DU hockey, owning the No. 1 national ranking and No. 1 seed in the NCHC Playoffs, swept Colorado College in a best-of-three weekend series in the opening round of the conference playoffs. Denver walloped CC 4-1 on March 10 and 4-0 on March 11 at Magness Arena, bringing their win-streak to 13 and advancing the program to the Frozen Faceoff.
In the team’s first match of the weekend, sophomore forward Troy Terry’s (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) monster second period performance propelled the Pioneers. With the game tied 0-0, he gathered a rebound in the slot and darted, patiently, to his right before burying a wrist-shot to the far side to open up the scoring only minutes into the second period.
Roughly five minutes later, the former USA hockey hero carried the puck into the CC zone on a Pioneer powerplay. Trying to split three Tigers, Terry was able to finesse the puck backdoor to freshman Liam Finlay (Kelowna, British Columbia) for the easy tap-in goal.
To cap his performance, Terry intercepted a CC outlet pass in the neutral zone and stick-handled down the right wing and into the slot. A deft drop-pass to sophomore Blake Hillman (Elk River, Minnesota) allowed the defenseman to step right into a one-time shot, beating the Colorado College goalie and upping DU’s advantage to 3-0.
Junior goalie Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, Alberta) surrendered one goal to Colorado College in the second period, but was otherwise stellar on the night, making 21 saves and finishing with a .955 save percentage.
A chippy, hard-hitting third period saw 10 penalties called. Sophomore Matt Marcinew (Calgary, Alberta) capitalized on a powerplay one-timer at 12:36 to extend Denver’s lead to 4-1.
The second game of the weekend saw Denver give major minutes to its third and fourth lines, as well as their senior backup goaltender Evan Cowley (Evergreen, Colorado), who started the contest. Cowley was sharp when tested, stopping all 16 shots he faced in the shutout victory.
After a defensive standoff in the first period, fourth-line sophomore center Logan O’Connor (Calgary, Alberta) found more space in the second, scoring with a deflection past the goaltender. Minutes later, the speedy forward darted into the slot and roofed a backhand shot far-side to give the Pioneers a sudden 2-0 advantage with his second goal.
“That line was tremendous for us all weekend. Real good poise by Logan O’Connor. He doesn’t get enough credit for what he does for us,” said Head Coach Jim Montgomery.
Not to be outdone, Terry lasered home two goals of his own in the game’s final period. Skating through the CC defense on both occasions, Terry scored both five-hole and glove-side to give Denver their 4-0 lead.
It was the final home game for the senior players, as they took a celebratory lap around the ice after the contest had concluded. With tears in their eyes, they skated off the Magness Arena ice for the final time.
After defeating Colorado College for the 14th straight time, Denver advances to the semi-final round of the NCHC playoffs in the Frozen Faceoff in Minneapolis on Friday, March 17, taking on the University of North Dakota at 6:30 p.m.