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Denver rallies to beat Colorado College hockey team and force a deciding game Sunday

March 10, 2018 Updated: March 11, 2018 at 10:40 am
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Colorado College center Troy Conzo slides in after a shot attempt as University of Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet snags the puck out of the air at the Magness Arena on Saturday, March 10, 2018. The University of Denver won 3-2 to tie up the series 1-1, with a tiebreaker game Sunday. (Nadav Soroker, The Gazette)

DENVER - Troy Terry scored twice in the third period to give Denver a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Colorado College on Saturday night and force Game 3.

Trey Bradley and Kristian Blumenschein scored short-handed and on the power play, respectively, to stake the Tigers to a 2-1 lead. Alex Leclerc made a career-high 46 saves.

“We didn’t expect to win two straight. It would have been nice, but that’s what a three-game series is for,” Bradley said.

The final blow in a tightly contested season series will fall Sunday night at Magness Arena. The teams are playing for a trip to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff next weekend.

“It’s going to come down to this,” Bradley said. “The series between us the whole season is tied, so this should be a good one.”

Late in the first period, Christiano Versich was whistled for slashing. Toward the end of the power play, a Pioneer fell at the blue line with Bradley lurking. Bradley corralled the puck and flew off alone, going around DU goaltender Tanner Jaillet stick side to score CC’s second short-handed goal of the season.

Five penalties, including the second five-minute major of the game, were awarded after Mason Bergh was boarded and Nick Halloran roughly retaliated to cap an emotional first period.

“There was desperation on both sides,” coach Mike Haviland said.

Denver star Henrik Borgstrom made a goal stick during the power play that carried over into the second period. His wicked shot beat Leclerc cleanly.

Blumenschein scored the go-ahead goal late in the second with the man advantage. Used to distributing the puck at the point and sometimes blasting one on net, he held onto it and moved in closer before beating Jaillet.

Terry’s first third-period goal was inspected for a kicking motion and passed muster. The officials ruled it went off a CC stick.

The Pioneers and Tigers went deep into the third tied 2-2, then Terry struck again on the rush with 5:31 left in regulation.

“The best player in college hockey showed up tonight, simple as that,” Haviland said. “He can do that to you. He’s dangerous.”

The Tigers benefited from a review in the first period. A Blake Hillman shot from the point beat a screened Leclerc and it looked as though the Pioneers had scored their first of the series 13:05 into the game. A goal was called on the ice, but it was overturned when a review convinced officials Leclerc had been interfered with.

Most of the breaks, though, Leclerc created for himself. He held on as the Tigers tired in the third period and rarely pressed for the equalizer.

“He’s been terrific here in Magness, as he has most of the season. We can’t blame him, obviously,” Bradley said. “I know he’ll be ready tomorrow, and so will we.”

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