The streak is going to end eventually. The Denver Pioneers aren’t going to just never lose to Omaha for the rest of time. That’s not how hockey works. That’s not how sports work. But, for now, the streak is still alive thanks to Bobby Brink’s game-tying goal with 13.8 seconds left in regulations. Neither the #4 Pioneers (15-4-5, 5-3-4-3) nor Mavericks (9-10-4, 3-6-3-0) scored in regulation overtime (what a great oxymoron) and the game ended in a 2-2 tie at Baxter Arena in Omaha. Michael Davies did score in three-on-three overtime to give the Pioneers the second point and ensure that the Pioneers came home with four of the six possible points. With the official tie, Denver now has not lost to Omaha since January 2014.
The Pioneers, though, nearly fell victim to their own sloppy play in the first period and more stellar play by Maverick goaltender Isaiah Saville. In the waning minutes of the opening frame, Denver conceded two goals in quick succession on a Maverick shot that deflected off the end boards behind the net and Taylor Ward had an open net to shoot at on the power play before a bad Ian Mitchell turnover in front of DU goaltender Devin Cooley led to a goal from Tristan Keck. It was a brutal sequence to end what was otherwise a great opening period of hockey for the Pioneers and they would have to once again come from behind.
If there was a bright side, the Pioneers didn’t let the two goals derail their gameplan. They dominated the next two periods of play outshooting the Mavericks 29-9 over the final 40 minutes of regulation. That effort led to an early second-period power-play goal from Cole Guttman on a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal to pull DU back to within 1. Denver pressed harder from there and suffocated Omaha. If not for Saville’s elite presence and play in the Mav crease, it’s certainly possible if not probable that the Pioneers would have turned the 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 rout. Instead, it took a Bobby Brink goal with 13.8 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime and give them the tie.
We will have a more in-depth look at this and last night’s games in our weekend recap tomorrow morning. In the meantime, comment below with your thoughts on the game and on the weekend!