Pioneers’ 15-game un­beaten streak put on ice

MIN­NESOTA DU­LUTH 3, DEN­VER 1

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Frei

When the na­tional col­le­giate hockey rank­ings come out Mon­day, the Univer­sity of Den­ver Pioneers are likely to re­main No. 2 — be­hind top-ranked Min­nesota Du­luth.

UMD claimed a split of the week­end se­ries Satur­day at Mag­ness Arena, beat­ing DU 3-1 and re­tak­ing the Na­tional Col­le­giate Hockey Con­fer­ence lead by a point over the Pioneers.

Wingers Kyle Oster­berg and Billy Ex­ell had the goals that staked the Bull­dogs to a 2-0 lead and Joey An­der­son added an empty-net­ter with 59.1 sec­onds re­main­ing to clinch it. Mean­while, UMD goalie Hunter Miska — a late-bloom­ing, 21-year-old fresh­man who played last sea­son with Dubuque of the United States Hockey League — was ter­rific, mak­ing 38 saves.

Evan Janssen had the only goal for the Pioneers, who were 0-for-4 on the power play.

“I re­ally liked the way we played the en­tire week­end,” said DU coach Jim Mont­gomery. “This is the NCHC. You can’t af­ford for your power play not to be suc­cess­ful . ... We out­shot them and puck pos­ses­sion-wise, we had a lot of time. But we didn’t get to dirty ar­eas and they cap­i­tal­ized on their op­por­tu­ni­ties. That’s what good teams do to you.”

The loss ended the Pioneers’ un­beaten streak at 15 games, the fourth-long­est in pro­gram his­tory and the long­est in 49 years.

The Pioneers again were with­out star fresh­man cen­ter Hen­rik Borgstrom. The Florida Pan­thers’ first-round draft choice this year missed his fourth con­sec­u­tive game with what DU says is an un­spec­i­fied ill­ness. He is ex­pected to play for Fin­land in the up­com­ing World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships, how­ever, and be back with the Pioneers for the re­sump­tion of NCHC play.

“I think we win tonight if Hen­rik’s there,” Mont­gomery said. “I have to be hon­est. Our power play’s not go­ing 0-for-4 with him on the ice.”

Janssen had five of the Pioneers’ 39 shots on Miska, in­clud­ing his goal.

“We had our op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said the se­nior from Green Bay, Wis. “We had times where we passed up shots to make passes and we didn’t get enough traf­fic in front of the net.”

DU (12-3-3) will be idle un­til a Dec. 30-31 non­con­fer­ence se­ries at Prov­i­dence and doesn’t play an NCHC op­po­nent again un­til a Jan. 13-14 se­ries at West­ern Michi­gan.

For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive night, the Bull­dogs scored first, this time when Oster­berg beat DU goalie Tan­ner Jail­let from the right cir­cle at 4:01 of the first. Ex­ell scored to make it 2-0 at 10:05, af­ter Jail­let made a pad save on Sammy Spurrell’s shot and Ex­ell put in the re­bound.

Janssen scored to get the Pioneers within 2-1 at 13:11 of the sec­ond. Lo­gan O’Con­nor broke around the net, and his sweep­ing shot went off Miska’s pad be­fore Janssen poked the puck in.

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