Nick Ross | Sports Writer | 12-9-2011
The 13th ranked Denver Pioneers came to the Sanford Center for the first meeting between the Pioneers and Beavers since last year’s Final Five, and defeated the Beavers by a score of 3-2. The Pioneers used a late two-goal rally to tie the game and take the lead, beating the Beavers for the fourth time in a row since BSU joined the WCHA last season.
After a scoreless first period, the Pioneers got on the board first, scoring 3:16 into the second period. The goal came from sophomore forward and Minnesota Wild draft pick, Jason Zucker. It was Zucker’s ninth goal of the season and 21st point total.
The Beavers responded quickly when Shea Walters buried his seventh goal of the season. Walters turned the puck over in the front of the net and snuck it past the Pioneer goaltender. Assists went to sophomore forward Radoslav Illo and junior defender Jake Areshenko.
The Beavers would add one more before the end of the period when Jamie MacQueen found the back of the net. MacQueen’s goal came after BSU failed to score on two power plays back-to-back. Assists were given to sophomore forward Jeff Jubinville and Areshenko. It was Areshenko’s second assist of the night and his first multi-point game of his career.
“Going up 2-1 was pretty big in the second period,” MacQueen said of the momentum after his goal. “We would like to have gotten a third one before going into the break.”
The Pioneers used a lucky bounce to tie the game up with seven minutes remaining in the third period. Bakala played the puck from behind and his pass went off the defender’s skate in front of a wide open net, where Zucker put his second goal of the game in the net. The goal would drain the momentum from the Beavers, who were controlling the period at the time.
“It was a very disappointing loss,” head coach Tom Serratore said. “We were in control in the third period. We played very good hockey for 53 minutes and to give up a goal like that it’s like a kick in the teeth.“
The Pioneers would take a lead just a few minutes later when Drew Shore scored his seventh goal of the season. Shore would sneak a shot under the arm of Bakala.
“It is demoralizing,” Serratore said. “You are trying to keep spirits up and then you see a goal like that. In situations like that you have to be mentally tough and have some push back. We didn’t have that.”
That would be the end of the scoring, with the Pioneers holding off a late charge by the Beavers.
The loss drops the Beavers to 6-9-3 (6-7-3 WCHA) on the season. The Beavers are now 2-7 against nationally ranked teams this season, with the two wins coming against at the time top ranked Miami and Lake Superior State who was also ranked 13th at the time.
The two teams will finish the series tomorrow night, with the puck dropping at 7:07 pm. The BSU women’s hockey team will take on the University of Wisconsin in the back end of their two game series at 2:07.