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Pioneers shutout and shutdown by Blacker and Broncos

Chase Howell Avatar
January 14, 2017

The No. 1 ranked Denver Pioneers traveled to take on the No. 14 Western Michigan Broncos in a battle of two of the best hockey teams in the NCHC conference. The game lived up to the billing with both teams flying around the ice in a fast-paced hockey game. It was the Broncos who were able to pull out the victory 3-0 on this night.

“It was a tremendous game,” WMU’s head coach Andy Murray said after the game. “We didn’t steal a hockey game here tonight. Usually, in life, you get what you deserve and we deserved a victory here tonight.”

Special teams were the hot topic heading into the weekend in Kalamazoo with WMU boasting the eighth best power play in the nation, converting 23.2% of their opportunities. Denver was able to stay disciplined for the majority of the game, but all they had to was give the Broncos one extended opportunity and they were able to capitalize. 

The first period consisted of lots of back-and-forth play with both teams struggling to spend sustained time in each other’s zone. Western Michigan’s plan was to try and slow down DU on the forecheck. It definitely caught the Pioneers by surprise early but it didn’t take long for them to settle down.

In the second period, the Pios were able to put Western Michigan on their heels. They were able to create the best scoring chances of the game to that point, but just couldn’t find the back of the net for the entirety of the period despite leading the shot category 14-5.

With 3:28 into the third period, Adam Plant was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a brutal check on Wade Allison. Anytime a great power play like Western Michigan gets five minutes to go to work, they’re probably going to hurt you. This gave the Broncos the window they needed to take a 1-0 lead in the hockey game off of a Frederik Tiffels backhander.

That would be the difference in the game as Western Michigan would pick up two empty-net goals late in the game. The Pioneers definitely had their opportunities to score but Ben Blacker was able to shut them out. He finished the game with 24 saves while Tanner Jaillet also played well on the other side of the ice, finishing the game with 27 saves on 28 shots.


First star: Ben Blacker (WMU)
Second star: Frederik Tiffels (WMU)
Third star: Tanner Jaillet (Denver)



Adam Plant’s game misconduct in the 3rd period. Score was 0-0 at the time and Western Michigan would take the lead on the power play.



The Pioneers will look ahead to Saturday’s matchup with the Western Michigan Broncos, puck drop scheduled for 5:00pm MST.



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