DENVER, COLO. — Mason Bergh and Trey Bradley each had a goal and an assist and Colorado College kept its hopes alive of reclaiming The Gold Pan with a 2-1 victory over 6th-ranked Denver Friday night at Magness Arena.
CC needs to defeat the Pioneers Saturday night at the Broadmoor World Arena to win The Gold Pan for the first time since 2014. The game begins at 7 p.m., and the Tiger seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
The Tigers (14-17-4, 8-12-3 NCHC) took advantage of an early Pioneer penalty when Bergh took a pass from Bryan Yoon and placed a wrist shot from the top of the right circle just inside the far post behind Denver goalie Filip Larsson just 1:26 into the contest. Bergh’s tally was his first in the last 21 games, with his last goal coming on Dec. 1 at Omaha.
Bradley, who collected the other assist on Bergh’s goal, had a chance to make it 2-0 midway through the frame, but his shot from the slot to an open net sailed high. He made up for it with 1:39 remaining in the period as he scored on a rebound after a great individual play by Bergh resulted in a shot and a Denver penalty to make it a two-goal advantage. Bergh’s assist was the 99th point of his career.
Colin Staub cut the Tiger lead in half at the 11:31 mark of the second period by knocking in a rebound after Leclerc saved a shot from the point by Slava Demin.
The Tigers killed a penalty early in the third period and the Pioneers’ Ryan Barrow knocked the puck out of the air past Leclerc later in the period, but it was immediately waved off by the referee for a high stick, then confirmed after an official review.
Leclerc, who was sharp as ever in the final frame, kept it a one-goal game with 13:20 remaining in regulation when he moved across the crease and stoned Barrow’s back-door attempt.
The Tigers had a couple of chances to get an insurance goal as Grant Cruikshank went just wide on a breakaway with 6:25 left and Cole McCaskill missed an empty net from center ice with 50 seconds left. The Pioneers had an extra skater for the final 1:40 bit the Tigers, and Leclerc, held on.
Denver (19-9-5, 11-9-3-3 NCHC) held a 27-24 advantage in shots. The Tigers were 1-for-3 on the power play and killed off all three of Denver’s man-advantage situations.