In 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.