Denver fell behind North Dakota, 1-0, after a slow start in the first period and struggled to score goals the balance of the game as they fell 3-1 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The absence of injured forwards Jaakko Heikenen and Bobby Brink hurt the Pioneers offense, which was unable to create many grade ‘A’ scoring chances during the game.
Denver was outplayed and outshot (22-14) during the first period. Denver gave up a power-play goal to Matt Kiersted at 9:31 of the first period. The first 10 minutes of the game, the Fighting Hawks had the jump on a tentative Denver squad but the damage was limited to a one-goal deficit at the first break.
In the second period, UND’s Collin Adams who had an excellent two-game series, caught the DU defense puck watching and took a pass from Jordan Kawaguchi and fired it in goal to make the score 2-0. But DU continued to steady themselves with better puck possession and increased offensive efficiency. Finally, DU’s Brett Edwards sent a shot at goal from the far left corner and it bounced off goaltender Peter Thome’s shoulder and into the net, 2-1. During the second period, Denver played much better than the first period, out-shooting the Fighting Hawks 8-2 SOG and 15-9 on shots.
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Denver continued to carry the pace of play into the third period. Despite several solid chances in front of the Fighting Hawk net, Denver could not get a puck past Thome who only gave up two goals on the weekend. Finally, after several good looks failed to find net, Denver pulled Magnus Chrona at 18:25 for the extra man. At 19:49 UND’s Jasper Weatherly lobbed the puck down the ice for North Dakota’s final goal, 3-1.
Despite the final score, this was a solid road effort against a team that proved, at this point in time, to be better than Denver. On a positive note, DU was able to come back in a game where it looked like they were on the verge of being blown out early. Denver actually got off more shots than UND (51-40) for the second straight night but was unable to create enough traffic and chaos in front of Thome. And, DU’s offense continued to improve as the game went along – despite having to juggle their forward lines. Once again, faceoffs were an issue as Denver won 22 to UND’s 39.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics