DENVER — Five different players scored goals as No. 10 Denver fought off No. 6 North Dakota for a 5-4 victory on Friday at Magness Arena.
The win improved Denver’s record to 16-9-5 overall and 11-7-5 in the conference play. North Dakota fell to 16-9-6 overall and 11-6-6 in WCHA action.
The win extended the Pioneers’ unbeaten streak at home to seven consecutive games.
The Pioneers now sit tied for sixth place in the WCHA standings at 27 points with Wisconsin. Both teams are just a single point behind North Dakota for fifth.
“I thought we worked very hard,” Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. “We were ready to expend a lot of energy and we did.”
North Dakota got on the board just 2:59 into regulation when freshman Rocco Grimaldi buried a slap shot from just inside the blue line to give UND an early 1-0 advantage.
Denver needed just 2:49 to knot the score at one when sophomore Zac Larraza ripped a slapper of his own from just outside the left circle that beat UND goalie Zane Gothberg over his shoulder on the stick side at 5:48 of the first period.
Senior Carter Rowney reclaimed the lead at 2-1 for North Dakota just 1:08 into the second period when he beat Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora on a shot following a rebound off an attempt from teammate Derek Forbort, who sent in a wrister from high in the slot.
The Pioneers answered with a pair of goals in a span of 25 seconds to claim their first lead of the contest at 3-2 less than three minutes later in the second. Senior Chris Knowlton started the flurry with his team-leading 13th goal of the season with a blast from the top of the right circle on the power play at 3:43, tying the score at two.
Sophomore Daniel Doremus followed just 25 seconds later at 4:08 with an unassisted goal. He took a shot from a tough angle beneath the right circle that deflected off the left skate of North Dakota’s Gothberg into the back of the net for a 3-2 Denver advantage.
The two scores marked the sixth time this season that Denver has registered multiple goals in a span of a minute or less.
Denver kept the pressure on as sophomore Joey LaLeggia increased the Pioneers’ lead to 4-2 by capitalizing on another power-play opportunity with a successful blast from high in the slot, for his team-best sixth goal of the season when playing with a man advantage and his 11th overall.
|NORTH DAKOTA VS. DENVER|
North Dakota got to within 4-3 at 9:22 in the second on a power-play goal by senior Corban Knight, his team-best 14th of the season, with a successful one-timer from just inside the left circle.
Olkinuora stymied North Dakota on its best chance to tie the game in the second, when he stopped Danny Kristo’s one-timer attempt from just a foot outside the crease with 4:20 remaining in the frame.
Junior Nick Shore once again gave the Pioneers a two-goal margin with his 12th score of the season 3:45 into the third period when he followed a shot by Knowlton, successfully cleaning up the rebound.
UND managed to get to within 5-4 on a short-handed one-timer by Kristo from the right of the crease which was set up by Knight with 11:31 remaining in regulation.
Olkinuora made another crucial stop to secure the win for the Pioneers with under nine minutes remaining in the final period as he dived to his right and used his stick to swat the puck out of the air and secure the one-goal advantage.
For the game, Olkinuora finished with 35 saves, while Gothberg turned away 22 shots in net for North Dakota and Clarke Saunders notched 14 after replacing Gothberg four minutes into the second period.
Denver outshot North Dakota 41-39, including a 17-9 advantage in the opening period. The Pioneers finished the game 2-for-5 on power-play opportunities, while North Dakota posted a 1 of 7 success rate.
Denver won the the overall faceoff battle 45-40. Nick Shore led the Pioneers on the draws, capturing 21 of 34.