Pioneers Open St. Cloud State Series with 7-3 Clunker

Calling tonight’s road series opener against #4 St. Cloud State (17-6-0, 9-4-0 NCHC) a night to forget would be an understatement for the #3 Denver Pioneers (16-6-0, 10-3-0 NCHC). Everything that could go wrong, especially late in the second and into the third period, did, Magnus Chrona was pulled after six goals in the third period, and DU’s confounding, bad penalty kill gave up three power play goals in five chances.

The Pios kept it close through the first half of the game and led 2-1 early in the second period, but after Brett Edwards pulled the Pioneers back to within one at 4-3 in the second, Veeti Meittinen and Grant Cruikshank each scored a power play goal in the second and third period, respectively, and put the game out of reach. Mason Salquist scored the empty-netter in the final minute to put the extra-point on the scoreboard and put the finishing touches on DU’s worst defensive game of the season in terms of goals allowed.

The unacceptably bad penalty kill continues to be a big problem for an otherwise elite team and they are going to have to solve quickly if the Pios are going to earn a road split and remain alone atop the NCHC standings tomorrow night.

We will have more analysis of this game and tomorrow’s series finale in our road trip recap on Sunday.

9 thoughts on “Pioneers Open St. Cloud State Series with 7-3 Clunker”

  1. Dunker witnessed a clunker. We played horribly yet Cloudy gave us so many chances to win game. 1:45 2 man advantage no goals. 2 clean breakaways while short handed, no goals. 3 great glove saves by Basse in what seemed like 5 minutes. Big ice sheet was to our advantage. We will win tomorrow night.

  2. SHORT TERM: Don’t blame the refs. This loss was on the Pios. Denver had plenty of chances to score in this game, including a 5-on-3, and two shorthanded breakaways, but the Pios didn’t score. And DU led 2-1 and gagged up six more GOALS, including 3 PPGs on 5 SCSU PP chances. Full credit to SCSU for taking the Pios out to the woodshed last night.

    LONG TERM: Any DU fan who knows a little about hockey has to be deeply concerned with the horrible penalty killing performance, which frankly, has been horrible all season. Certainly, the DU coaches and players know this and of course, they are trying to diagnose the issues and fix them, but they simply have not been able to fix it so far this year. DU still ranks #53 out of 62 teams nationally at only a 76% penalty kill rate and we are four months into the season now…

    BOTTOM LINE: There will be no repeat title this year with a 76% penalty kill rate. The DU postseason is likely to be nasty, brutish and short, unless solutions are found…

    1. I get this sentiment absent the numbers but DU has the fewest PIM per game in the NCHC and 10th fewest nationally at 8.7 PIM/gm. Taking too many penalties is not the problem.

  3. Ouch. I did not expect to see a 7-3 loss. Would have taken a split on the road against a very good SCSU team, but I definitely was surprised to see DU get waxed like this. This would appear to be the 3rd clunker of the season.

    The struggles on the PK are perplexing. This team has too much talent and the coaches are too good for the team to be floundering like this. Completely head-scratching.

    I know the holiday break and the scheduling nuances are factors, but it’s been well over a month since DU won on the road. Pios have something to prove tonight in my opinion.

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