Photo courtesy DU Athletics
Henrik Borgström, the artist, only had one goal all night, but it was the one that mattered most for the top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers. With 1:16 left in overtime, Borgström took a Troy Terry pass and wristed it under #18 St Cloud State University goalie Jeff Smith’s right arm to give the Pioneers a key 4-3 victory to reclaim 1st place in the NCHC.
Borgström was so close to finding the back of the net all night, but he just couldn’t find the scoring touch. Time and again, it seemed his teammates found him alone in the slot with time and his shots either went just wide or Smith made the save. It was odd for Borgström to struggle like that in front of Smith.
“I felt pretty good there after my goal,” Borgström said after the game. “I had like 10 chances and I didn’t bury one until the end.”
“He was pretty frustrated because he had a couple opportunities that usually he doesn’t miss,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery added. “The frustration was wearing on him, so for that one to squeak through, I think you could tell by his celebration how excited he was.”
It wasn’t just Borgström tonight that shined for Denver, though. Dylan Gambrell had two markers and Troy Terry opened the scoring barely three minutes into the game. Over the past few weeks, Denver has won consistently because they’ve gotten production from all of their lines. Tonight, the stars shined and Borgström added the exclamation point.
“Our four best players were our four best players and when that happens, you see good things happen,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “They were all dynamite tonight. [SCSU’s] players were their best players.”
Borgström wouldn’t have had to be the overtime hero, though, if St Cloud hadn’t scored with 2:22 left in regulation on a scramble in front of DU’s net. It appeared that DU goalie Tanner Jaillet had made the save, but somehow he never held onto it and it leaked through him and across the line to tie it at 3.
“I thought that we played a really good game and I thought we were resilient,” Montgomery said. “When that goal goes in with 2:22 [left], usually teams sulk like ‘we’re 2:22 away from winning the game.’ We were like, let’s just go right back at them. They maybe had one shot after [the goal] and we had probably six to eight.”
The game was deceptively close. It looked like it was an evenly matched game as SCSU was matching Denver rush for rush, but the Pioneers outshot the Huskies 35-22 in regulation and 38-23 overall.
Colorado native and Colorado school killer, Mikey Eyssimont led the charge for St Cloud, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the first period. Denver will have to keep him quiet tomorrow if they want to keep it from being as close as it was tonight.
“I thought Eyssimont was incredible tonight,” Montgomery said. “I wish the previous staff had committed him.”
The stars aligned tonight and Denver escaped with a much-needed NCAA regulation victory. Regardless of how close it ended up being, Denver is back in first place in the NCHC and atop the Pairwise rankings with three regular season games to go.