DU Pioneers pound Colorado College, win Gold Pan for fourth consecutive year

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Denver Pioneers are golden, again.

For the fourth consecutive year, DU is the proud annual owner of the Gold Pan, the traveling trophy that serves as bragging rights with longtime conference rival Colorado College.

Sophomore sensation Henrik Borgstrom had a hand in the Pioneers’ first two goals, scoring the first, and senior goalie Tanner Jaillet produced his 76th career win in a 5-1 triumph over the Tigers at the Broadmoor World Arena.

The fourth and final game of the annual DU-CC series is Saturday night in Denver, but the Pioneers clinched the Gold Pan by virtue of its 1-0-2 record thus far; the trophy must be won outright. DU now has a 13-12 ownership edge since the trophy was introduced in 1993.

“I loved the way the entire team played — from Jaillet on out,” DU coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s a great team effort. It’s awesome for these senior to have won four Gold Pans in a row. Now that one trophy is down we start focusing on the most important ones.”

Denver, the defending NCAA champion, improved to No. 2 in the national PairWise Ranking gained a point on St. Cloud State in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings. The Huskies, who are No. 1 in the PWR, tied Western Michigan 5-5 Friday but scored in the 3-on-3 double overtime to collect the extra conference point. The Pioneers (17-6-6, 11-4-4, 40 points) are now two points behind the Huskies (19-6-4, 13-4-2, 42); the teams play a two-game series next weekend in St. Cloud.

In extending their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2), the second-ranked Pioneers took leads of 2-0 and 3-1 and were ahead 4-1 after two periods. Three forwards — sophomores Liam Finlay and Kohen Olischefski and junior Logan O’Connor — scored in the second period after CC goalie Alex Leclerc kept his team alive in the first.

Denver generally dominated the game, but Leclerc kept it relatively close for the Tigers (12-13-4, 6-10-3) through the first period and a half.

Less than three minutes after CC’s Brian Williams beat Jaillet with a wrist shot at 10:36 of the second period to make it 2-1, Olischefski scored with a tap in and O’Connor struck with a back-hand shot in the last minute of the frame. Junior Jarid Lukosevicius scored early in the third period for a 5-1 lead.

“I thought we were relentless. I thought we never stopped attacking and pressuring,” Montgomery said. “We did a really good job of using our speed by our forwards. I thought that put them on their heels and led to a lot of grade-A scoring chances.”

DU played the first of four games without junior star winger Troy Terry, the Highlands Ranch native who is playing for the U.S. at the Olympics.