Third-period Penalties Doom Pioneers in 2-1 Pod-Opening Loss to Bulldogs

The third period, normally a strength for David Carle and his Pioneers, proved to be the Crimson & Gold’s Achilles Heel in the #4 Denver Pioneers’ (0-1-0, 0 pts) 2-1 loss at the paws of the defending national champions #3 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (2-0-0, 6 pts) at the NCHC Pod in Omaha. Denver played a superb 40 minutes to start the game but UMD goaltender Ryan Fanti’s performance in limiting a dangerous Pioneers offensive attack to just one goal through two periods and a poor DU sequence in the final 10 minutes that saw the Bulldogs score two power-play goals just 48 seconds apart ruined Denver’s Omaha Pod welcoming party and served as the Pioneers first-ever loss at Baxter Arena.

Until the third period, the Pioneers controlled play at both ends of the ice. They were responsible in their own end in front of goaltender Magnus Chrona and they generated seemingly endless dangerous scoring chances in the offensive end. Newcomers Steven Jandric, Carter Savoie, and Bo Hanson all played effective dangerous games in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, they were only able to solve Fanti once on a shot from Hanson that was nearly tipped in by Savoie. If it wasn’t for Fanti’s magic, though, especially in a second period where the Pioneers outshot the Bulldogs 18-1, it’s entirely possible that this recap would have a completely different, more positive tone.

As UMD head coach Scott Sandelin said after the game, “Thank God it’s a three-period game” or, if you’re DU head coach David Carle, the feeling is more along the lines of it’s really too bad that it’s a three-period game. It was the third period where Denver started to lose its jump and UMD took full advantage. The momentum completely shifted by the 10-minute mark of the third period and consecutive too many men and tripping penalties against DU’s bench and McKade Webster, respectively, busted the door wide open for UMD to make the comeback. Where you would have expected the Bulldogs to be the slower, more fatigued team in the third period after beating Nebraska-Omaha last night, it was Denver that played with what looked like heavy legs and UMD took full advantage scoring two quick power-play goals within the final 10 minutes of the game.

it wasn’t the result that Denver wanted in its season-opening game. In a weird season like this one, earning points early on in the season is massively important and these are three points that the Pioneers of course hope do not come back to bite them come March. That said, there were a lot of great things that Denver did in its first game of the year. Between the newcomers’ great performance in the first two periods and a solid game between the pipes for Magnus Chrona, there is a lot of things that the Pioneers can use to build on going forward into Friday night’s game against archrival North Dakota and throughout the rest of the Pod.

Postgame Press Conference


Top photo: Duluth News Tribune

2 thoughts on “Third-period Penalties Doom Pioneers in 2-1 Pod-Opening Loss to Bulldogs”

  1. Fantastic first 40 minutes for the Pioneers, but that was negated with some really stupid penalties in the third period with the game on the line. You just can’t give UMD back-to-back power plays on avoidable penalties late in the game and expect to win against the defending champs.

    The good: A lot of good stuff to build on. Loved the team speed, and the transition puck possession game they played, dominating the second period as the Pios did. The start was really good too, especially since UMD had already played a game – DU’s legs were there from the beginning. Some of the newcomers impressed me – Savoie and Benning stepped right into prominent lines/pairings and special teams roles. Jandric and Hanson gave DU some needed experience. Caponi had a nice scoring chance, and Webster won some face-offs.

    The Bad: Lack of scoring, including 0-4 on the power play. In this league, you need to score at least 2-4 goals per game to win games consistently. Fanti had a great game for UMD, but your big guns need to score goals, and DU’s didn’t. Need to see more scoring from the veteran forwards – Guttman, Stapely, Crone, Olishefski, Barrow, etc. Would also be nice to see Bobby Brink make more impact before he leaves for the World Juniors.

    The ugly: DU had some serious brain farts in that third period that cost them a needed win in a shorted season in a game in which they dominated at times and should have won. Pios need to be mentally sharper if they hope to beat North Dakota on Friday.

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