Feb. 28, 2009

Courtesy of Denver

DENVER – Kyle Ostrow (Calgary, Alberta) notched a pair of goals and Patrick Mullen (Pittsburgh, Pa.) chipped in with a goal and one assist as the Denver Pioneers (20-9-4, 16-7-3 WCHA) pulled out a 3-1 win over the St. Cloud State Huskies (17-14-2, 12-12-1 WCHA) tonight in front of 5,478 fans at Magness Arena.


With the victory, the Pioneers clinched home ice in the WCHA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. Denver – which is now 3-0-1 in its last four outings - sits in first place in the WCHA standings with 35 points, two ahead of idle North Dakota.


“St. Cloud’s first goal really seemed to give them life and took some juice out of our mental game, but as we’ve showed a few times this year, we’re capable of coming back,” Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. “It was a hard-fought, good win for us.”


The Huskies picked up the lone goal of the first period when Drew LeBlanc knocked a loose puck past Marc Cheverie (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia) following a goalmouth scramble at 12:10.


Ostrow evened the game at the 8:44 mark of the second period by depositing the rebound of a Joe Colborne (Calgary, Alberta) attempt by St. Cloud netminder Jase Weslosky (32 saves).


Mullen scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 2:22 mark of the third period. Joined by Luke Salazar (Thornton, Colo.) on a 2-on-1 rush, Mullen elected to keep the puck himself and shelved a shot over Weslosky’s shoulder for his third goal of the season and first since Dec. 5 at Michigan Tech.


Ostrow added an insurance goal on the power play with 4:18 remaining in the contest, with assists going to Salazar and J.P. Testwuide (Vail, Colo.).


Cheverie was solid in goal, stopping 25 shots to pick up his 20th victory of the season.


DU killed off all four of St. Cloud’s power-play chances tonight. The Pioneers have now thwarted their opponents’ last 12 power-play opportunities after holding Wisconsin off the scoreboard on eight chances last Saturday.


The Pioneers and Huskies will finish up their weekend set tomorrow night at Magness Arena, with puck drop scheduled for 7:07 p.m.


Notes: DU sits fourth in the latest PairWise Rankings...Junior forward Rhett Rakhshani (Huntington Beach, Calif.) left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return...Cheverie, coming off his third career shutout last Saturday against the Badgers, saw his shutout streak end at 90:39 on LeBlanc’s first-period tally...Ostrow is now working on a three-game point streak, having totaled three goals and two assists during that span...Ostrow was named First Star of the game, followed by Mullen and Cheverie...The Pioneers are 36-29-4 all-time against the Huskies, including a 19-12-2 mark in Denver.