The 10th-ranked Denver Pioneers scored two early goals for a 4-1 win over Air Force in a non-conference college hockey game, Friday, Oct. 12, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The game was the season-opener for both teams.
Denver (1-0-0) jumped ahead early as Jake Durflinger tipped in a pass from Jaakko Heikkinen right in front at 2:25. The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead on a 5-on-3 power play at 8:38. Ian Mitchell took a pass from Jarid Lukosevicius in the high slot and whistled a wrister for his first goal of the season.
Midway through the second period, Lukosevicius forced a turnover in the neutral zone and sprung Emilio Pettersen on a breakaway. Pettersen made a move in front of Billy Christopoulos and scored for a 3-0 lead at 13:07. The Falcons got on the board with 2:56 left in the second. After Matt Serratore drew a penalty, the Falcons capitalized. Kyle Haak won the ensuing faceoff and Matt Koch slid the puck down to Evan Feno on the half wall. Feno’s centering pass was tipped in by Evan Giesler to cut the Pioneers lead to 3-1.
The Pioneers added one more in the third period as Cole Guttman tipped in a pass from Pettersen at 4:24 for a 4-1 lead
Denver outshot Air Force, 26-23, in the game. Air Force was 1-for-6 on the power play while DU was 1-for-5.
“We weren’t very good tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Give Denver all the credit, they have a lot of speed and skill. That was a 4-1 butt-kicking. Denver came at us really hard in the first period and went for the knockout punch. We aren’t a good enough team right now to go against that type of speed and skill. We have a long way to go. A lot to correct. ”
Air Force (0-1-0) travels down I-25 to face Colorado College on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:05 pm at the Broadmoor World Arena.