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The Fight for Eight

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Jordan Tolller, Journalist

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Saturday night was the college hockey national championship between #1 ranked Denver and #2 ranked Minnesota Duluth. Both teams have had a breakout season.

To start the season, Denver played in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Magness Arena. Unfortunately, they lost to Ohio State 2-3 and Boston College 1-3. The Pioneers had a breakthrough season the rest of the year finishing with a record of 33-7-4; which is 33 wins, 7 losses, and 4 ties. Along with an impressive record, in the second half of the season, Denver had a 13 game winning streak. In the NCAA Tournament, Denver beat Michigan Tech in the Midwest Regionals 5-2 with Colin Staub scoring two of the goals. The Pioneers then advanced to Midwest Regional Final against Penn State. Denver got out to an early lead, but Penn State came back to tie it up in the second period. But it wasn’t enough. Denver beat Penn State 6-3 with a hat trick for Troy Terry, a sophomore from Denver, CO. and two goals for Jarid Lukosevicious, a sophomore from Squamish, B.C. The Pioneers then beat Notre Dame 6-1 in the Semifinals, which led them to face Minnesota Duluth.

Minnesota Duluth had an impressive season as well. Duluth opened their season beating Michigan Tech 6-0 and 4-3 and tying to Mass-Lowell in over time. The Bulldogs finished their season with a record of 28-7-7, which is 28 wins, 7 losses, and 7 ties. Duluth finished their season winning the NCHC Championship with a 4-3  win over North Dakota. The Bulldogs then went on to beat Ohio State and Boston University, both in overtime, 3-2. Willie Raskob, the senior from Hastings, Minn., scored the game winner against Ohio State and Adam Johnson, the sophomore from Hibbing, Minn., scored the game winner against Boston University. Duluth went on to play Harvard in semifinal. Harvard got out to an early lead, but the Bulldogs came back strong beating Harvard 2-1 with Alex Iafallo, the senior from Eden, N.Y., scoring the game winner with 27 seconds left in the game. This led them to face Denver in the national championship.

In the championship game, Denver got out to a lead in the second period with two goals 16 seconds apart both from Jarid Lukosevicious.

Duluth cut the Denver lead to 2-1 with a goal by Alex Iafallo, but Denver came back with another goal from Lukosevicious, making the first hat trick in the national championship 24 years. The last hat trick was by Jim Montgomery, who happens to be the head coach of the Pioneers. Duluth managed to get one more goal making the game 3-2, but it wasn’t enough. Denver won the national championship for the first time in Jim Montgomery’s career as the head coach and Denver’s eighth championship in school history.

The 2016-2017 Pioneers made more history than just the national championship. Sophomore Troy Terry was the U.S. World Junior Team player who scored the game winning goal lead Team U.S.A. to the gold medal game. Junior goalie Tanner Jaillet won the Mike Richter Award, which is awarded to the top Division 1 goaltender. Coach Montgomery was awarded the Spencer T. Penrose Coach of the Year.  Senior Will Butcher won the Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded to the top player in college hockey.

Both, Denver and Minnesota Duluth, had breakthrough seasons and college hockey is going  to have to watch out for these two teams next year.

 

 

 

 

David H. Hendrickson • Hockey East Columnist • April 7, 2017. “Jaillet Wins Mike Richter Award, Completing Hat Trick of Individual Honors for Denver.” USCHO.com. N.p., 08 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

“Minnesota-Duluth 2016‑17 Schedule/Results.” College Hockey News. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

“Mountain DU.” College Hockey News. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

Clarke, Mary. “Denver Wins 2017 NCAA Hockey Tournament Championship.” SBNation.com. SBNation.com, 08 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

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CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 8: Denver Pioneers defeat the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 3-2 in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship on April 8, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois at the United Center. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

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