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DU completes weekend sweep of #1 St. Cloud State

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Trio of power play goals lift Pioneers in impressive fashion

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Denver vs Minnesota-Duluth Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the reports of the Denver Pioneers’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Denver’s (6-2, 2-2 NCHC) 5-1 stomping Saturday night showcased a all-around team effort and chased the #1 St. Cloud State Huskies (7-2, 2-2) out of town with nothing to show for their weekend at Magness Arena.

DU scored three power play goals on the night, including a pair by Adam Plant in a three-goal second period that gave the Pioneers separation.

After Plant’s first of the season, SCSU goaltender David Hrenak got beat on the glove side in the same exact spot by Tyson McLellan less than 30 seconds later. The Pioneers gave Hrenak a hard time all night, peppering him with 42 shots, 33 of which came over the final two periods. Denver senior goaltender Tanner Jaillet made 21 saves to collect his fifth win of the season.

After Plant added his second, again on the power play, the Huskies got one back on Kevin Fitzgerald’s third goal of the season at 11:14 to cut the lead to two. But that was as close as the game would ever get.

The game started getting chippy after Jimmy Schuldt was assessed a game misconduct for checking from behind 13:49 into the second period. The Huskies took another major penalty for boarding at the start of the third period, which game the Pioneers a five-minute man advantage. Dylan Gambrell punctuated the Pioneers’ excellent night on the power play with his fifth goal of the year, redirecting a point shot from Ian Mitchell in identical fashion to Jarid Lukosevicius’ goal Friday night.

Lukosevicius followed Friday night’s two-goal performance by putting the game well out of reach at 5-1 with fewer than six minutes to play. Terry’s assist on the score was his team-leading 13th of the season.

A scrum in the final minute saw six players between the two teams given minor penalties for roughing. The previously-undefeated Huskies appeared to take out some the frustration in the worst way, racking up 38 total penalty minutes. With the success DU found on the power play, constantly playing shorthanded erased any hope of SCSU making a comeback.

For DU, the sweep puts them firmly back on their path to the top of the NCHC and more than likely, a return to the top spot in the national polls this week. The team will continue a tough stretch of games, hosting #2 North Dakota next weekend at Magness Arena. It will be an important revenge series for the Pioneers after being knocked from the NCHC tournament by the Sioux last season.