Denver standout Troy Terry rose to the occasion and put Colorado College's season one loss away from being over.
The sophomore recorded three points (two assists) in the first 9 minutes and 11 seconds of the second period to put the Pioneers comfortably ahead in a 4-1 DU victory in Game 1 of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff series.
The loss put 8-23-4 CC on the brink of elimination with Game 2 at the top-ranked Pioneers at 7 p.m. Saturday. It continued Denver's current 12-game win streak and a 13-0 run versus the Tigers the past three seasons.
If CC hopes to extend this season, the Tigers must play harder and more disciplined than they did in the second and third periods Friday.
"Compete for 60 (minutes) and not for 20 and think it's easy," CC coach Mike Haviland said. "But it's a series and we have to be better (Saturday)."
Terry, who was the American shootout hero of the 2017 world junior championships, opened the decisive three-goal spurt when he fired a rising shot that deflected past freshman Alex Leclerc only 97 seconds into the second. The puck appeared to hit Tigers defenseman Andrew Farny with the deflection sending the puck in just under the crossbar.
That goal was followed by defensive blunders as the Pioneers repeatedly punched holes in the CC defense. The second Pioneers goal came after both Terry and Liam Finlay bulled their way to the front of the CC net.
Terry took the initial shot, which was saved by a besieged Leclerc (42 saves), but it bounced over to Finlay for the tap-in power-play goal and a 2-0 lead.
"The goal he got there got them going," Haviland said. "Too many men on the ice is a bad mistake. They score and make it 2-0. You cannot stand around and watch. But you cannot take an undisciplined penalty after you give up a goal."
Terry later executed a nice drop pass to Blake Hillman who then fired past a screened Leclerc for a 3-0 lead for Denver (27-6-4) with 10:49 left.
CC would cut into the Denver lead when sophomore Westin Michaud ripped a high shot that flew over Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet's left shoulder and went in off the crossbar to make it 3-1.
But the Tigers could not cut into the DU lead and frustration would boil over in the third period with a parade to the penalty box by both teams, but especially CC. That led to the final DU power-play goal for Matt Marcinew and kept CC from mounting a comeback.