On the brink of a fourth consecutive Gold Pan and coming off a shutout win over the Tigers at Ball Arena last weekend, the #4 Denver Pioneers (21-7-0, 12-4-0 NCHC) traveled to Colorado Springs for Round Two of the 2022-23 Battle for the Gold Pan. As with many large rivales, tensions were high and penalties and rough play were the name of the game.
DU got two power play opportunities within the first half of the first period and on the second, Casey Dornbach capitalized with help of Shai Buium and Kent Anderson. After a CC power play which the Pios killed off, Justin Lee found the back of the net to extend the Pios’ lead to two at the end of the opening period.
Period two was horribly slow with most of the drama being a Tigers power play late in the period that was killed by the Pios but it was just the opener to an incredible third period.
Though DU started the period strong, CC was awarded a questionable penalty shot. Hunter McKown beat DU goaltendner Magnus Chrona, who had previously held a five-game shutout streak over the Tigers, which gave CC their first and only goal of the night. It broke an incredible shutout streak for the Pios’ senior goaltender, though DU answered right back with a five-on-three goal from Mike Benning and it restored the two-goal lead.
Carter King ended the CC comeback effort with an empty-net tally to clinch the Pios’ win but it wasn’t before an incredible exercise of a fight. In the final minute of the the game, a brawl broke out and left CC’s Noah Laba with a roughing minor and DU’s Lee with a game misconduct for grabbing the facemask.
With a 4-1 win and a fourth consecutive Gold Pan, DU heads back home to Magness Arena for the next two weekends of play against North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, respectively.
Top photo courtesy the University of Denver