Troy Terry sparks Pioneers past Tigers to force decisive Game 3 Sunday night

du vs ccDENVER — A career-high 46 saves for Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc were not enough as No. 4 Denver star Troy Terry led the Pioneers to a  3-2 come-from-behind win

“He was great again,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “He gave us a chance and that’s all you ask for your goalie to do. He has been outstanding.”

The victory forced a decisive Game 3 at 6:05 Sunday night at Magness Arena in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference quarterfinals series.

Denver battled back with its biggest star shining for two timely goals. Troy Terry was credited for the tying goal after the referees ruled the puck went in off a CC player’s stick after three-straight short-range shots by 19-9-8 Denver were blocked or turned away.

The goal with 17:43 left knotted the score at 2-2. Terry later scored with 5:31 remaining for his second of the night and the game-winner.

Denver found more open ice as the 15-16-5 Tigers tired. It showed on Terry’s tally with him able to lead a solo rush into the CC zone. He cut between defenders and fired a rising shot that beat Leclerc high stick side for the final margin.

Haviland was not going to use fatigue as an excuse so much as give credit to Terry’s considerable NHL-ready talent.

“The best player in college hockey showed up tonight,” Haviland said. “Simple as that. He makes the play off the rush there. He can do that to you. He is dangerous.”

CC was in position to win its first NCHC playoff series after Tigers defenseman Kristian Blumenschein waited and then fired, beating Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet as traffic crossed in front of the Pioneers senior for the go-ahead goal with 2:20 left in the second period. The power-play tally, CC’s second in the series, put the visitors ahead 2-1.

“There was desperation on both sides,” Haviland said. “There has to be. We need more desperation for me, but it was a good hockey game. There were a lot of ups and downs. It was a tough way (to lose).”

CC struck first when Trey Bradley forced a turnover by Ian Mitchell near the Tigers blue line. Bradley collected the loose puck in neutral ice after Mitchell fell and then cut across the slot, beating Jaillet with a soft backhander behind him after the Pioneers netminder went down to stop a fake on the forehand.

The unassisted shorthanded tally with 3:19 left made it 1-0. It was the Tigers’ second shorty of the season.

Things got more physical with Denver drawing a 5-minute major on Nick Halloran, who cross-checked Adam Plant in the helmet with 2:15 left. A flurry of penalties were called during the ensuing scuffle and set up Denver for  an extended power play to end the first and start the second.

That drew a chorus of boos and got the Magness Arena crowd into the game. They erupted when Henrik Borgstrom scored  2:06 into the second. He rifled a power-play shot into the upper corner against a screened Leclerc to make it 1-1 and end the CC sophomore’s shutout streak vs. DU at 150 minutes, 34 seconds, which included two straight wins.

That Borgstrom goal was a product of a more sustained effort by the Pioneers to get bodies on front of Leclerc, making his life more difficult over the final two periods. Even then, Leclerc was almost enough for CC to pull off a series sweep before Terry took the game over.

“There was a lot of emotion in the game and I liked the way we played,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “We played a team game. I liked how hard we were and how resilient we were.”

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with about 25 years of professional experience.

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