Tanner Jaillet outduels a rumbling Buffalo as Denver shuts out Dartmouth in defensive struggle

Photo courtesy Shannon Valerio, DU Athletics

On paper, the #2 University of Denver Pioneers have one of the country’s best offenses. With the likes of Troy Terry, Henrik Borgström, and Dylan Gambrell leading the offense, it’s hard to imagine Denver scoring just one goal in any game. But that’s what happens when a team runs into a Buffalo, specifically Dartmouth’s goaltender, Devin Buffalo. Fortunately, one goal was enough for the Pioneers to secure the 1-0 shutout.

The Pioneers were held to just one regulation goal for the second straight game. Last weekend, Colorado College’s Alex Leclerc limited a high-flying Pioneers team to a single goal through 60 minutes of hockey and tonight, Buffalo took a page out of Leclerc’s playbook and kept the Pioneers at bay, giving up a lone power play goal to Jaakko Heikkinen late in the 2nd period.

But, when you have the reigning Mike Richter Award winner between the pipes, sometimes one goal is enough to get the job done. Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet just outplayed Buffalo and it was enough as he kept all 23 Dartmouth shots out of the net.

“I think Tanner is getting into a groove right now,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said of his goalie’s performance. “Five games in a row now. The game against [CC] that he gave up four, I couldn’t blame him. He’s really seeing the puck well and you can really hear him talking in our D-zone.”

Denver didn’t exactly play poorly offensively, but it was a combination of good Dartmouth defense, a bit too much offensive patience. and a career game from Buffalo that kept the Pioneers from lighting up the scoreboard. They still had 32 shots on goal and ended the game with 65 shots attempted.

“We don’t shoot pucks quick enough,” Montgomery said. “It’s hold on, hold on and then look to make the perfect shot. We don’t have to make the perfect shot. If a goalie makes a mistake, it’s in the net and our players need to realize that quicker releases are either going to go in the net or create rebounds that allow someone else to score.”

However, sticking to that gameplan still may not have led to much success for the Pioneers on this night. Not only was Buffalo strong throughout the night, Dartmouth’s defense clogged the middle of the ice and played extremely well in front of their stalwart goalie. Denver had little trouble breaking out, but once they entered Dartmouth’s zone, they had trouble setting anything up in the middle. The Big Green were able to get sticks in passing and shooting lanes to keep the Pioneers frustrated all night long.

Heikkinen’s goal was the result of a rare opportunity in the low slot. Kohen Olischefski passed the puck from the left boards to Colin Staub below the net where he immediately found Heikkinen in the low slot. Heikkinen then hammered the puck past Buffalo to complete the tic-tac-toe play and break the scoreless tie.

“I thought [Dartmouth] did a really good job,” Montgomery said when asked about the Big Green’s defensive effort. “I thought watching film that they were a much superior team than their record showed. Obviously getting good goaltending like they did tonight helps a lot.”

Denver played an overall good game of hockey. They cycled the puck well and they were doing most of the little things that are characteristic of a top-ranked team, but they ran into another hot goalie. A good defensive effort and a heroic performance between the pipes was the difference for the Crimson and Gold this evening and in the end, the Pioneers earned their 10th victory of the still young season.

5 thoughts on “Tanner Jaillet outduels a rumbling Buffalo as Denver shuts out Dartmouth in defensive struggle”

  1. Hat’s off to the Dartmouth team. Ranked lowly in the national scene, the team came into Denver and held their own with the Pios all night long. They hustled, trapped, skated, goaltended and played like a team that looked like all the other teams DU plays each week in the NCHC Meatgrinder.

    As for the Pios and their fans, a flat DU start and Dartmouth’s high effort level melded the game into a nail-biter all night long. DU got better as the game progressed, but with Troy Terry and Henrik Borgstrom mired in scoring slumps (and the rest of the team not scoring much, either, the atmosphere was quiet and pensive all night. But despite the trap game possibilities, DU prevailed, as the Pios should. Tanner was Tanner, and the Pios took the dub.

    One other interesting (and disturbing) aside – some 50-60 year old Dartmouth fans decided to accost the DU students who display the whiteboard every game as they were leaving the student section, ripping away the board and damaging the board, and aggressively pushing a DU student in the process. I’ve heard Argus is aware of the situation and will do more to protect those kids, who are just having fun, supporting their team and enjoying their right to college humor. As for the the Dartmouth fans who assaulted our fans – shame on you. It was bush league, not Ivy League…

    Let’s hope the Pios can score some more goals tonight and close out the sweep before a much needed holiday break. And that the Dartmouth fans can stay out of our student section.


  2. It wasn’t easy, but a win’s a win. Credit Dartmouth–those guys came to play. As Monty said, they look better than their record indicates. They had a decent forecheck, worked hard in the corners, were effectively physical, did a decent job slowing down DU’s speed, and got a very good effort from Buffalo. Solid looking team.

    My concerns about this series materialized right away. DU looked flat out of the gate and had a lackluster 1st period. They played better as the game went on, but I didn’t see a whole of relentless hockey overall. I’d like to see a better forecheck tonight and more pressure put on Dartmouth to defend. Monty’s comment about guys holding the puck too long and not shooting quickly enough were spot on. Still, can’t complain too much about a shutout.

    I liked what I saw of Fear last night. He looked more confident and comfortable with the puck and better on his skates. He’s a big body–would love to see him earn more playing time.

    The sled hockey exhibition between the 2nd and 3rd was really cool. Great to see ol Gabe back out on the Magness ice. That was worth the price of admission by itself.

    I didn’t see any of the whiteboard incident. Only a grade A dipshit would feel the need to ruin something like a whiteboard. Those jerk-offs from Dartmouth should be embarrassed.


  3. 8th regular season home game this year in mid-December and the crowd was an embarrassment last night. DU’s been (not) selling tickets since this summer to the #1 or #2 team in the country and the place was dead. They knew since the schedule was announced that it was winter break and they did squat to promote the game. Monty call out the fans again in his post-game interview?


  4. I don’t think it was a lack of tickets sales last night – I think it’s a matter of already sold tickets sitting in desk drawers unused and seats going empty. People are doing holiday stuff and seeing DU play out of conference opponents is not high on their list. Personally, I like seeing DU play OOC teams, especially well known colleges like Dartmouth, but the crowd would have been much better if this game was in October.


  5. What kind of D-bag D-Mouth fans would be so upset as to accost a DU fan? I mean, were they just shocked and outraged that their nobody-hockey-team lost to the best team in the country? Disconnect….


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