photo courtesy of Patrick Green
Back-to-back shutouts and reaching the 100-game milestone is an accomplishment in and of its own. Tanner Jaillet was perfect in leading the No. 5-ranked University of Denver Pioneers to a 4-0 victory over the No.15-University of Omaha (UNO) Mavericks while Troy Terry and Colin Staub each scored in their 100th contest on Saturday, Jan. 20.
“Our collective intensity and urgency is back,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said.
The Mavericks’ (12-11-1, 5-9-0 NCHC) dynamic offense didn’t hold back from testing DU goalie Tanner Jaillet, but Jaillet denied the attempts. The senior from Red Deer, Alberta recorded his second-consecutive shutout and 13th win of the season.
“His performance tonight was spectacular,” Montgomery said. “Last night I thought he had to manage the game, tonight he had to go out and pretty much steal the game the first 30 minutes until the rest of our team got their legs and intensity going.”
After dropping a devastating 5-0 loss to DU on Friday night, UNO took to the ice energized. The Mavericks controlled the puck for the first period and held an 11-6 shot advantage.
“We went over video this morning,” Jaillet said. “I was pretty much expecting them to throw more pucks at the net. Last game they had a couple rush opportunities. They’re a good rush team, but I though our d-men did a good job controlling the rushes and were able to clear any rebounds that I gave out.”
After combating the feisty UNO offense displayed during the opening frame the Pioneers (14-6-4, 8-4-2 NCHC) held a 2-0 goal lead entering the third period.
Troy Terry insured the Pioneers the win. The Denver, Colo. native would score his 10th goal of the season and third of the evening.
On the powerplay Terry drilled a short-side feed from junior forward Dylan Gambrell that ricocheted off of the skate of a UNO defenseman.
With two minutes remaining in regulation, the Mavericks pulled Weninger. Staub found himself at the left point and aimed his shot on frame to extend Denver’s lead to four.
“This junior class has been a special class. They just continue to help us win games,” Montgomery said. “Whether it’s [Dylan] Gambrell or Luko [Lukosevicius], it’s Terry, it’s [Logan] O’Connor, it’s [Blake] Hillman. It’s a special class. They’ve done a great job and we’ve started to see more and more leadership down the stretch.”
With the team collectively buying into the details and process orchestrated by Montgomery, the Pioneers are looking to maintain their momentum. With a difficult challenge of traveling to Grand Forks, North Dakota to play a series at one of college hockey’s most dedicated and engaged fan base.
“That’s probably the best rink to play in college,” Jaillet said. “It’ll be a fun, it’ll be a hard test. We’ll prepare this week and get ready to go there.”