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Denver Pioneers cruise past #15 Omaha

Tanner Jaillet blanks Mavericks for third shutout of 2017-18

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Denver vs Minnesota-Duluth David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The #5 Denver Pioneers used an offensive onslaught and a perfect night from senior goaltender Tanner Jaillet to keep pace in the NCHC standings with a 5-0 win over #15 Omaha Friday night at Magness Arena.

Jaillet turned away 34 shots in the win and kept a clean slate for the third time this season. But Denver’s (13-6-4, 7-4-2-1 NCHC) high-powered offense, which produced 48 shots on net, gave Jaillet more than enough cushion. The Pioneers got multi-point nights from Ian Mitchell (1G, 3A), Henrik Borgstrom (3A), Jarid Lukosevicius (2G) and Dylan Gambrell (2A).

After Jaillet and UNO (12-10-1, 5-8-0-0) goaltender Evan Weninger denied several scoring chances throughout the first period, the Pioneers grabbed momentum going into intermission after Lukosevicius tipped home a point shot from Mitchell on the power play. The teams combined for 28 first period shots, with DU contributing 15.

In the first few minutes after the break, Mitchell flashed his ability to jump up in the offensive rush and beat Weninger on a shot that never left the ice. It was just his second tally of the year, although his four-point night brought him to 19 on the season, fifth on the team and eighth in the nation among freshmen.

The second period would end 2-0 with the Mavericks still hanging and being outshot 30-27. But as the game moved into the final frame, UNO continued to struggle while down a skater, as Troy Terry blew the game open in the final seconds of a power play with his ninth goal of the season.

Less than midway through the final period, the Pioneers stomped their foot down with a third power-play goal. Lukosevicius was faced with a wide-open net thanks to a perfect backdoor feed from Borgstrom. Lukosevicius is now tied for first in NCAA Division I with eight power play goals and is second on the team behind Borgstrom with 12 total.

With meaningless minutes ticking off the clock and the Pioneers trying to preserve Jaillet’s shutout, sophomore defenseman Erich Fear notched his first NCAA goal.

The win was perhaps one of DU’s most complete and dominant games of the season, especially over the last ten games. Shutting out a top-five scoring offense and picking up valuable NCHC points is hugely important for the team to say the least and the Pioneers will have a chance to go for the sweep Saturday night.

Looking at the conference standings, the win jumps Denver over North Dakota, who fell to Minnesota Duluth on the road Friday night. The Pioneers sit tied for second with Western Michigan at 24 points, one point behind first-place St. Cloud State.