UND men's hockey: Great Brittain

Marc Cheverie may be gone, but the University of Denver has found another guy to play his part. Freshman goalie Sam Brittain stopped 33 shots en route to his first-career shutout - a 3-0 victory over UND in Ralph Engelstad Arena to earn a series ...

UND hockey
UND's Jason Gregoire (17) looks for a shot on a rebound off of Denver goalie Sam Brittain in the first period Saturday night in UND's 2-0 loss. Herald photo by John Stennes.

Marc Cheverie may be gone, but the University of Denver has found another guy to play his part.

Freshman goalie Sam Brittain stopped 33 shots en route to his first-career shutout - a 3-0 victory over UND in Ralph Engelstad Arena to earn a series split.

Brittain stopped 15 shots in the first, eight in the second and 10 in the third in a performance that looked quite familiar to that of Cheverie, the standout goalie who shutout the Sioux twice last season before signing with the Florida Panthers in the spring.

Three of UND's last four shutout losses have come against the Pioneers (3-3-2, 2-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association).

"The difference-maker throughout the whole game was Sam Brittain," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said.


The Sioux (4-3-1 overall, 3-1 WCHA) didn't have a lack of chances. They outshot Denver 33-17 and had several Grade A opportunities - especially in the first - but Brittain was sharp.

"We didn't get to some second-chance opportunities," UND captain Chay Genoway said. "We hit a couple of crossbars. Our top scorers had some good chances. Their goalie was pretty good tonight, but we've got to get some of what we like to call greasy goals."

The key sequence happened midway through the second period.

Denver senior forward Jesse Martin held the puck deep in his own zone, looking to make a pass. He had his head down and didn't see UND senior forward Brad Malone bearing down for a hit. Malone knocked Martin unconscious with the hit.

Martin remained on the ice for several minutes and left on a stretcher. He was taken to Altru for precautionary reasons, a Denver spokesman said.

The referees did not call a penalty on the play, but discussed it for several minutes while the medical staff attended to Martin. They gave Malone a five-minute major for charging and ejected him.

UND didn't allow the Pioneers a shot on goal during the five-minute power play, which was shortened because Denver forward Jason Zucker was called for diving. But at the exact moment that it ended, Anthony Maiani hit Drew Shore on a cross-crease pass for a 1-0 lead.

"We played really well on that penalty kill," said UND goalie Brad Eidsness, who made 14 saves. "They made one quick play. It was a good, heads-up play to go backdoor. It's frustrating. But when it's not going well, sometimes those things happen.


"I'm just disappointed that we didn't come out of here with a win tonight. Our effort was pretty good. We certainly had our chances. We just have to bear down. That's the way it goes sometimes."

UND had a chance to get back in the game with a power play early in the third, but a neutral-ice turnover led to a clean breakaway for Zucker. The freshman had plenty of time to deke Eidsness and score on the forehand.

Kyle Ostrow iced the game with an empty-net goal and Brittain held on for the shutout.

"We obviously didn't get to enough rebounds," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We had some quality chances. I didn't see how many Grade A opportunities we had, but we had some point-blank. . . mostly rebound opportunities. We had a lot of pucks that found a way to squirt past the post instead of inside. We just couldn't get the first one to go."

UND, which was attempting to go 4-0 in league play for the first time since 1996-97, will host unbeaten Minnesota-Duluth (6-0-2) next weekend. Hakstol said the Sioux will probably be without the services of freshman defenseman Derek Forbort, who was held out of the Denver series with an undisclosed ailment.

"We'll evaluate it through the week," he said.

Notes: Four of the last seven times UND has been shutout, it has come against Denver. Cheverie had two of those shutouts. Peter Mannino had the other one. . . UND used the same lines and defensive pairings as the opener. . . Denver made one change, putting Jon Cook on the fourth line for Jarrod Mermis. . . Matt Frattin led UND with five shots on goal.

Denver 3,



Key play: Drew Shore's goal at the end of a five-minute major power play to make it 1-0 Denver late in the second.

Key player: Denver goalie Sam Brittain, 33 saves.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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