Pios Roar Back from 3-0 Deficit to Tie UAF 3-3, on Lancaster’s goal in Final Minute

44442114_1967476963290813_3960080458183606272_oIn college hockey, fans should never leave a game early, as you just never know what you might miss. Denver graduate transfer Les Lancaster’s blast from the top of the left face-off circle found its way through traffic and into the Alaska Fairbanks net with just 35 seconds left in regulation time to complete a three-goal comeback for #9 Denver to tie the UAF Nanooks, 3-3.

While the tie kept DU undefeated at 3-0-1 on the young season, it was game where UAF probably deserved a better fate, as the Nanooks had mostly out-worked, out-hustled and outscored the Pioneers for most of the first two periods of the game, building a 3-0 lead on DU’s ice.

“Our guys didn’t give up in the third period,” said DU Coach David Carle in the postgame release. “It was nice to see them not give up. It was a gutsy effort to get the tie and get it to overtime. We’re certainly not happy with the result, but Fairbanks played a really good game and we were fortunate to get it tied up and get it to overtime.”

Indeed, the final two goals of the DU comeback were scored in the final two minutes of regulation with the goalie pulled for the extra skater, as DU’s Cole Guttman camped out down low to score on a cross-crease feed to make the game 3-2 with 1:52 left, setting the stage for Lancaster’s game-tying goal, as the ensuing five-minute overtime ended scoreless.

Quite honestly, DU came out painfully flat for the first 35 minutes of the game as the Nanooks built a 3-0 lead that lasted well into the second period, on goals by Kylar Hope, Ryker Leer, and Colton Leiter, the latter two coming on the power play.

The Pioneers were able to cut the UAF lead to 3-1 on a Jarid Lukosevicius rebound goal at 6:45 of the second, but after that, Tyson’s McLellan’s five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding stalled DU’s momentum. DU had also suffered an additional five minute major penalty in the first when Ryan Barrow was sent off for boarding, emblematic of a young team taking too many penalties.

DU will have the next week off, and will open NCHC league play against Western Michigan on Nov. 2.

NOTES: The game was played before 4, 314 fans at Magness Arena, one of whom was Golden State Warrior star Steph Curry, who was in town to play the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Curry had earlier addressed the DU basketball team after the Warriors had practiced at DU on Saturday afternoon….DU has added a third goalie to the roster while projected starter Filip Larsson rehabs a lower-body injury that may keep him out until Christmas or longer. Bryan Sharp, a freshman from British Columbia, who came to DU to play on the DU Club Hockey team, will wear #40.  He played junior hockey in the NAHL.




3 thoughts on “Pios Roar Back from 3-0 Deficit to Tie UAF 3-3, on Lancaster’s goal in Final Minute”

    1. Great question. Last night, Cooley let in a couple he’d like to have back early, but made a couple of great saves later in the game, including a point-blank glove save in the crease. I won’t hang that tie on Cooley though, as DU didn’t play very well overall until the final minutes of the game when they got the extra skater on the ice.

      Is Cooley a top-calibre goalie? Likely not, so it’s very hard to expect that kind of level. He came here as a recruited walk-on, and with Rasmussen leaving DU, Cooley was suddenly elevated to the back-up. Suddenly, Larsson goes down with a significant lower-body injury, and Cooley is the now the starter until Christmas or so, and maybe longer. We’ve enjoyed great goalies for years at DU and we fans have taken the quality of that position almost for granted. Now, we have three walk-ons suiting-up in front of a young team with a rookie coach.

      I believe this team will be very lucky to finish in the top 4 in the NCHC this year, and it’s more likely that a .500 season would be an achievement, with a 5-7 finish in the NCHC more likely.

  1. I only saw a few minutes of last night’s contest, as I was watching the soccer game, but the parts I did see, aside from Cooley, were lousy. Pios looked flat and uninspired. Cooley made a couple of great saves on the 5-min major at the end of the second. He looked very sharp in that sequence.

    Glad to see that the Pios battled back and got the tie. Probably a good lesson for this young team–have to play hard for 60 minutes, regardless of opponent.

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