Liam Finlay’s hat trick caps Senior Night beatdown of St. Cloud State

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

Freshman Liam Finlay tallied his first career hat trick, Henrik Borgström had a SportsCenter Top 10 worthy goal, and seniors accounted for eight points in the #1 University of Denver Pioneers’ 7-2 beatdown of the #18 St. Cloud State Huskies. Denver is now just one win away from clinching its first ever Penrose Cup, which is awarded to the team atop the NCHC standings at the end of the season.

After St. Cloud gave Denver all they could handle a night ago, the Pioneers came out tonight and dominated the Huskies wire to wire. It was, without a doubt, Denver’s most complete performance of the year. From the moment the puck dropped to the final buzzer, Denver just wanted the win more than St. Cloud and that made all the difference.

To the Huskies’ credit, they kept Denver off the board through the first nine and a half minutes of the game, but Finlay got Denver on the board finishing a great pass across the crease from Evan Janssen…and the rout was on. Matt Marcinew added another goal before the first period was over.

“Everyone is relishing what they mean to our team,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “When you get that, you have special team development.”

It was in the second period, however, that the game got out of hand…and it was all thanks to Henrik Borgström’s heroics:

Watch that 100 times.

“It’s just, WOW,” Montgomery said of Borgström’s goal, echoing the reactions of all 6,227 fans in attendance at Magness Arena.

Now, here it is again, in gif form:

Even though the Huskies answered with a goal a few minutes later, for all intents and purposes, Borgström’s goal ended any hopes of a Huskies comeback. But the Pioneers weren’t done yet. Not by a long shot. Finlay added two more goals, both backdoor, off of rebounds, while Emil Romig and Colin Staub completed the 7-goal offensive outburst.

“I think [Finlay’s] goals were a combined six feet from the goal line,” Montgomery quipped. “He’s going to those areas, he’s making plays. What he’s been able to to do here in the last six weeks and what he’s been able to add to our team, he really makes us dynamic offensively.”

Of course, Senior Night wouldn’t have been complete without some incredible play from the seniors. For example, all three points on Romig’s second period goal were from seniors as Marcinew and VanVoorhis accounted for the assists.

This senior class has meant so much to this program, joining the program as freshmen in Montgomery’s first year as head coach. They’ve grown with Montgomery, they’ve won with Montgomery, and they’ve been instrumental in bringing this program back to the top of college hockey.

“My vision when I got here, was to make this program elite, get them back to Frozen Fours, and create a culture of excellence where everyone thought about the team first,” Montgomery said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors to be my first class to graduate after all four years with me and leave a legacy behind them.”

Tonight, the University of Denver honored their seniors and sent them out of the Magness Arena for the final time in the regular season on a very high note. Finlay may have been the first star of the night, but it’s the Class of 2017 that will be leaving an important lasting legacy at the corner of University and Evans.