Sam "Great" Brittain stopped 28 shots for the Pioneers, as Denver completed the two game sweep of Merrimack with a 4-0 win. Avs prospect Will Butcher recorded his first collegiate goal. There were also some interesting guests at Magness Arena on Saturday evening.
The second game of the Denver/ Merrimack series featured a less than capacity crowd; much like Friday evening. Yet, there was a special appearance by Denver Boone in the student section during the first period (and second period). Coach Jim Montgomery did not make any lineup changes for the game.
Will Butcher remained paired with David Makowski to start the contest. Like Friday night, Merrimack was in penalty trouble early, leading to a 5-on-3 opportunity for the Pioneers. When attempting to setup a play in the offensive zone, Makowski lost his balance leading to a 2-on-1 chance for the Warriors; which was thwarted by Denver goaltender Sam Brittain.
Defenseman Joey LaLeggia would score for Denver on the next rush, giving the Pioneers the same early lead as they enjoyed on Friday night. Unlike Friday, Merrimack was better territorially and matched Denver for chances; leading in shots 9-7 after the opening period.
Will Butcher said after the game Friday night that Denver would need more than one goal to beat Merrimack on Saturday. Butcher took those words to heart. While on the power play, he slapped a Trevor Moore pass, from near the face-off dot, passed Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta to record his first collegiate goal. The goal, which came at the 3:33 mark of the second frame, gave the Pioneers what they needed most, confidence.
Not to be outdone by his defensive partner, David Makowski's point shot floated by Marotta to give Denver a 3-0 lead near the end of the second period. Brittain had to come up with a couple of saves with seconds remaining in the period to keep the Warriors off the board. Brittain was especially sharp earlier in the period when he stopped Josh Myers on a breakaway opportunity.
Merrimack controlled the play early in the third period, before Jordan Heywood was given a five minute major and game misconduct for a checking from behind infraction. The Pioneers would put their power play time to good use. Daniel Doremus notched his first goal of the season after being the beneficiary of a nifty pass from Denver native Quentin Shore.
Former Montreal and Colorado defenseman Patrice Brisebois, was in attendance during the two-game series between Denver and Merrimack. Brisebois, who is apart of the Canadiens player development department, was in town to observe Denver defenseman Josiah Didier. Didier was a fourth round pick of Montreal in 2011.
Will Butcher Postgame Comments
On his first collegiate goal:
"The puck kind of went down into the corner and I saw that they had three guys down low. I kind of was just yelling for it; [Trevor Moore] picked up his head and made a great feed to me in the middle and I just shot, saw the right side of the net, and just shot it and it went into the net."
On his comfort level:
"Yeah, I was definitely feeling a lot better out there and I got my first one under the belt last night and felt right at home today."
On the play of his team:
"We felt good. I thought our team played really well this week; especially [Sam] Brittain, he played exceptional this whole weekend. So, I think it's good to start off the season and just keep it rolling from here."
On visiting Alaska (Denver's next opponent):
"It should be exciting, I have never been there before. So, we leave Wednesday, so it's going to be a short week of school; a quick turnaround. I don't know if our first game is Thursday or what, but a quick turnaround, but the guys will be ready to go."