Series of the Week: Denver v. Minnesota Duluth
After two weekend ties against North Dakota, the Denver Pioneers look to keep their five-game unbeaten streak intact this weekend against the Bulldogs of Minnesota Duluth.
Denver enters the series with a record of 14-6-6 and coming in at No. 4 in the USCHO polls and tied at No. 4 with Clarkson in the PairWise rankings.
Denver’s offense averages around three and a half goals per game while surrendering just over two goals per game.
The Pioneers have arguably one of the most dangerous players in the country and a potential Hobey Baker Award winner in Henrik Borgström.
Borgström enters the weekend series leading Denver in points with 36 while scoring 16 goals and accumulating 20 assists.
The Denver offense is extremely dangerous with two other players besides Borgström scoring more than 30 points this season.
Dylan Gambrell and Troy Terry have scored 32 points and 30 points respectively while accounting for a combined 21 goals and 41 assists.
Borgström, Gambrell, and Terry are all NHL prospects with Borgström being a pick for the Florida Panthers, Gambrell being selected by San Jose Sharks and Troy Terry being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks.
In net, Denver relies heavily on senior Tanner Jaillet.
In 26 games this season, Jaillet has started 24 of them while saving 590 shots, giving up an average of 1.98 goals per game, allowing 48 goals, holding a save percentage of .925 with a record of 13-5-6.
After Duluth’s weekend split with the extremely dangerous St. Cloud State Huskies, they look to de-throne Denver from the top of the NCHC.
The Bulldogs enter this series with a record of 14-11-3 and come in at No. 9 in the USCHO polls and No. 10 in the PairWise rankings.
UMD’s offense has been surging over the past few games as they were previously below averaging three goals per game.
Now the Bulldogs are averaging right at three goals per game and are looking increase that total after a spirited effort last weekend.
The St. Cloud State series showed that the Bulldogs can indeed hang around with the nation’s elite and that they are team that should be taken seriously.
The Bulldogs also average about two and a half goals given up per contest which is why a majority of their games throughout the season have been extremely close and contested.
Dallas Stars draft pick and freshman forward Riley Tufte is the leading scorer for Duluth tallying 12 goals this season and he is an imposing figure on the ice.
Tufte stands at six feet and five inches tall and No. 27 is a major threat to opposing teams and makes his presence felt.
Freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich is the leading points scorer for the Bulldogs. He has tallied six goals and 18 assists for a total of 24 points.
Junior forward Peter Krieger has also been having a strong season by scoring nine goals and accumulating 12 assists.
In net, UMD relies heavily on freshman goalie Hunter Shepard.
This season, Shepard has started 25 of the team’s 28 games, allowing 55 goals, making 582 saves, giving up an average of 2.3 goals per game, holding a save percentage of .914, and having a record of 14-10-1.
With the season’s end just a few weeks away, this series is No. 1 versus No. 3 in the extremely competitive NCHC.
Denver won the first two meetings earlier this season and did so in Duluth’s hostile environment by the scores of 1-0 and 2-1 respectively.
With the Pioneers riding a five-game unbeaten streak and Duluth gaining confidence, this series has serious conference championship and NCAA tournament seeding implications.
The Friday night battle can be seen on CBS Sports Network at 9 p.m. and this series is one that people won’t want to miss!
Christopher Hess is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in history. To contact him, email email@example.com.