After much of the conversation surrounding the matchup between the No. 7 University of Denver Pioneers and No. 13 Boston University Terriers was about how closely matched the two programs were, Denver defied all expectations to win by a shocking 7-2 score.
Coming into the game and once the puck was dropped, the prevailing thought was that DU and BU would play a close, possibly high-scoring game. Through first half of the opening period, the Pioneers and Terriers played closely, if a bit tentatively as they were feeling each other out and gaining their legs.
“I think they definitely outplayed us for the first five to ten minutes of the game,” Will Butcher said. “I think we were kind of nervous to start. They’re a good team and they came out and played hard.”
In the first ten minutes of the game, the Terriers drew two penalties, but were unable to score on either of them as DU goaltender Tanner Jaillet kept all the rubber from crossing the goal line. After Denver killed both penalties off, the Pioneers quickly went on the attack.
At the 13:49 mark of the first period, Blake Hillman opened the scoring as he crashed the net to drive home a shot off of Evan Janssen’s stick. On the rush, Janssen got the puck off a pass from Troy Terry and he shot the puck off of BU goaltender Sean Maguire. Hillman found the rebound and tapped the puck past Maguire’s pads to open the scoring. The Pioneers never looked back.
“We had great puck pressure from our second and third layers ,” captain Grant Arnold said. “We were pressuring, bodying, and reloading. That’s Pioneer hockey.”
Less than four minutes later, the Pioneers struck again. This time, after a BU turnover, Dylan Gambrell beat Maguire with a strong backhand shot from the low slot. Pacific Rim Linemate worked the puck around the back of the BU net before he found Gambrell in the right circle. Gambrell then skated into the slot and sent the puck over Maguire’s shoulder short-side to double DU’s lead, 2-0.
Near the end of the first period, Denver drew a penalty. Even though they couldn’t break through in the first 39 seconds of it, it only took 24 seconds of carry over power play time for Will Butcher to find the back of the net on a great screened shot from the point. 3-0 DU.
“I have to attribute a lot to my linemates,” Butcher said. “Heinen just gave me a bump pass and it kind of just opened up for me. I just waited for the screen to develop and Gambrell had a great screen and the goalie never saw it.
A little over two minutes later, 4th line center Matt Marcinew got in on the goal parade as he finished off a great pass from Jarid Lukosevicius from below the net to make it 4-0. BU changed their goaltender and the rout was on.
Backup netminder Connor LaCouvee was no more sheltered from DU’s onslaught than Maguire was. Before the second period ended, Denver struck again when Even Janssen found the back of the net down low off of a great feed from Troy Terry to make it 5-0 heading into the second intermission. The prevailing feeling throughout social media was that Denver had already won the game at this point.
Denver picked up right where they left off in the third period. Early in the final frame, BU fell victim to their own lack of composure as Charlie McAvoy was issued a five-minute major for charging. Just over a minute later, Brandon Hickey was caught cross-checking and all of a sudden Denver had a 5-on-3 opportunity and could put the game out of reach with another goal.
Butcher answered the call again as he took a feed from Heinen low in the right circle and beat LaCouvee high to increase the Pioneers’ lead to 6-0. The clock didn’t read 0:00 yet, but the fat lady’s singing was heard loud and clear in Denver and Boston.
“We had puck luck tonight,” Montgomery said. “When you beat a team ranked number 9 in the country, you have to have puck luck to beat them by this kind of score.”
“This team’s focus and commitment and focus is at an all-time high,” Arnold said. “That’s what you need this time of year to be successful.”
At the 12:45 mark of the period, BU was able to avoid the shutout as Danny O’Regan beat Jaillet, but not even a minute and a half later, Trevor Moore restored the six-goal lead with a great wraparound look after some great physical work by Nolan Zajac down low. 7-1.
With just 15 seconds left, the Terriers struck again, this time with a goal from Mike Moran, but you could see him fight to hold back tears has he skated toward the BU bench.
15 seconds later, the final buzzer sounded and Denver was on the ice celebrating a well-earned first round victory and began looking ahead to the Easter Sunday matchup with Ferris State, who pulled off the shocking overtime upset of St. Cloud State earlier in the day.
“We want to be relentless and we want to have no regrets,” Montgomery said. “We don’t want to take a shift off. There aren’t many games left and you can’t look too far ahead.”
As a result of Denver’s victory over Boston University, LetsGoDU has decided to host a watch party at The Pioneer for the game against Ferris State. The party starts at 2 and the game starts at 3. This is something you won’t want to miss! Click here for all the details.