In a fast-paced and hard-hitting show at Magness Arena Friday night, Colorado College and Denver skated to a 1-1 in the first of two games this weekend. The point earned by Denver gave them the Gold Pan trophy for this year. Both teams had numerous scoring chances, but goalies Juho Olkinuora of Denver and Joe Howe of CC shined all night long, and especially late in the contest.
"Their goaltender is one of the best in the country," Tiger coach Scott Owens said of Olkinuora. "He's big, he covers the net, and he's quick. I thought Joe battled and competed like a senior. He's played well in this building, and I was happy for him."
Denver scored first with just under three minutes left in the first period. Larkin Jacobson, who had just left the penalty box, swept around behing the play and beat Howe from the right circle after taking a pass from David Makowski.
The scored stayed that way until midway through the second, when CC sophomore Jordan DiGiando got his second of the season, beating Olkinuora, also from the right circle. Peter Maric assisted on the goal for his first career point.
The third period was very busy. The Pioneers appeared to take the lead at the 1:15 mark when a shot by defenseman Nolan Zajac got past Howe. But after a very lengthy review, it was waived off for goaltender interference, as one of the Pioneers had gotten a stick up into Howe's chest during the shot.
Then Olkinuora stepped up, first making a rollover, backhanded save on Eamonn McDermott with 6:40 left. He then stopped Alexander Krushelnyski from point-blank range with 3:30 remaining. After regulation, the score still stood at 1-1.
In the overtime, it was Howe's turn to shine, as the Pioneers fired seven shots in the five-minute extra session. Howe made a pair of saves with 2:45 left, then stopped Ty Loney on a breakaway with 1:37 to go, and capped it off with a save on a Chris Knowlton attempt at the end of a 3 on 1 rush with just 56 seconds remaining.
The point earned by the Tigers left them in 9th place in the WCHA, but Owens was very pleased with the performance. "If we get that effort game in and game out here down the stretch, we'll win our share of games. And we'll be a good team in the playoffs."
None of the six home teams in the conference won on Friday night. So Denver slipped to 5th place, but just a point out of a three-way second place tie. The final game of the season between the two schools takes place Saturday night at World Arena, with faceoff at 7pm.