Mama said there’ll be days like thisThere’ll be days like this, mama said. – The Shirelles
A funny thing happened on the way to a home opening rout – a tie. And, it could easily have been a loss to the newly minted Augustana Vikings, whose locker room is a converted trailer until their new Midco Hockey Arena is completed. Hats off to the visitors who overcame a first-period 3-0 deficit and earned a 5-5 tie and a shootout ‘win’ that does not count in the Pairwise Rankings.
After building a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, it looked like the Pioneers switched uniforms as Denver chased pucks, made errant passes, and goaltender Matt Davis struggled between the pipes, letting in several gimmes.
The Vikings played fast and physical to get back into the fight but Denver flashed early. Freshman Boston Buckberger got DU on the board at 1:35 of the first period. Two minutes later, sophomore Rieger Lorenz tickled the twine. The party was on at 8:04 as junior Jack Devine blasted a shot past Augie goaltender Zack Rose. From that point forward, the teams started playing even-up. Augustana scored shortly after Devine’s goal when Owen Bohn got the visitors on the board and nearly ten minutes later, Hunter Bischoff scored shortly before the break to quiet the opening night crowd, 3-2.
The second period was scoreless as the Vikings gained more confidence. In the third, Kiernas Cebrian doubled DU’s lead, 4-2, and it felt like the Pioneers could coast to an uncomfortable victory against the upstart newbies from Sioux Falls. In less than a minute, the lead evaporated as the Vikings solved Davis with a pair of goals, 4-4. At the 10-minute mark, Massimo Rizzo appeared to create some breathing room for the home team with his snipe but a victory was not assured, nor deserved, on this night. Augustana got a power play opportunity in the final two minutes, boarding by Boston Buckberger, and at 19:30 Chase Brand buried the tie-maker, 5-5. Neither team could score in the 5-minute overtime periods. A deflated and uninspired shootout followed with Augustana winning the point.
David Carle called the defense ‘leaky’ after giving up leads. “This was not a Denver Pioneer hockey game. Give them credit. They came into our building and had their marquee moment. That’s embarrassing for us….but we give our opponent credit. We were not ready to play the full 60 minutes.”
The beauty of a collegiate Friday night loss is a chance to quickly rebound on Saturday night. Denver faces Air Force at Magness Arena with a 6:00 p.m. puck-drop.