Ward hat trick, Guttman’s 4 points power Pioneers past RedHawks to end losing streak

DENVER – All hat tricks are memorable. At the collegiate level, in the NCHC, netting three goals in a game against any opposition is an impressive feat by itself. Tyler Ward’s first career hat trick, though, transcended the ‘mundane’ nature of other hat tricks as he netted all three of his goals within the first 19 minutes of the #7 Denver Pioneers’ (18-8-5, 8-7-4-3, 31 pts) 7-3 victory over the unranked, 7th-place Miami University RedHawks (6-18-5, 3-13-3-2, 14 pts) at Magness Arena. Ward’s first-period effort and Cole Guttman’s subsequent four-point night gave Denver the jump they needed race past the RedHawks to increase its lead over fifth-place St. Cloud State to four points and keep pace with third-place Western Michigan in the NCHC standings.

The RedHawks scored the game’s first goal, causing the crimson and gold faithful to collectively groan. With the Pioneers reeling after four straight losses to Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota, an early deficit was the exact opposite of what fans were hoping to see to open the weekend. Luckily for the fans, Tyler Ward got his night started and erased that early deficit just a minute later and the Pioneers were off to the races. Two more Tyler Ward goals – one on the power play and one at even strength – and a power-play marker from Guttman later, the Pioneers were off to the races and had all the goals they needed to keep the lowly RedHawks down.

Miami would give the Pioneers pause at times in the second period by closing the gap to two twice but each time, Denver responded. Grand Frederic scored before Guttman scored his second of the night. Then Chase Pletzke scored before Hank Crone scored with 51 seconds left to restore the three-goal lead at 6-3 heading into the second intermission. Of course, it wouldn’t be without any drama on this weird night of college hockey. Crone appeared to score but Sterling Egan, the official with the call, waved it off as it appeared to him to hit the crossbar. Play resumed for the remainder of the second period but after a long review, it was deemed that Crone had indeed scored.

Denver added a goal in the third period for good measure but the Pioneers did exactly what they had to do against a team of Miami’s caliber. They took away all hope of an upset early on in the game and then they stepped on their throats (I promise it’s humane to do that to a RedHawk). It was, as expected, a hockey clinic hosted by the University of Denver. And, coming off of the losing streak, it was the kind of confidence-building performance that the Pioneers needed to kick off the final three weeks of the regular season.

Not only was it a banner night offensively, but it was also a banner night for DU’s special teams. Denver scored three times on the power play while killing off both of Miami’s power plays. Every aspect of Denver’s game was clicking at a high level and got one win closer to extending the Tenzer Streak to 19 straight seasons with at least 20 wins.

No, this win wasn’t against a top-flight, elite team and Denver’s record against those teams remains abysmal. But on this night, against a bad opponent, the Pioneers took care of business – thanks to Tyler Ward’s first hat trick, three points from Ian Mitchell, and Cole Guttman’s first career four-point game – and looked great doing it. Step two in this process is coming back to Magness tomorrow night and doing it all again.


Postgame Comments

David Carle:

Tyler Ward:

Cole Guttman:

Top photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio/Denver Athletics

4 thoughts on “Ward hat trick, Guttman’s 4 points power Pioneers past RedHawks to end losing streak”

  1. Good effort that was rewarded for a change. Will probably see Cooley in net tomorrow night as DC is still looking for a #1 goalie.

  2. Yes – Miami is in a down cycle. That Redhawk defense has great size, but they give up a lot of bad poke-checks and turnovers. The Pios made them pay.

    But we must also face the reality that Chrona is struggling lately in the DU net. He’s letting in soft goals that he shouldn’t and it is giving opponents life. You just can’t let in 3 goals on your first 13 shots as he did tonight. He must get sharper. Perhaps Cooley can take over, but he hasn’t been amazing of late, either. It’s one of the big reasons that DU is fighting for home ice…

  3. Pios got the job done against a scrappy but overmatched Miami team. I was glad to see the offense come alive and put up 7 goals, along with 55 SOGs, especially after scoring only 2 in the 2 games against UND last weekend. Granted, Miami and UND are certainly not on the same level, but a win’s a win and these are the types of games DU has to win.

    I am a bit concerned about Chrona. He can be great at times but at other times not so much. The consistency just hasn’t been there. Neither Chrona nor Cooley has emerged to take a firm hold as the #1 netminder. I believe there’s a saying in football that if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. I’m not saying that’s the situation with DU’s goaltenders, but there are similarities. I hope one of those two grabs the reins and solidifies himself as the #1. If the national tournament started tomorrow, who would we see in net? I’m not sure……

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