DENVER – Despite a third period push by the Miami Redhawks, the No. 2 ranked Denver Pioneers pulled off a 5-2 victory on Friday night.

“It’s great for our team to be able to win games like these with big momentum swings,” head coach Jim Montgomery said after the game. “That’s going to happen a lot in the NCHC Playoffs and in the NCAA Tournament and the response we had tonight after the RedHawks tied the game shows our maturity as a group and our resolve as a team.”

The Pioneers are now 14-0-1 when scoring the first goal of a hockey game and that undefeated record almost came to an end when the Pios gave up a 2-0 lead in the third period.

Denver’s power play was absolutely brilliant tonight, striking on two of their three chances and getting goals from both units.

Despite having thirteen shots in the first period, the Pioneers waited until the second frame to get the scoring going. DU’s outstanding power play is exactly where they’d score their first two goals.

Dylan Gambrell scored the first goal just 4:20 into the period, with assists coming from Evan Janssen and Liam Finlay. A minute later, the Pios got another power play and this time Troy Terry was able to tip-in a Will Butcher shot from the point, scoring his first goal back from injury.

The Redhawks weren’t ready to throw in the towel yet. 4:15 into the third period, Miami’s Zach Lavalle scored to pull the Redhawks within one. Five minutes later, Miami tied the hockey game up when Jared Brandt got the puck on the rebound and put it home.

Denver’s captain, Butcher, came up big when the Pios needed him most, sniping a shot to give the Pioneers a 3-2 lead. Gambrell provided some more cushion for the Pios when he scored on a flukey goal with 3:38 left in the hockey game. Emil Romig picked up an empty-net goal and that was the nail in the coffin.

THREE STARS:

First star: Dylan Gambrell (Denver)
Second star: Will Butcher (Denver)
Third star: Evan Janssen (Denver)

BY THE NUMBERS:

TURNING POINT OF THE GAME:

Will Butcher’s snipe to put the Pioneers up 3-2.

HIGHLIGHTS:

WHAT’S NEXT:

The Pioneers will have round 2 with the Miami Redhawks Saturday night. Puck drop set for 6:00pm MST.

As a freshman at the University of Colorado-Boulder and a Colorado native, Chase has loved Colorado sports since he was born. He is working towards a degree in the College of Media, Communication, and Information. Chase covers the CU Buffs and DU hockey for BSN Denver. Follow him on twitter for all things Colorado sports @bychasehowell.