DENVER - Senior Luke Salazar (Thornton, Colo.) recorded two goals in the second period and co-captain Drew Shore (Denver, Colo.) added the game-winner in the third, sending No. 3 Denver past Minnesota State, 4-2, and giving DU head coach George Gwozdecky his 400th win at Denver.
Sophomore Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.) added two assists each and junior netminder Adam Murray (Anchorage, Alaska) earned the win with 23 saves. The Pioneers improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the WCHA, while Minnesota State falls to 1-4, 0-1.
"No matter what year it is, Minnesota State is going to work their tails off," Gwozdecky said. "It's always a close game between these two teams and that's exactly what the case was tonight. We were glad to see Adam Murray play a strong game and the power play scored a big goal for us. It was a good win to start the WCHA season."
The Mavericks struck first on a goal by Jean-Paul Lafontaine, who beat Murray stick-side at 15:23 of the first period.
Denver tied the game before the halfway mark of the second period on a goal from Salazar. Zucker sent in a shot that bounced off MSU goaltender Austin Lee (34 saves). Salazar picked up the loose puck and fired a shot past Lee for his second goal of the season.
Salazar put the Pioneers up 2-1 with 49 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Junior Paul Phillips (Darien, Ill.) skated into the MSU zone and dished the puck to a streaking Salazar, who beat Lee stick-side with a back-hander.
The Mavericks fought back early in the third, tying the game at 2-2 on a goal by Zach Lehrke at 1:17 of the third.
Drew Shore netted his second game-winning goal of the season on the power-play at 6:18 of the third. Zucker dug the puck out of the left corner and sent it to Shore at the point. Shore found the back of the net on a hard shot past Lee.
The Pioneers sealed the victory on an empty net goal by Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.) with 42 seconds remaining in the game.
The Pioneers outshot the Mavericks 38-25 and went 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Minnesota State was 0-5 with the man-advantage and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Pioneers close out the series against Minnesota State tomorrow night at Magness Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. MT. Fans can visit www.DenverPioneers.com or call the Ritchie Center North Box Office at (303) 871-GOAL to purchase tickets.
Notes: Salazar has recorded six career two-goal games. The win was Gwozdecky's 550th career victory. Phillips has recorded an assist in each of the three games this season. Matt Tabrum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) made his collegiate debut tonight and Juho Olkinuora (Helsinki, Finland) is eligible to return to the lineup tomorrow night. Drew Shore's power play goal in the third was the first on the man-advantage for the Pioneers in the 2011-12 campaign. The Mavericks are 0-for-22 on the power play this season.