yet again without a point; DU’s lengthy streak without a power play goal came to an end in the 3rd period on Gambrell’s second goal; Denver only mustered 5 shots on 6 power plays; ND’s Cal Petersen made over 100 saves over the course of the two game series; Denver outshot Notre Dame 45-25 through the first overtime period; Will Butcher earned an assist on Gambrell’s second goal, his 11th of the season; Denver outshot Notre Dame in all periods but one throughout the series.

What’s Next

1/8 & 1/9
at Nebraska-Omaha
Baxter Arena
6:07 PM both nights
Watch: NCHCtv
Listen: 104.3 FM – Jay Stickney on the call