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.

3 thoughts on “Liam Finlay’s hat trick caps Senior Night beatdown of St. Cloud State”

  1. Borgstrom has had more “wow” moments than any other DU player that I have watched. And he’s just one season in. Amazing hands and skating in tight quarters. The play last night was even more impressive than the one tonight. The awesome thing, these plays aren’t empty “showing off.” His poetic weaving around the whole St. Cloud team on Friday culminated in a pass that his teammate should have finished. (Reminds me of Matt Carle weaving through North Dakota in the 2005 championship game to set up Stastny.) The move tonight results in a great and timely goal. Hopefully Borgstrom’s family being at the games this weekend doesn’t mean it’s his last season at DU. He does need to get bigger, perhaps work on his speed. But if he can lead DU to a title this year, I might forgive him for leaving.

    Great weekend for the Pioneers. They are a damn good hockey team, and Monty is doing a fantastic job. Congrats to Finlay on the hat trick!!!

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  2. Comment I heard in the stands was Borgstrom with the goal and assists from Borgstrom and Borgstrom.

    He looked like something from a video game.

    I hope the guys can stay focused.

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  3. This DU team is just jamming right now. You can see the line chemistry on the ice, the way passes go tape to tape, the way the chip passes off the boards are landing in stride to players breaking out, the way the team is winning one-on-one puck battles and moving their feet in all three zones. The distributed Pio scoring is the result of players who know their roles and play the DU puck support system as Monty designed it.

    Great to see Finley get the hattie, too. Finley’s speed and confidence to get to pucks has given the Pios a new scoring threat to give other teams something else to worry about.

    And Borgstrom’s goal was just dazzling. He is the most breath-taking and mesmerizing Denver offensive puck handler I’ve ever seen in my 35+ year of following Pio hockey – you just can’t take your eyes off him whenever he has the puck. I haven’t seen a Pio player generate that kind of dazzle factor since Craig Redmond, the most gifted skater I’ve ever seen in a Pioneer uniform, who put up a jaw-dropping 54 points as a 17 year old freshman defenseman in 1982-83. Redmond was DU’s inaugural first-round pick in 1984 after spending a year with the Canadian Olympic Team and went on to an NHL career.

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