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Denver Pioneers claim Gold Pan with dominant win

DU stays on a roll, cruises past rival Tigers

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

Facing their arch-rival Colorado College Friday night in Colorado Springs, the #2 Denver Pioneers claimed the Gold Pan for the fourth straight season with a dominant 5-1 victory. After two ties in December, DU will hold on to the trophy no matter the result of Saturday night’s game because of their series win last season.

The win is only the latest in an impressive stretch for the team, which has gone undefeated in their last eight games while putting together completely dominant team performances. Five different players scored for the Pioneers (17-6-6, 11-4-4-3 NCHC), who dominated puck possession to a 41-20 shot advantage, and senior goaltender Tanner Jaillet continued his rock-solid play with 19 saves.

Both teams came out with physical play to start the matchup, but Denver sustained significantly more offensive pressure from the jump. Minutes after coming up empty on their first power play chance, DU got on the board courtesy of Henrik Borgstrom, who banked a shot in off CC (12-13-4, 6-10-3-2) goaltender Alex Leclerc from a sharp angle.

Borgstrom later added an assist to notch his tenth multi-point game this season. His 39 points lead the team and tie him with Omaha’s David Pope for fifth in the nation.

The first period ended with DU leading 1-0 and holding a 15-8 advantage in shots on goal.

Colorado College came out of the intermission with 45 seconds left on a man advantage, but started flat-footed, letting the power play expire and then giving up a 2-on-1 chance that was finished off by Liam Finlay.

Brian Williams scored for CC near the midway point of the period.

After the top six produced goals early, it was time for DU’s fourth line to get involved. Freshman forward Kohen Olischefski found open space in front of Leclerc, hauled in a pass from Rudy Junda and finished his fifth goal of the season at 13:14 to extend DU’s lead back to 2.

Denver had a power play chance erased in the final minutes of the second period after Borgstrom was whistled for interference. While 4-on-4, Leclerc let in another soft goal off the backhand of Logan O’Connor with 11 seconds to play to give Denver a comfortable lead going into the final period.

Jarid Lukosevicius added the only goal in the final frame off an assist from Dylan Gambrell at 5:49. Lukosevicius’ 14 goals trails only Borgstrom on the team.

Both teams went 0-5 on the power play.

Denver now leads the all-time series with Colorado College 176-116-19 and is unbeaten in the last 17 matchups.

With the regulation win, Denver also gained an important point in the NCHC standings on first-place St. Cloud State, who needed 3-on-3 overtime to defeat Western Michigan, who sits in third. DU now trails the Huskies by two points, with their second series looming next weekend, and sits comfortably 12 points ahead of the Broncos.

DU and CC will close out their regular season series Saturday night at Magness Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 MT and the game will be broadcast on Altitude.