Denver improves to 19-8-5, 15-6-3 WCHA, ending its two-game losing streak and clinching home ice for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the eight-straight season. Michigan Tech drops to 4-24-4, 2-20-2 with the loss.
"Going into this game our goals were to get more shots on net and to be more physical," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "Michigan Tech was tough, but those two things really simplified the game for us and they paid off in the end."
Freshman David Makowski (Wildwood, Mo.) had a goal and an assist and fellow freshman Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.) recorded two assists for the Pioneers. Freshman Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.), junior Luke Salazar (Thornton, Colo.) and freshman Nick Shore (Denver) all had a goal in the win. Sophomore Adam Murray (Anchorage, Alaska) was spectacular, stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced.
Ryan Furne scored and Kevin Genoe made 31 saves for Michigan Tech.
Michigan Tech opened up the scoring when Furne scored at 4:25 in the first period from Jacob Johnstone. Denver wasted no time answering the Huskie goal, tying the game at 1-1 with a Drew Shore goal from sophomore Matt Donovan (Edmond, Okla.) and Zucker at 5:58. The Pioneers grabbed the lead minutes later when Nick Shore netted a goal at 10:37 from Zucker and Makowski to give Denver a 2-1 advantage. DU outshot Michigan Tech 17-5 in the period.
Denver extended its lead to 3-1 at 4:36 in the second period when Makowski sniped a 180-foot wrist shot from behind the Pioneers' goal line that slid past Genoe for a shorthanded goal. Bennett tacked another goal onto the Denver lead, burying a pass at 12:19 from redshirt-junior Dustin Jackson (Omaha, Neb.) and Murray to make it 4-1 Pioneers.
Salazar tallied the lone third-period goal, scoring from Drew Shore at 10:05 to make the final score 5-1.
DU outshot MTU 36-19 and went 1-for-6 on the power play in the game. MTU finished 0-for-4 with the man-advantage.
Denver returns to action at Nebraska Omaha on Feb. 25-26.
Notes: The Pioneers are tied for fourth with Merrimack in the latest PairWise rankings. Denver has allowed the first goal in its last seven games. Zucker extended his career-best point streak to seven games, while Drew Shore extended his point streak to six games. Zucker leads the WCHA in league scoring (32 points) and goals (18). DU honored its five WCHA Scholar-Athletes (Jesse Martin, Chris Nutini, Kyle Ostrow, Shawn Ostrow and Paul Phillips) for achieving a 3.5 GPA or better during the first intermission.