MINNEAPOLIS -- Senior Shawn Ostrow broke up a scoreless game just 18 seconds into the third period with his 11th goal of the season as the No. 10 Denver ice hockey team edged No. 2 Minnesota 2-0 in the opening game of a pivotal WCHA Conference series on Friday at Mariucci Arena.

Ostrow broke the deadlock at the 19:42 mark of the final period after sophomore Ty Loney put a shot on net from the left circle that was deflected by Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox just outside the crease and ricocheted off Ostrow's skate and through the five-hole for the eventual game winner.

Loney added an empty-net goal with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to account for the final 2-0 margin.

The game featured a matchup between the nation's top power-play unit in Minnesota against Denver's top-ranked penalty-kill squad. The Pioneers got the better of that battle and helped set the tone early by shutting down Minnesota on all five of its power-play opportunities and limited the Gophers to just two shots on those man advantages.

The win improved Denver's record to 17-10-5 overall and 12-8-5 in the conference loop. Minnesota fell to 21-7-5 overall and 13-7-5 in WCHA action. The victory also marked the Pioneers' ninth win in their last games overall against the Gophers. Denver holds a 4-1 record in its last five games against Minnesota in Minneapolis. 

The Pioneers now sit in a three-way tie for fifth place in the WCHA standings at 29 points with Minnesota State and Wisconsin. Both teams sit just a single point behind Nebraska-Omaha for third.

The two teams skated to a scoreless first period that featured few scoring chances. Denver outshot Minnesota 10-4 during the opening 20 minutes despite seeing the Gophers garner a pair of power play opportunities, while never earning a man-advantage on its end.

The second period saw each team generate a few scoring chances, but they came away empty. Both squads had a single power-play opportunity in the period that saw the Gophers outshoot the Pioneers 12-9.

Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora made 33 saves en route to his third shutout of the season and fifth of his career. Wilcox turned away 34 shots in defeat.

Denver outshot Minnesota 36-33, including a 10-4 advantage in the opening period. The Pioneers won 23 of 29 face off chances. Ostrow led the Pioneers on the draws, capturing 12 of 23.