Pioneers top RedHawks 5-1 for Second Straight Victory, 6th Straight Over Miami

Once the relief of earning their first victory of the season two days ago wore off, a new reality set in for the #9 Denver Pioneers (2-3-0, 7 pts): they’re in the bottom half of the NCHC, trailing first-place Minnesota Duluth by 8 points just four games into the season. So while that thrilling 3-2 victory over North Dakota on Tuesday felt great for the Pios, their work had just started. With the winless, last-place Miami RedHawks (0-5-0, 1 pt) next on the schedule, Denver had to face a team desperate to earn their own first victory. In other words, DU’s journey back up the NCHC standings continued with a potential trap game. But after surrendering the first goal to the RedHawks, the Pioneers settled in, played their game, and did again to Miami what they’ve done so many times in recent years: dominate. It was a 5-1 victory that didn’t end up being as close as even the wide score margin indicates.

David Carle said after DU’s loss to St. Cloud State that DU dug themselves into this hole and that they’d have to dig themselves out. Sunday’s players-only meeting may have given them the spark to beat top-ranked North Dakota but it might have taken Miami’s game-opening goal to give them the spark to score 5 unanswered goals to snuff out any chance at an upset. But whatever that spark was, it was effective as 10 different Pioneers recorded at least a point with four of them tallying two, including freshman phenom Carter Savoie (his sixth goal and second assist of the year).

This game may have presented itself as a potential trap game for the Pioneers but in the end, that possibility never entered DU’s minds. Miami is a rebuilding program and Denver is a national title contender. While this is the NCHC and there is always a chance for any team on any given day to win, there is a sizeable gap in skill between the Pioneers and RedHawks and it was on full display in DU’s fifth game at the Omaha Pod. It took Denver nearly a full period to score but once Savoie tied it up on a rebound shot with barely a minute left in the period, Denver may as well have been shot out of a cannon. In the opening two minutes of the second period, Ryan Barrow and Brett Stapley scored just 15 seconds apart and then Mike Benning and McKade Webster kept the freshman class on top of the DU class leaderboard with two more markers of their own to salt away the Crimson & Gold victory and keep Miami winless.

The problems that had plagued the Pioneers in their first four games, problems like losing faceoffs and failing to generate voluminous shots on goal, didn’t show up at all against Miami. The Pioneers outshot the RedHawks 37-23 and won the faceoff battle 37-21 (63%). It was as dominant as Denver has looked since beating these same RedHawks 7-3 and 7-0 at Magness Arena back in February before everything hit the fan and was canceled. It was the kind of performance that Denver needed to help build on the confidence that they gained in their victory over North Dakota two days ago, especially with a rematch against Minnesota Duluth looming on Saturday morning (puck drops at 11:05 am MT on Saturday).

Postgame Press Conference


Top photo of Ryan Barrow celebrating his goal: Mark Kuhlmann, NCHC

2 thoughts on “Pioneers top RedHawks 5-1 for Second Straight Victory, 6th Straight Over Miami”

  1. Random Thoughts:

    -Strong performance by the Pios, taking over the the game after getting punched in the face with that early Miami goal.

    -Happy to see DU scoring in bunches without having to rely on PPGs to win the game.

    -Miami lacks high-end talent right now, but they work very hard and can win puck battles when they play their systems well.

    -Miami just could not match DU’s transition speed, and DU was able to score five goals by all different guys, showing DU’s depth.

    -Good to see DU freshmen scoring more than half of DU’s goals today – Savoie, Benning and Webster. Would love to see Stapley, Guttman and Jandric scoring more – they are getting lots of chances.

    -Also nice to see Chrona bounce back with a strong game (for the 50-55 minutes he played).

    -Nice to see Kaczperski get some net time. I would probably start him against Miami in the rematch or perhaps the WMU game later in the pod.

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