Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published January 26 2014
Denver deals UND defeat on SaturdayDENVER – The University of North Dakota will have to wait another year to try to get a sweep in Magness Arena.
Its bid to sweep the University of Denver on the road for the first time in a decade ended in a 3-0 loss in Saturday night’s series finale.
Emil Romig scored in the second period and Zac Larraza tacked on a power-play and an empty-net goal in the third as the Pioneers became the first team to beat UND since Nov. 29.
UND’s 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) ended, and now it will have to share first place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings with the Pioneers, who improved to 13-8-5 overall and 7-5-2 in league play. UND dropped to 13-8-3 and 8-6.
Although UND outshot Denver 43-26, Pioneers goalie Sam Brittain was outstanding and handed UND its first shutout loss of the season. UND hadn’t been blanked since losing 1-0 to Bemidji State on Nov. 20, 2011.
UND put 14 shots on goal in the first, 11 in the second and 18 in the third, but couldn’t crack the senior netminder, who posted his fourth shutout of the season. Brittain, who allowed four goals in UND’s 4-2 win on Friday, improved his goals-against average 1.96 and his save percentage to .936.
“I think it was a hard-fought game all the way through,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “They scored a couple critical goals and we couldn’t get one to go. Their goaltender played great tonight. We’ve got to find a way to do a little bit better job around the crease.”
Captain Dillon Simpson added: “It’s tough to take a loss, especially on a Saturday night going home. But we have to take the positives out of this weekend. Just like the last couple weeks, we did a good job of attacking and being good down low. Now, we have a bye week to regroup and work on some things.”
For the second straight game, UND started goaltender Clarke Saunders for the injured Zane Gothberg, who did not make the trip to Denver. Saunders made 23 saves.
The Pioneers were able to keep the huge UND crowd out of the game on this evening, especially after they took a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
On the first goal, Evan Janssen took a pass from Will Butcher and entered the zone along the left boards. Janssen and left a drop pass for Romig, who wristed a shot past Saunders’ blocker at 1:42.
FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, DU, Romig (Janssen, Butcher), 1:42.
THIRD PERIOD: 3, DU, Larraza (Moore, Butcher), 1:07 (pp). 3, DU, Larraza, 19:56.
SAVES: UND, Saunders 8-7-8–23. DU, Brittain 14-11-18–43.
Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald