DENVER - The No. 12/11 University of Denver ice hockey team used a pair of goals from sophomore Zac Larraza (Scottsdale, Ariz.) as it cruised to a 7-1 rout of Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Magness Arena.
The game was preceded by a ceremony to honor Denver's 2013 Senior Class, which included Zack Hope (Barrington Hills, Ill.), Adam Murray (Anchorage, Alaska), Chris Knowlton (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shawn Ostrow (Calgary, Alberta) and Paul Phillips (Darien, Ill.).
The win improves Denver's record to 18-11-5 overall and 13-9-5 in the conference loop. Alaska Anchorage falls to 4-22-7 overall and 2-19-6 in WCHA action. The Pioneers have only been defeated once over their last nine games on the Magness Arena ice.
The Pioneers now sit in a three-way tie for fourth place in the WCHA standings at 31 points with Minnesota State and Wisconsin. Nebraska Omaha is just behind the pack in seventh with 30 points. The top six finishers host the best-of-three first round WCHA playoff series on home ice next weekend.
Sophomore Daniel Doremus (Aspen, Colo.) got things started for the Pioneers with his 10th goal of the season just 3:13 of the contest when he beat Alaska Anchorage goalie Rob Gunderson between the legs with a wrister from just inside the left circle.
Scott Allen responded almost immediately for the Sea Wolves as he fought for the puck along the boards and created space for himself just in front of the crease before getting the puck past Denver's Juho Olkinuora's (Helsinki, Finland) glove side for his 12th goal of the season at 4:40 and tying the score at 1-1.
Denver (18-11-5, 13-9-5 WCHA) closed out the first period, which saw it out-shoot Anchorage 23-6, with two goals in a span of just 15 seconds, both coming with under a minute remaining in the period. Junior Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.) registered his 13th goal of the season on a power play at 19:31 before Larraza lit the lamp for the ninth time this season at 19:46 to send the Pioneers into the first intermission with a 3-1 advantage.
Larraza added his second goal of the game, this one short-handed style, 4:08 into the second period to increase the Pioneers' lead to 4-1. Larraza picked the pocket of an Anchorage defender deep in the Sea Wolves' zone and deked his way around Gunderson for his 10th tally of the season.
The Pioneers kept pouring it on in the second as Matt Tabrum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) got into the act with his seventh goal of the season and first Jan. 11 vs. Nebraska Omaha when he caught Gunderson out of position on a rebound opportunity and found the back of the net to pad the Denver lead up to 5-1.
Junior David Makowski (Wildwood, Mo.) added his seventh goal of the season just 1:11 into the final period with a slap shot from deep in the slot that found the top right corner of the net, making the score 6-1.
Ostrow rounded out the games scoring at the 10:28 mark of the third following a tremendous setup by teammate Ty Loney (Valencia, Pa.) who weaved his way through the Sea Wolves' defense before sliding a deft pass through the crease that found Ostrow's stick for a 7-1 margin. The assist marked Loney's third of the contest, which represented a career high.
Olkinuora made 16 saves en route to the victory. Gunderson turned away 45 shots in defeat.
Denver outshot Anchorage 52-17 for the game. The Pioneers won 31-of-64 faceoff chances. Shore led the Pioneers on the draws, capturing 11-of-23.
Denver and Alaska Anchorage will play the final game of the regular season on Sunday morning in a special 11:00 a.m. (MT) start time. The game will be available on PioneerVision as well as on Denver's 102.3 FM ESPN Radio.