Tigers Fall to Denver, 6-1, in NCHC Third-Place Game

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ST. PAUL, MINN. Ian Mitchell scored two goals and added two assists to lead fifth-ranked Denver past Colorado College, 6-1, Saturday in the third-place game of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Liam Finlay posted two goals and an assist and Tyson McLellan had a goal and two assists as the Pioneers improved to 22-11-5 on the season.

The Tigers’ 2018-19 season comes to an end with a 17-20-4 record after finishing the season with 16 straight games against nationally-ranked teams, including 11 in the Top 10. The team’s 17 victories are the most in one season since winning 18 during the 2012-13 campaign.

Jarid Lukosevicius opened the scoring for the Pioneers, taking a pass from Emilio Petterson and completing a 2-on-1 rush at the 5:49 mark of the first period.

The Tigers took advantage of a couple of DU penalties later in the period and Trey Bradley scored his team-leading 15th of the season during the 5-on-3 advantage with a wrist shot from the right circle that went over the left shoulder of Denver goalie Devin Cooley at the 15:01 mark. Mason Bergh recorded his 21st assist of the season on the play while Christiano Versich collected his 12th.

Denver took the lead back when Ian Mitchell scored a power-play goal from the point at the 8:29 mark of the second period, then Liam Finlay scored 59 seconds later after taking a back door pass from Michael Davies and stuffing the puck past CC goalie Alex Leclerc, who finished with 23 saves.

The Pioneers tacked on goals by Mitchell, Finlay and McLellan in the third period. Cooley had 22 saves as the Pioneers held a 29-23 advantage in shots.

“We were chasing the game for the last 40 (minutes),” CC head coach Mike Haviland said. “We stood around and got into penalty trouble. Give (Denver) credit. They got some backdoor goals we haven’t given up recently.”

Several team goals were achieved by the Tigers this season, including winning the Pikes Peak Trophy with a 6-1 victory over Air Force on Oct. 13, and regaining The Gold Pan by winning the regular-season series with Denver (2-1-1). They also advanced to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff for the first time in the six-year existence of the league.

Saturday’s contest was the final game at Colorado College for eight seniors, including forwards Bradley, Bergh, Trevor Gooch, Westin Michaud and Tanner Ockey, and defensemen Cole McCaskill, Andrew Farny and Ben Israel.