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Colorado College hockey team eliminated from NCHC playoffs by Denver; Air Force advances in AHC tournament

March 11, 2018 Updated: March 12, 2018 at 6:13 am
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Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc walks off the ice after CC's 6-2 loss to the University of Denver at the Magness Arena on Sunday, March 11, 2018. (Nadav Soroker, The Gazette)

DENVER - In the last game of a turnaround season, Colorado College was spent. And Denver was ready.

A tight three-game National Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament series ended in a blowout, with the Pioneers moving on thanks to a 6-1 win Sunday at Magness Arena.

Mason Bergh scored CC’s only goal far too late.

“We didn’t show up really at all,” Bergh said. “Definitely expected more with what was on the line there, and especially against our rivals.”

The Tigers came into the second period with a little more energy, but Denver put the game out of reach on a 2-on-1. Henrik Borgstrom sent the puck to Troy Terry, who hit the trailing Jarid Lukosevicius for a goal and a 3-0 lead at 6:33.

A fluky goal from Borgstrom to make it 4-0 ended Alex Leclerc’s night. The goaltender, who made 108 saves through the weekend, missed a poke check and it popped up before finding its way behind him.

Terry finished the night with four assists. The Anaheim Ducks prospect and Hobey Baker finalist had six points through the weekend after going scoreless against CC during the regular season. He missed the February series while he represented the United States at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The Tigers played with five defensemen as Kristian Blumenschein, who scored Saturday night, joined Cole McCaskill on the injury list.

“We were really tired on the back end here,” coach Mike Haviland said. “No excuse, but that’s what you get.”

The Tigers didn’t get the start they wanted when Colin Staub found Logan O’Connor waiting at the back door 5:11 in. Denver scored first for the only time in the series.

Right after Colorado College found a little life on the power play, Terry - who scored twice in the third period to help Denver take Game 2 - fed Tariq Hammond between the faceoff circles. The Pioneers captain made it 2-0 with his first goal of the season.

“It took longer than we wanted it to, but we finally got to them tonight,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said.

Denver didn’t let Alec Calvaruso, who made nine saves in relief, settle in. Liam Finlay found and buried the puck as the freshman goaltender untangled himself from his defenseman. The second period ended 5-0.

The Pioneers rested goaltender Tanner Jaillet for most of the third period ahead of their semifinal series against Minnesota-Duluth. Bergh scored on Devin Cooley to end the shutout bid 7:35 into the third. Denver restored the five-goal lead 1:16 later with Lukosevicius’ second of the night.

The Tigers fell hard in spite of jumping out to a 1-0 series lead.

“I don’t know where we were tonight, so we’ve got to figure that out,” Haviland said. “We’ll reevaluate after we’ve calmed down a bit.”

In West Point, N.Y., Air Force defeated Army 1-0 in overtime on a goal by senior and Colorado Springs native Tyler Ledford. The Falcons won the Atlantic Hockey Conference quarterfinal series against their rival 2-1 and advanced to the semifinals Friday in Rochester, N.Y.

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