Pioneers Outlast Minutemen in Double OT

by | Mar 28, 2024

Pioneers Outlast Minutemen in Double OT

by | Mar 28, 2024

Springfield, MA—It took two overtimes, but the Denver Pioneers defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen 2-1 in double overtime on Tristan Broz’s shot from the slot, which beat goalie Michael Hrabal. This kept the Pioneers in western Massachusetts for a few more days.

Broz caught a pass from defenseman Boston Buckberger at the right hash mark and skated along the top of the right circle before firing off a wrister to end the marathon game at 12:28 and punch Denver’s ticket. The game was the fifth longest in Regionals history.

“Credit to [UMass], they played hard,” said Broz. “It was a really good battle there. Their season was on the line, and so was ours. That’s a heck of a hockey game. Credit to [D
U goalie Matt Davis], forty-something saves. All the guys just battled hard.”

The referees let the boys play at the MassMutual Center in game one of the Springfield Regionals. Neither the Pioneers (0-2) nor the Minutemen (0-2) could take advantage of the power-play. UMass Amherst’s Hrabal (41 saves) and Denver’s Matt Davis (46 saves) were phenomenal between the pipes for their squads.

The play was physical from the outset and continued for over ninety minutes. The Minutemen slowed down the Pioneers’ offense, ranking first in goals per game with 4.79.

“We just had to stick to our foundation and identity,” Minutemen junior defenseman Ryan Ufko said. “We’re a big, fast team. That physicality part was something that we preached. That really helped us.”

“It’s our first 2-1 game, either way, the whole year,” said Denver Head Coach David Carle. “We knew that we would have to face a game like this. If you get to this time of year, everyone’s a great team. Inside ice is hard to come by; goals are hard to come by. I thought both teams were pushing the limit tonight.”

“[UMass] had looks. Matty made some great saves for us. It was a great battle,” added Carle.

Denver grabbed the lead at 5:12 of the second period when Denver’s Buckberger fired off a shot from the top of the left circle, beating Hrabal blocker-side high. Buckberger’s fifth goal of the season was unassisted.

The Minutemen tied the game at 12:52 when Liam Gorman banged in a loose puck in front of the Pioneers net. Davis made the initial stop on a Lucas Vanroboys point-blank shot. A scrum ensued in front of Davis, and Gorman was there to backhand in his first of the season.

“I’m extremely proud of the way we played tonight,” said Massachusetts coach Greg Carvel. I know there was a lot of chatter about whether we deserved to be in the tournament, but I didn’t doubt it for a second. I thought we would give Denver a hell of a game; we did.”

“To be honest, in overtime, I loved the energy of our team. I just felt like we were going to find a way. It’s an excellent hockey game, and congratulations to Denver, a tremendous hockey team,’ Carvel added.

Hrabal and Davis matched saves through the two overtime, but in the end, Davis made one more than his counterpart. Davis came close to departing the game in the second overtime frame when the Minutemen peppered him early in a power play as UMass crashed the crease. Davis appeared to pull a hamstring but stayed in the game to get the ‘W.”

“Yeah, I’m all good,” said Davis of his injury. “Just some cramps. Long game, humid out here.”

“[Hrabal] played a heck of a hockey game,” said Davis when asked if Hrabal’s performance pushed his own. “It was fun. He’s a competitor, and it was fun to play against him.”

The Pioneers will play the winner of the Cornell versus Maine game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

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