Denver loses to Western Michigan late, won’t finish season unbeaten

Photo courtesy Western Michigan Athletics

The top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers lost this evening to NCHC foe Western Michigan by a score of 6-5 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Unfortunately for the crazed fans of the Crimson and Gold, the previously unbeaten Pioneers will not finish the year that way as their record falls to 4-1-2 with the loss.

There were a few bright spots for the Pioneers as Henrik Borgström lit the lamp three times for his first career hat trick. Fellow Finn Jaako Heikkinen found the back of the net for the second time this year. The Pios’ Finns accounted for four of their five goals on the evening, which is an excellent sign moving forward.

As great as the even strength offense looked, the Pios were unable to score on the power play despite being given nine opportunities throughout the game. That will most certainly be a point of emphasis for Jim Montgomery and his staff as they turn the page to tomorrow and work to earn a split with the Broncos.

Dayton Rasmussen was given the start between the pipes ahead of Tanner Jaillet and performed well enough to earn the victory. The issue wasn’t poor goaltending so much as it was sloppy defensive zone play. It’s something that the Pioneers must tighten up moving forward and there’s every reason to believe that they will.

Despite the sloppy play, it still took two goals in the final 1:12 to secure the victory for the Broncos. As disappointing as this loss will be for DU, there is still plenty to hang their hats on. The only consequence of this loss is that Denver will fail to finish the year unbeaten. Aside from that, one road loss in the NCHC is virtually meaningless. It was ugly, but in the end, everything is still ok.

The Pioneers and Broncos play again tomorrow evening in Kalamazoo. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:05 PM MT. You can watch the game on or tune into ESPN 1600AM on the radio and listen.