DENVER – On the second night of the matchup between the No. 1 Denver Pioneers and the No. 3 North Dakota Fighting Hawks it was a different type of hockey game than the previous night. The Fighting Hawks had a desire to play physical which led to too many penalties and the Pioneers got to put their skill on full display. It was a 1-1 hockey game heading into the third period but the Pioneers came out like a team on a mission, scoring three goals in the third period to win 4-1.
"I think we were more committed to coming back and being on the right side of the puck," head coach Jim Montgomery said on the difference between the two nights. "I thought our defensemen did a better job of moving pucks quicker. And our support on the walls was much better tonight and that was the biggest difference."
The Fighting Hawks kicked things off seven minutes into the hockey game with a goal by Matt Kierstad off of a great backdoor pass by Collin Adams. The game was back and forth from there until Adam Plant, who didn't play last night due to injury, was checked into the boards on an illegal check that led to a five minute major and a game misconduct on UND's Cole Smith. Plant was carried off the ice but it seemed to put some life into the Pioneers. On that same power play, Henrik Borgstrom tied the hockey game on a shot that was just able to squeak by Peter Thome.
Montgomery said after the game that Plant had to go through the concussion protocol and "had to be isolated in a dark room."
The second period was much quieter. It was a back and forth hockey game where no one wanted to give an inch. DU had the majority of the scoring chances but they weren't capable of making the play to put the puck in the net and both teams were held scoreless in the second frame.
"I thought our competitiveness and our desire was awesome," Montgomery said after the game. "Going into the third period 1-1, in a game that was physical and slow and a man’s game, it was great to see the response we had in the third period to take over the game."
Troy Terry came out like a man on a mission in the third period. It took only one minute for Terry to skate circles around the UND players and find Colin Staub in front of the net who was able to put it home and make it a 2-1 hockey game. A few minutes later UND’s Jordan Kawaguchi scored a goal to tie it up that was reviewed and reversed due to goalie interference.
"(Backup goaltender) Dayton Rasmussen said that it was goaltender interference," Montgomery said. "And so we called them over and challenged it. What Dayton saw was that the guy that originally shot it put his stick where Tanner [Jaillet]'s stick was to prevent him from going left to right."
It wasn’t long after when Terry was back at it again. This time it was on the power play when Terry got a nice feed from Ian Mitchell, walked in and fired a shot past the goaltender for his 19th point of the season. Borgström put the icing on the cake a few moments later and that was all she wrote, 4-1 final.
"This is only one step for our team," Montgomery explained. "We need to mature and become harder to play against and if we do we can become a real good team."
First star: Henrik Borgström (DU)
Second star: Troy Terry (DU)
Third star: Tanner Jaillet (DU)