DU Ices Nanooks 4-1

Outside the first five minutes of the game, the University of Denver (3-0) dominated the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks (0-5) en route to a 4-1 victory. The game was essentially decided in the first period as DU built a 3-1 lead and cruised to a 4-1 victory at Magness Arena.

Colton Leiter got Alaska Fairbanks on the board with a power play goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, DU converted on their own power play when Emilio Petterson converted at the net with assists from Jarid Lukosevicius and Cole Guttman. Two minutes later, at 18:21, Michael Davies scored an even strength goal with the help of Cole Guttman and Emilio Petterson. Before fans could settle back in their seats, DU’s struck again in less than 30 seconds to make it 3-1 when Liam Finley found the net in a scrum in front of the Nanook goal. Ian Michell and Jaakko Heikkinen were credited with assists on the goal. Denver out-shot the visitors 16-8 in the period and both clubs were 1 for 2 on the power play.

DU’s dominance continued into the second period. Despite out-shooting Alaska Fairbanks 17-6, the Pioneers could not build on their lead but were in command nearly the entire period. DU’s speed and puck pressure were on display during most of the period and it was clear on this night, Alaska did not have the skaters to keep up with Denver’s tempo. The second period ended like the first, Denver 3 and Alaska Fairbanks 1.

Denver came out in the third period and owned the first 10 minutes, building DU’s shot advantage for the game to 29-18. However, Denver drew four penalties during the period and spent time defending a man down. Still, DU had the game comfortably in-hand when Liam Finley punched in an even strength goal at 18:16 with the help of Colin Staub and Tyson McLellan to give the Pioneers their final goal and a 4-1 victory.

Again, difficult to draw conclusions on just how good Denver hockey will be this season as Alaska Fairbanks was clearly out-manned. But, the Pioneers can only defeat the teams they play so we will have to wait to see how the season unfolds. Certainly, DU’s speed, passing and tempo look similar to last season – and they took care of business in workmanlike fashion tonight. The only disappointment was DU’s 1-7 performance on the powerplay but it is still very early in the season. And, it should be noted that Sophomore goaltender Devin Cooley continued to play well in goal and stopped several solid shots – turning back 25 of 26 for the night. All around, a solid performance by DU hockey for the night.

*Michael Davies

**Lliam Finley

***Emelio Petterson