MINNEAPOLIS — Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora made 33 saves as the Pioneers beat suddenly punchless Minnesota 2-0 on Friday in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game.
Olkinuora made 17 saves in the third period to preserve the win and pull Denver within two points of Minnesota in the WCHA race. The Gophers (21-7-5, 13-7-5) entered the night two points out of first place.
Minnesota brought the nation's top power play into the game but went 0-for-5 and was outshot 8-2 by the Pioneers on those five power plays. The Gophers didn't get a shot on goal in their first four man advantages.
"We did nothing with the power play all night," disappointed Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "We didn't do anything to give ourselves a chance to win. We looked like we had two left hands out there."
Denver's Shawn Ostrow broke a scoreless tie with a goal just 18 seconds into the third period. Ostrow was in front of the net when Ty Loney flipped a rebound toward the slot and the puck wound up under Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox.
Loney added an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining.
Denver outshot the Gophers 36-33. It was just the third time this season that Minnesota was outshot.
A smattering of boos could be heard as Minnesota's last power play wound down. "I would have booed if I were in the stands," Lucia said.
The Pioneers (17-10-5, 12-8-5) were 0-for-1 on the power play. Wilcox made 34 saves, 15 in the third period.
The teams conclude the two-game series today.
Gophers women win
MINNEAPOLIS — Senior goaltender Noora Raty recorded her NCAA career-record 40th shutout to aid the University of Minnesota women's hockey team to a 5-0 win over Bemidji State in the opening game of their best-of-three series in the WCHA playoffs.
Senior Megan Bozek matched a single-game career-high with two goals to lead the Golden Gophers' offense, which exploded for four goals in the third period.
The Gophers, who have won 43 consecutive games, received goals from Bozek, Patty Kazmaiel, Kelly Terry and Rachael Bona in the third period.
Minnesota is now one win away from advancing to the WCHA Final Face-Off, which is held at Ridder Arena March 8-9. Today's matchup against BSU begins at 4 p.m.