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Denver Pioneers advance to title game of NCHC Frozen Faceoff

ST. PAUL, Minn. – It’s been 49 weeks since the University of Denver beat Minnesota Duluth for the NCAA title in Chicago last spring. But judging by the on-ice action Friday, little has changed for either team.

The Pioneers got goals from Henrik Borgstrom, Colin Staub and Adam Plant, along with 25 Tanner Jaillet saves, to eke out a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs, advancing to the title game of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

Denver will face regular season champion St. Cloud State on Saturday night, with both teams already assured of trips to the NCAA tournament next week.

As they have done since that meeting in Chicago almost a year ago, the Pioneers frustrated Duluth throughout, getting excellent goaltending and keeping the highly-touted Bulldogs power play from making a difference.

“It was a good team win. I thought we started off exactly the way we wanted to play in the first period,” Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery said. “We lost our edge when we took an unnecessary penalty there, but after that I thought our penalty kill effort played great hockey for us.”

The Pioneers took a 10-4 shots advantage into the first break courtesy of a pair of power plays, one of which gave them a lead. Borgstrom got his team-leading 22nd goal of the season after a pass from Ian Mitchell. With Jarid Lukosevicius posted at the top of the crease blocking Duluth goalie Hunter Shepard’s view, Borgstrom’s long range wrist shot hit eluded the goalie’s glove and caught the net just inside the right post.

“You can’t give that team that much room,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said of the first period. “In some ways we were fortunate that it was only 1-0 after one.”

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