DENVER, COLO. Jarid Lukosevicius scored twice and Troy Terry added four assists to lead fourth-ranked Denver past Colorado College, 6-1, in the deciding game three of the NCHC quarterfinal series at Magness Arena.
The Pioneers (20-9-8) advance to the 2018 Frozen Faceoff in St. Paul, Minn., while the Tigers’ season comes to and end with a 15-17-5 record. The 15 victories are the most in one season since the 2012-13 season and a fifth-place tie in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference was the highest finish since joining the conference prior to the 2013-14 season.
The Tigers started Sunday’s game shorthanded as defensemen Cole McCaskill and Kristian Blumenschein missed Sunday’s game due to injuries suffered this weekend and Colorado College played with only five healthy defensemen.
Logan O’Connor scored the first of two Pioneer goals in the opening period. Colin Staub took the puck from the left boards to the net and found O’Connor parked on the other side of CC goalie Alex Leclerc and O’Connor put it in the net.
Later in the period, just seconds after killing a penalty, Terry stole the puck deep in the CC end and found Tariq Hammond in the slot. Hammond fired a shot past Leclerc’s stick for a 2-0 lead.
At the 6:33 mark of the second period, Lukosevicius took a drop pass from Terry and blasted a shot from the high slot past Leclerc to make it 3-0.
Later in the period, Ryan Barrow was given a major and game misconduct penalty for a direct hit to the head of Westin Michaud, giving the Tigers a five-minute power play. However, just 1:05 into the power play, the Tigers were called for too many men on the ice.
The Pioneers put the game away with a pair of goals during the 4-on-4 play. Henrik Borgstrom scored at the 14:40 mark of the second when he took the puck to the front of the net and it deflected high into the air and behind Leclerc into the net. Alec Calvaruso replaced Leclerc and, just 18 seconds later, Liam Finlay scored on a rebound to make it 5-0.
Mason Bergh scored at the 7:35 mark of the third to cut the lead to 5-1 with his 18th goal and 40th point of the season. Bergh and Nick Halloran (45 points) are the first Tiger duo with 40 points in a season since 2012-13 (Rylan Schwartz and Alexander Krushelnyski).
Lukosevicius scored his second goal and the final tally of the game at the 8:51 mark of the third period off assists from Terry and Borgstrom.
Leclerc finished the game with 25 saves, while Calvaruso had nine. Jalliett had 18 saves in his final home game and Devin Cooley had nine after relieving Jalliet midway through the third period. Neither team scored on the power play, with CC having five opportunities and Denver failing on both of their man advantages. The Tigers killed 24-of-25 penalties this season against the defending national champions.
“Right now it stings,” head coach Mike Haviland said. “But the future is bright and we can take a ton of positives from this season. However, we were not satisfied and we have to come back hungry next year.”