The Denver Pioneers came into Miami looking for a sweep against the RedHawks in this weekend series. The game started with a lot of special teams action with Miami pulling the first power play of the night. Though Denver was able to kill it off, Miami took the momentum of the man advantage and get an early 1-0 lead off a top shelf goal by Carson Meyer. At about the midway point in the period, the Pioneers went on their first power play. Just like earlier, the defending team killed the penalty easily, but the other team used the energy to find the back of the net. Troy Terry skated into the zone, deked around the defenders, and tied the game at one.
Emil Romig gave Denver the lead on a soft shot that trickled past RedHawk goaltender Ryan Larkin. The goal came less than a minute after Denver’s first goal, putting Miami on its heels and sending them into scramble mode and resulting in another power play for the visiting team. As the period wound to a close, a questionable call against Miami put Denver on yet another power play that the team would take into the second period. At the buzzer, the Pioneers led the RedHawks 2-1.
The second period has been Denver’s all season. The team has outscored its opponents 46-18 in the middle frame. However, it was Miami that got on the board first. The puck dropped with Denver on the power play, but the team was unable to get anything set up. Shortly after, Miami saw a man advantage that did end up with a puck in the net. Grant Hutton took a pass along the blueline and sent a wrister past Jaillet’s glove, hitting the top corner cleanly and tying the game at two goals each. The goal was evidence of a play adjustment from the RedHawk’s coach, one that forced the Pioneers to change things up to match them.
It didn’t take long for Terry to reinstate the Denver lead as he corralled the puck off a face off in the offensive zone, moved across the slot to the right circle, and threw a no-look shot on net. The resulting goal put the Pioneers up 3-2 with 13 minutes left in the period which saw furious, end-to-end action but no goals.
The energy spilled over into the third period, but the dam finally broke with Ronig’s second goal of the night. Colin Staub chased the puck down behind Miami’s net and dished it back to Ronig who was crashing the net with speed up the middle. With just under 15 minutes left in the game, Denver led 4-2.
Lukosevicius tried to get in on the scoring action by jamming in the puck under Larkin and a pile of bodies in the crease. It all started with Terry speeding into the offensive zone and stick handling around the defender to get a shot on net. Larkin made the initial save, but the puck dropped out of his pad, and he was unaware of its location. Eventually Lukosevicius was able to get a piece of it while sprawled on the ice. However, the goal went under review and the decision was reversed, preserving the 4-2 score.
Unfortunately for Miami, Tariq Hammonnd got the goal back after a give and go with Evan Janssen just seconds later, establishing a 5-2 lead. A bad center ice collision sent Lukosevicius to the locker room with a five minute major and game misconduct for a knee-to-knee hit. While it didn’t look intentional, it’s an automatic call intended to protect the players. Miami finished the period on the power play, but the score remained 5-2 at the final buzzer as Denver extended its win streak to seven.