Welcome Back Carter(s): Denver’s Offense Rebounds Against Western Michigan with 5-3 Victory

The great thing about streaks, especially the losing kind, is they always eventually come to an end. That’s just their nature. For the #14 Denver Pioneers (5-4-0, 1-2-0), the end of their four-game skid couldn’t come soon enough, especially after they only scored one goal in each of their last three games. After starting the season on a 4-0 tear with every game in Colorado, coming back home to Magness Arena to take on the #9 Western Michigan Broncos (6-3-0, 1-2-0) may have been exactly what Denver needed to shake off the frustration and get the offense going as the Pioneers scored five times to top the Broncos 5-3 and end their four-game losing streak.

Two of DU’s three Carters led the way tonight as Savoie and Mazur each contributed three points in Denver’s victory. Mazur tallied a goal and two assists while Savoie scored twice and added an assist in the effort. Denver put forth a strong effort in the first period, outshooting WMU 12-4 but they entered the dressing room down 2-1 thanks to Drew Worrad’s highlight-reel goal with less than a minute left. While Mazur’s strong night started in the first period with an assist on Cameron Wright’s early game-tying goal, Savoie, and really the rest of Denver’s offense, really got untracked early in the second period. Savoie opened the second period scoring on a shot that found a wide-open WMU net off of a back-door feed from captain Cole Guttman to tie the game back up at 2 and it was all Denver from there.

“I think our whole team had a really good start to the second,” Savoie said after the game. “We came out guns-a-blazing, put pucks on net, and obviously we got a couple right to start the period and it gave us the confidence to keep on moving forward.”

Mazur added his second assist of the night barely a minute and a half later as he threaded the needle with a pass from below the Broncos’ net somehow between WMU goaltender Brandon Bussi’s pad and the left post to a crashing Massimo Rizzo. It was the second DU goal that found an open net and it gave the Pioneers their first lead of the night. This time, would not relinquish it in the third. Mazur then found the back of the net on Denver’s first power play of the night to round out his three-point night.

The Broncos did answer with a power-play goal of their own as Josh Passolt toe-dragged through a Denver defense that got caught watching the puck and sent a shot over Pioneer goaltender Magnus Chrona’s shoulder to cut the lead to 4-3. But midway through the third period, on Denver’s second power play of the night, Savoie answered with a snipe of his own from just above the right circle for his second goal to restore DU’s two-goal lead and round out his own three-point effort.

It was the two Carters who led the way offensively for the Pioneers but it was the special teams play, both on the power play and on the penalty kill, that really gave Denver a lot of energy in the second and third periods. Of course, Denver scored on both of their power plays but it was the two kills in the third period that really sealed the DU victory, especially the first one with the score still 4-3 and the Broncos’ offense buzzing.

“I think we just kept it more simple,” Savoie said when asked what changed on offense between the winless road trip and tonight’s game. “At times, people can get frustrated with themselves when they’re not putting the puck in the back of the net and I think you just got to go back to your roots, shoot the puck as much as you can be at the front of the net.”

Denver needed a victory in the worst way tonight and this weekend is as much a must-sweep weekend as there can be in the middle of November. The two Carters delivered to give the Pioneers their first victory over a ranked opponent and end their maddening losing streak. It’s just one victory and tomorrow night is equally as important, but you can’t sweep a series without winning game one and you can’t stop a losing streak without that first win.

“A challenge our group has had when things don’t go well is we don’t stick with our process,” head coach David Carle said. “We’re learning how you have to score against good hockey teams.”


Top photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

5 thoughts on “Welcome Back Carter(s): Denver’s Offense Rebounds Against Western Michigan with 5-3 Victory”

  1. Must have win for the Pios. Good to see energy for all 3 periods. Now all we need is a repeat tonight!

  2. A strong outing for the Pios!

    There were a few DU brain farts and some shoddy goaltending early last night, but the Pios overcame both of these to win the game by dominating the puck battles in the o-zone, dominating the face-off circle and getting off 73 total shots off on the night, which kept WMU’s defense on head swivel. WMU is a bigger and more experienced squad, and I liked DU’s puck possession game plan to try and tire out the Broncos.

    Really loved the DU compete level – DU answered each WMU foray, and really was able to get all four lines going, and Chrona did step up later in the game to make the big saves when the game was on the line.

    Hope to see DU continue to skate hard and get a much needed sweep tonight….

  3. Aside from the WMU goal in the very first minute and some poor coverage on that PP goal in the 2nd, I thought DU played a strong game. WMU is always a tough opponent, but you can see when this Pioneer team commits to skate hard, wins puck battles, plays physical when they need to, and when Chrona plays like he’s capable of playing, it’s a formidable squad. I’m eager and hopeful to see what happens tonight.

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