Devine Intervention: Pioneer Forward Scores Twice as DU Rallies over UMD In Final Two Periods

The #3 Denver Pioneers (24-7-0, 15-4-0 NCHC) added another win on Friday night and earned the opportunity to finish off the four-game season sweep of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (12-16-1, 7-12-0 NCHC) with a 6-2 victory. The Pios, who are 131-88-13 all-time vs UMD and 5-5 in the last 10 had one of their best performances of the season and continued to prove that they are ready for the playoffs as the stretch run draws closer.

Jack Devine had arguably his best night of the season, tallying a point in every period. He assisted on Aidan Thompson’s first-period power-play goal and scored the game-winner 12 minutes into the second period on a breakaway. He finished his one-assist, two-goal night off when he fielded a third-period pass from Massimo Rizzo and beat goaltender Zach Stejskal a second time to earn first star of the game honors and give the Pioneers a huge two-goal lead down the stretch. 

“It’s always good to get out there and score,” Devine said of his performance. “I thought I did a good job there playing well on the offensive and defensive side of the puck. I was just happy with the way we played as a team.”

As well as Devine played in all three zones, it was goaltender Magnus Chrona who prevented the Bulldogs from gaining any momentum and capitalizing on DU’s sluggish start which saw the Pioneers give up a shorthanded goal to open the scoring. Chrona stayed true to his name and showed Magness Arena exactly what he can do. He made 31 saves on 33 shots, a save percentage of .939 on the night. But it wasn’t just the quantity for him, it was the quality. Time and again, he made exceptional, game-preserving saves all game long, and maybe none bigger than the one he made immediately before Devine scored the game-winner.

“He’s been big all year,” DU defenseman Mike Benning, who scored a goal of his own on the night, said. “It’s awesome when you have a guy like that as the backbone of the team that you can trust back there. He’s just been getting better and better. It’s been awesome to see.”

The game was much closer than the final score indicated, though, and it was DU’s penalty kill, led by Chrona, that made the difference. The much-maligned unit built on its 12-of-14 effort against North Dakota last weekend and killed off all five UMD power plays – including one five-minute major on Casey Dornbach that took a five-minute review to call – thanks in large part to Chrona’s heroics. Their penalty-killing ability has improved significantly in the last few weeks of the season and will only continue to help them as they head into the last couple of games of the regular season and as they approach the postseason.

“We’re going into playoff hockey, I think it’s good to put teams away,” Benning said. “They’re battling for spots, getting up in the Pairwise, so it’s our job to not let that happen and close it out and keep on playing good hockey.”

The Pioneers, like last season, appear to be peaking at the right time as the regular season winds down and the NCHC Tournament nears. They now turn their attention to earning their second straight weekend sweep tomorrow night and extending their winning streak to six.

David Carle Postgame


Top photo credit: Clarkson Creative via DU Athletics

7 thoughts on “Devine Intervention: Pioneer Forward Scores Twice as DU Rallies over UMD In Final Two Periods”

  1. A tip on writing sports articles. Don’t forget to tell the reader what the score of the game was. Preferably in the first paragraph of the article.

    1. Not only that, the score should be in the headline, too!

      All that said, The Pios got the job done. They are certainly looking like the the top 5 team we had expected them to be.

      Go Pios!

  2. It was a tight game but DU’s depth, hustle and finishing skill was the difference on the night. UMD had some beautiful looks but just couldn’t seal the deal. Plus, one of Chrona’s best games – especially, very few rebounds.

  3. Great team effort! I thought the score could have easily been 9 or 10 to 2. DU had several good looks that they were unable to finish on. Chrona stood tall throughout the game.

  4. This team reminds me of our 2005 championship team of Mannino, Carle, Statsny, Gauthier, et al. Not a lot of drama. Just consistency, dominating rivals, winning, and great coaching.

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