DENVER – The No. 3 ranked Denver Pioneers took on the No. 1 team in the nation, the St. Cloud Huskies, on Friday night and the game was as advertised. It was back and forth the whole game but in the end, the Pios were able to pull out a 4-2 victory after getting swept last week.

“I thought our effort was fantastic,” head coach Jim Montgomery said after the game. “I thought we were relentless. I still don’t think we’re even close to a finished product, which is good. But when you have effort like that, you’re going to win hockey games because the hockey gods are with you.”

The Pioneers kicked things off with none other than Henrik Borgström. Borgström brought the puck down, made a little move on the St. Cloud defender, toe-dragged his way across the crease and put the puck in the top right corner to give the Pios the 1-0 lead. That was the only one that was able to get past either goaltender in the first period.

“[Borgström’s] so creative,” Montgomery said on his sophomore phenom. “He scores goals like I’ve never seen that goal before. That first one, that was incredible. And he has the poise to take it from one side of the net to the other and then the skill to roof it from that close to the net is unreal.”

It took just five minutes into the second period for the Huskies to get on the board. Patrick Newell found Mika Ivonen at the backdoor to tie the game at one. Four minutes later, the Pios answered when Jarid Lukosevicius was able to find the back of the net off of a beautiful feed from Dylan Gambrell. The Pioneers had to kill a few penalties after that but they killed them off and kept it a 2-1 hockey game heading into the third period.

“We cannot give up as many power plays as we did,” Montgomery said after the game. “We have to be a little bit better with our discipline, our angling and using the body instead of using sticks.”

The Pios picked up an insurance goal early in the third period, Ian Mitchell fired a puck from the point that Lukosevicius was able to get his stick on to redirect it into the back of the net and give DU the 3-1 lead. St. Cloud’s Mikey Eyssimont thought he made it 3-2 on a backhander that was later reversed on review after figuring out that one of the Huskies interfered with the goalie.

That call had a major impact on the game as the Huskies pulled within one goal with about a minute left in the game, getting their first power play goal of the game after failing on their first five tries. Borgström scored an empty-netter with 32 seconds left in the game to make it 4-2 and put the icing on the cake in a fast-paced action-packed hockey game.

THREE STARS:

First star: Jarid Lukosevicius (DU)
Second star: Henrik Borgström (DU)
Third star: Tanner Jaillet (DU)

BY THE NUMBERS:

TURNING POINT OF THE GAME:

The no-goal call by the officials after review that was originally called a good goal for the St. Cloud Huskies.

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

WHAT’S NEXT:

The Pios will have their second game of the series with St. Cloud State on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. MST.

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As a sophomore 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.