Denver blanks Arizona 7-0 to reach CHL Final

CHL Playoffs logoDENVER, Colo. – A.J. Gale netted a hat trick and Kent Patterson collected his second shutout of the post-season, stopping 46 Arizona shots, as the Denver Cutthroats secured a spot in the CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final with a 7-0 win at the Denver Coliseum on Saturday night in front of 3,200 fans.

Both teams failed to score on the power play, with Arizona going 0-for-6 and Denver going 0-for-5 in a game that saw a combined 30 penalty minutes. Denver’s Daniel Barczuk had the opportunity to get on the board first, only to be denied by Arizona’s Adam Brown on a penalty shot at 5:34.

The Sundogs out-shot the Cutthroats 16-13 in the opening period, but it would be Denver that would score twice in the first. Garett Bembridge scored the first goal of the night, lighting the lamp on assists from Gale and Aaron MacKenzie at the 10:53 mark. Just under six minutes later Jean-Philipp Chabot scored on a one-timer from Vincent Arseneau and Lee Moffie to make it 2-0 at the first intermission.

The shots were even in the middle frame, 13-13, as the Cutthroats continued to roll, scoring three more times to hold a 5-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Arseneau took a pass from T.J. Fox at 3:11 and scoring on a breakaway goal. Gale then added two goals of his own, 6:30 apart to add to the Denver lead. His first goal, scored at 5:40, came off assists from Bembridge and Troy Schwab. Gale’s second marker came on the rebound at 12:10, with assists going to Schwab and Steve Kaunisto.

Arizona, facing the final 20-minutes of their season, put forth a valiant effort, peppering Patterson with 17 shots, while Denver managed just four. Unfortunately for the Sundogs, it would be the Cutthroats who would score twice more in the final period.

Gale completed his hat trick at 7:04 of the third period, scoring on an open net on an assist from Bembridge. Robin Soudek rounded out the scoring at 11:39 to make it 7-0 with Cam Reid and Gale receiving credit for the assists.

Gale was clearly the star of the night, scoring three goals while adding an assist for a total of five points. Bembridge added a goal and two assists for three points. Schwab and Gale lead the CHL in playoff scoring with 18 points each, while Bembridge is in third place with 13 points.

The Cutthroats now await the winner of the Allen Americans and Quad City Mallards series for the 2014 CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final. Quad City leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2 with game six scheduled for Tuesday at the Allen Event Center.

Contact the writer: john.hall@prohockeynews.com

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