DENVER, Colo. – No. 2 Denver scored four goals in the second period en route to a 6-0 win over Air Force in a non-conference college hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 30, at Magness Arena in Denver, Colo.
In the first 10 minutes of the first period, the Pioneers outshot Air Force, 11-1, and took a 1-0 lead. Just after a DU power-play expired, Liam Finley’s back hand shot from the bottom of the right circle caromed into the air and behind Billy Christopoulos at 6:14. In the final 10 minutes of the period, Air Force outshot Denver, 8-3.
The game turned in the second period when the Pioneers had six power plays in the first 13 minutes of the period. Air Force killed the first four, but then the Pioneers scored four goals in just over two minutes for a 5-0 lead. Power-play goals by Jarid Lukosevicius and Jaakko Heikkinen put the Pioneers up 3-0. DU then capitalized on two odd-man rushes for two goal in 51 seconds. Logan O’Connor scored at 13:58 for a 4-0 lead. After the goal, Christopolous was pulled from the net and replaced by freshman Zack LaRocque. The Pioneers took a 5-0 lead at 14:49 when Ryan Barrow put back a rebound of O’Connor’s shot at 14:49 on the rush.
Late in the third period, Denver (11-5-4 overall) extended their lead to 6-0 when Rudy Junda scored on the power play at 14:23.
Denver outshot Air Force, 46-18, in the game. DU was 3-for-11 while Air Force was 0-for-3. Christopoulos made 30 saves for the Falcons in 34 minutes before he was replaced by LaRocque. LaRocque played the final 26 minutes and made 10 saves while allowing two goals. Tanner Jaillet made 15 saves for the Pioneers.
“We can’t afford to get off to a slow start like we did tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We got out shot 11-1. They were pitching and we were catching. All we can control is what we can control and we didn’t get off to a good start. What was encouraging is that we played better the final six or eight minutes of the period and were only down one goal because Billy Christopoulos played really well. We’ll go back to work on Monday and we will be better next weekend against Mercyhurst.”
The Falcons (8-9-3) return to conference play with a two-game home series against Mercyhurst, Jan. 5-6, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Friday’s game starts at 7:05 pm MT while Saturday’s faceoff is at 5:05 pm.