It was deja vu all over again. An evenly played, chippy first period. A chippy second and third period, owned by DU who outscored CC 10-0, and a dominant freshman goalie Freddie Halyk who outdueled NCHC Preseason All-Conference goaltender Kaidan Mbereko. Check ✔ check ✔and check ✔ in a pair of dominating 6-1 and 5-1 Denver Pioneer victories. The win guaranteed that the Gold Pan would remain in Denver for yet another year.
It was an evenly played, chippy first period as the Tigers tried to shake off the 6-1 embarrassing loss to the Pioneers from Friday night. Denver got first blood when Boston Buckberger stuffed in an assist(s) from Tristan Broz and Cole Ashcroft. Three minutes later, a Gleb Veremyev breakaway tied the contest for the Tigers 1-1. The tally was reminiscent of CC’s goal Friday night. Denver had a slight advantage on shots in the first period but CC played on the knife’s edge – pushing and shoving – highlighted by CC’s Nicklas Andrews knee-on-knee hit (called interference), to name a few. While DU led in total penalty minutes for the game, 25-10, there were plenty of other times penalties could have been called.
Zeev Buium went into the box early in the second period for tripping but CC could struggle mightily on the power-play. Next, Jared Wright took down CC goalie Mbereko on incidental skate contact to give CC another power play at 14:30 but DU fought off the CC advantage yet again. A slashing call at 11:45 put DU on the power play and shortly thereafter, DU captain McCade Webster received a 10-minute misconduct for disputing a non-call. DU, still up by a player with Webster’s departure, scored again with only three seconds left in the penalty. The goal came from the front of the goal by a cutting Miko Matikka with an assist from the Buium brothers. Matikka’s goal marked Denver’s first power play of the series, 2-1 DU. At the eight-minute mark, Sam Harris poached a loose puck in front of the goal and sailed the puck past Mbereko, 3-1. DU put their foot on the gas and dominated play the rest of the period as Denver’s speed, skill and depth took their toll on the wilting Tigers.
A boarding penalty five minutes into the final period gave CC a five-minute man advantage and a chance to get back into the game. Once again, DU stoned CC for four minutes until CC’s Zaccharya Wisdom got called for tripping, negating the CC advantage and putting the teams 4-on-4. DU finally earned the power-play man advantage midway through the period when Carter King buried a centering pass on the Tigers, 4-1, as Denver controlled both ends of the ice. A minute later, the speedy Jared Wright picked up DU’s final goal, 5-1 on a ricochet shot off a Tiger’s skates into goal.
It was evident that Denver was the better team and sent a clear signal that the Colorado College Tigers must make major improvements if they want to compete at the same level as the Pioneers. It is also clear that these two teams do not like each other. The Tigers will have to lick their wounds and wait until early March before they get another shot at the Pioneers.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics