Athletics & Recreation

Hockey team exits NCAA championships after first round

The University of Denver hockey team allowed three goals in the first period and was never able to recover as it dropped a 6-2 decision against No. 1 seed Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Denver closes out the season 20-16-6 overall following the loss, while Boston College moves to 27-7-4 and advances to play the winner of UMass-Lowell and Minnesota State in the Northeast Regional Final on Sunday.

This marked the Pioneers 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and their seventh consecutive.  The last time Denver failed to qualify for NCAA postseason action was in 2007.

“We knew in order to have success today, we had to play near perfect hockey, and unfortunately Boston College did today,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said.  “They won faceoffs, they executed on special teams and their top line was phenomenal.  “For our season, I am really proud of our group for winning the NCHC championship in our first season in the league and adding to the tradition and legacy of Pioneer hockey.”

Boston College got on the board quickly as the nation’s leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau took a feed from teammate Kevin Hayes, who dug the puck out of the corner and slipped a pass in front of the crease to Gaudreau, who flipped a backhander top shelf to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage just 25 seconds into the action.

Senior Kevin Hayes increased the Eagles lead to 2-0 with 14:30 left in the first on a wrist shot from the slot after carrying the puck from the corner to the blue line to set up the attempt.

Gaudreau added Boston College’s third goal in the first 10 minutes of the first period with a wraparound shot that beat Denver’s Sam Brittain (Calgary, Alberta) on his glove side to up the margin to 3-0 with 10:26 remaining in the opening period.

Boston College outshot Denver 10-0 over the opening 12:50 and held the Pioneers without a shot until there was less than seven minutes in the first period.

Hayes added his second goal of the game on a one-timer from the slot with 14:31 left in the second period before Gaudreau capped off his first career hat trick with 11:47 left in the second to increase the Boston College lead to 5-0.

Hayes teamed up with Bill Arnold for BC’s third tally of the second, racing up the wing and placing a pass on Arnold’s blade for a one timer to make the score 6-0 with 4:25 remaining in the second.

Denver freshman Trevor Moore (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) broke through for the Pioneers with a put back goal with 52.6 left in the second, his team-leading 14th of the season, making the score 6-1.

Fellow Pioneer freshman Evan Janssen (Green Bay, Wis.) closed out the game’s scoring with a redirection goal with 13 seconds left in regulation to account for the final margin.

Brittain played the opening two periods and finished with 20 saves before being replaced to open the third by freshman Evan Cowley (Evergreen Colo.), who made seven stops.

Denver was outshot by Boston College 33-20.  The Pioneers finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Eagles posted a 0-for-2 clip.

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