Caitlan Gannam | Clarion

The No. 1 DU Pioneers swept the No. 18 St. Cloud State University Huskies in a 4-3 overtime thriller on Friday, Feb. 24 and routed the Huskies 7-2 during senior night on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Finnish-born freshman Henrik Borgström scored the game-winner in Magness Arena in the first matchup in 5-on-5 overtime. The first-round pick of the Florida Panthers squeezed a wrist-shot through Huskies’ goaltender Jeff Smith’s lower arm.

Borgström uncharacteristically struggled to bury the puck throughout the game. With his parents and two brothers in attendance, travelling 4,971 miles from Helsinki, Finland, scoring the game-winner was memorable.

“I felt pretty good there after my goal,” Borgström said. “I had like 10 chances, and I didn’t bury one until the end. It felt pretty special to know that they’re [his family] here.”

Accounting for Denver’s prior three goals were sophomore forwards Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (Denver, Colorado) and San Jose Sharks prospect Dylan Gambrell (Bonney Lake, Washington).

“Our four best players were our four best players, and when that happens, you see good things happen,” Denver Head Coach Jim Montgomery said referencing Borgstrom, Terry, Gambrell and senior captain Will Butcher. “They were all dynamite tonight.”

In the last home game of the regular season, DU’s nine seniors were recognized prior to puck-drop at Saturday’s game. Fittingly, the Class of 2017 amassed seven (2G – 5A) of Denver’s 19 points accumulated on the night.

While seniors Matt Marcinew (Calgary, Alberta) and Emil Romig (Vienna, Austria) scored on their special night, freshman forwards Liam Finlay (Kelowna, British Columbia) and Borgström powered the victory.

Finlay entered the game with just three career goals but doubled his production before the end of the second period. Finlay finished all of his goals around the crease, giving DU 1-0, 4-1 and 6-1 leads.

“As a small guy, I got to get to those areas [down low],” Finlay said. “I think that’s something I wasn’t doing a good enough job in the first half [of the season], and that’s something I’ve got to keep up.”

Borgström continued his dominance as DU’s leading goal scorer, extending his tally to 17 in the span of 28 games. He missed six games due to illness and to suit up for Finland’s World Junior team.

Borgstrom stunned the arena as he toe-dragged through St. Cloud defenseman Will Borgen’s legs and lifted a wrist-shot over Smith’s right shoulder in one fluid sequence.

“What that guy is capable of doing—I mean, that’s not the first time we’ve seen it, it might be the prettiest goal that we’ve seen him finish on. He’s done it against Omaha; he’s done it against Arizona State,” Montgomery said. “Where he scores a goal and everyone in the building is like, ‘Did I just witness that?’ You’ve got to think about the confidence it gives us. It zaps the confidence out of the other team, because they know they have to play against him.”

Denver (24-6-4, 16-3-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) extended its winning streak to nine with its conference sweep over the Huskies. The Pioneers look to clinch their first Penrose Cup as conference regular-season champion next weekend, currently holding a four-point cushion over second place contender Minnesota-Duluth (UMD).

Denver travels for its last regular conference series against Nebraska Omaha while UMD takes on third-place Western Michigan.

“It’s a goal we set in the beginning of the year. Three championships; the Penrose Cup, NCHC Championship and the National Championship,” Butcher said. “Those are heavy goals in front of us, but we’ve got one right in front of us Friday [March 3] night, so we’re going to come prepared.”