Denver opens 2018-2019 with a sloppy 6-4 exhibition win over Alberta Golden Bears

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Sophomore Ryan Barrow (#18) had a key third-period goal for Denver to send the Pioneers ahead 5-3 en route to a 6-4 exhibition win over the University of Alberta (Photo: University of Denver)

In an exhibition game that featured 10 goals, 15 power plays and 74 shots on goal between Denver and the University of Alberta, it’s pretty hard to draw many meaningful conclusions beyond the 6-4 Pioneer victory in a scrambling and at times, very sloppy exhibition opener.

DU head coach David Carle used the game as true tuneup, with all 27 DU players dressing, some major players taking the whole third period off and playing a wide variety of line combinations and defensive pairings to see what players had some chemistry together.

Alberta, the defending Canadian Champions, with six former minor league pros in its lineup with ECHL and AHL experience (legal in Canada since there are no scholarships) presented an older, bigger and stronger opponent for the Pios. Alberta has already been playing together for a month, while the Pios have only had a handful of practices coming into the exhibition.

The game was really three games in one.  In the first period of the game, DU was the better team and shut out Alberta behind goals by Michael Davies and Freshman Emilio Petterson, as the Pios looked to be largely in control, pleasing the large student turnout. 

But in the second period, DU took a number of bad penalties, and the tables quickly turned as the Golden Bears vaulted ahead to take a 3-2 lead behind a pair of power play goals, until DU senior Jarid Lukosevicius tied the game 3-3 on a walk-in with about a minute left in the second.

In the third period, DU took over the game again with a pair of early goals to essentially seal the win, making the score 5-3, with Ryan Barrow roofing a PPG in the crease, and Emilio Petterson picking a corner for his second goal of the game (the eventual game winner).  DU and and Alberta traded a couple of meaningless goals late in the game to make the final 6-4.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Emilio Petterson is a highly skilled freshman, whose two goals led the Pioneers, and whose game winner was big time shot into the corner of the net after he stole the puck from an Alberta defenseman.  He will likely be a first line forward for DU this season.
  • Cole Guttman and defensemen Slava Demin also stood out with a pair of assists each. These freshmen can clearly play.
  • DU didn’t play Ian Mitchell or Jarid Lukosevicius in the third period
  • DU, one of the least penalized teams in the country last year, took nine penalties in the game, with five of the nine taken by freshmen. DU will need to clean that up in the coming weeks.
  • DU’s inexperienced and lightly recruited goalies were surprisingly adequate – Sophomore Devin Cooley played well, holding Alberta scoreless into the second period, until DU hung him out to dry with poor penalty killing in the second period.  None of the three goals scored on him were his fault. Michael Corson came on to play the third period and only let in one goal to get the win, not bad for a third-stringer freshman.
  • DU gave up 40 shots in the contest to Alberta, so defense will need to tighten in the coming weeks.