Pioneers take first of two from Niagara 6-2

Photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio / DU Athletics

DENVER – It was an interesting game Friday at Magness Arena when the Pioneers hosted Niagara.  We knew it was going to be a steep hill to climb from the start for the Purple Eagles coming into Denver and facing a hot Pioneers team, but they didn’t help themselves by taking 11 minor penalties.  Towards the end of the game, Niagara looked exhausted from defending their own goal but they battled to the end.  Let’s see how this game unfolded. 

To start the game, Niagara did their best to clog the neutral zone and force Denver to dump and chase.  But with a little over two minutes into the first period, defenseman Ian Mitchell drove to the net and took a shot off Niagara goaltender Brian Wilson’s right pad.  Kohen Olischefski got a clean rebound and scored his second goal of the season putting the Pioneers up 1-0.

It wasn’t long until Niagara answered back.  The Purple Eagles created a few high danger chances by getting the puck deep and forcing turnovers in the Denver zone.  On the rush, forward Ludwig Stenlund shot the puck on net which got redirected in by Chris Harpur.  The Purple Eagles scored again late in the first period when Brandon Stanley tipped a soft shot from the point by defenseman Jared Brandt.  Although Denver led in shots early, Niagara caught up by the end of the period trailing 14-8.

Denver came out buzzing in the second period with that relentlessness that coach David Carle always talks about.  They were hunting the puck and constantly had their sticks in the Niagara passing lanes.  It seemed like maybe the Pioneers came out a little flat in the first but they hit their stride immediately to start the second period.

In what seemed like an never-ending powerplay, the Pioneers capitalized on five straight Niagara penalties by scoring three powerplay goals.  Denver was moving the puck really well on the odd-man advantage and Slava Demin, Cole Guttman, and Bobby Brink were all rewarded with goals because of it.  Before this weekend’s series, David Carle talked about the Pioneers needing to dictate the pace for long durations of time.  Well, they dominated for a short duration scoring three goals in two minutes.

The third period was more of the same as Niagara took five more minor penalties.  At the end of the night, Denver would go three-for-eight on the powerplay and go perfect on the penalty kill.  The highlight of the third period was when Denver forward Brett Stapley had the puck down low and made a great backhand pass to Kohen Olischefski right in front for the tap in.  Towards the end of the game, Denver’s second powerplay unit was getting some good ice time and they looked just as good as the first unit creating quality chances.  The final score was 6-2 Denver with the Pioneers leading in shots 48-16.

The Pioneers will face the Purple Eagles again tomorrow night at Magness Arena in what should be a great celebration of 70 years of Denver hockey and an opportunity for Denver to go 8-0 to start the season.


2 thoughts on “Pioneers take first of two from Niagara 6-2”

  1. I thought that Niagara was very fortunate to get those first two goals against the Pios in the first period as both were a bit freaky – the first on a weird angle that found the only possible space, and the second on a tipped shot. NU really did not have much offensive zone pressure, while DU was piling up shots and no goals at the other end.

    But from the second period on, DU shook off the layoff rust and the Pioneers were just too fast and too skilled for Niagara to keep up. DU’s speed forced the Purple Eagles to take penalties to try and slow DU down. The Pios then filled the nets on the power play with in the second period and the game was effectively over, as DU just kept scoring.

    Seeing the DU power play racking-up goals is a great confidence builder for this team, as that area was a struggle last year.

    Really looking forward to seeing the hockey alums this weekend!

  2. Definitely an interesting start to the game. DU did some good things in the 1st but went into the intermission down 2-1. Niagara played an effective period on the road–opportunistic scoring, solid goaltending, and a good job slowing down DU’s forwards. Once the 2nd period started, however, it was a different game. DU found a different gear, and Niagara, while game, had no answer. Pios were really good off the rush, creating some good scoring chances, as well as cycling the puck, using their speed, putting a lot of pressure on Niagara in the offensive zone, and for the most part relegating Niagara to chasing. Not surprisingly, Niagara looked tired as the 3rd period. Not much flow to the 3rd, as there were a lot penalties.

    Lots of guys joined in the scoring fun last night. That was good to see.

    Go Pios!!!

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