Denver had a 2-0 lead, but Colorado College rallied to beat the Pioneers 4-3 Sunday night in deciding Game 3 of their best-of-three opening round WCHA playoff series at Magness Arena.

Sophomore right wing Charlie Taft, of Edina, scored the winning goal in the middle of the third period.

The Tigers will face North Dakota at 7 p.m. Thursday in the second Final Five quarterfinal at the X.

Denver had played in the past five Final Fives. Now the Pioneers have to wait to see they  earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The 16-team NCAA field will be announced on Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

The  winners of the five conference tournaments receive automatic spots. Eleven teams receive at-large bids, which the PairWise ratings predict with near certainty.

Junior Nick Shore gave the Pioneers (20-13-5) lead on a power-play goal at 12:34 of the first period. A centering pass deflected to Shore in the slot and he buried a slap shot in the upper left corner.

Daniel Doremus made it 2-0 DU just 1:20 on a rebound.

CC began its comeback on Cody Bradley's shot from point-blank range at 3:51 of the second period.

Three minutes later,  Bradley rushed up the right side and found Hunter  Fejes for a one-timer that he put away for his seventh goal of the season to tie the score at 2-2.

Two minutes after that, the Tigers took a 3-2 lead on Ryan Schwartz's short-handed goal at 8:56 of the second. Schwartz took the puck away from Nick Shore along the wall at the Pioneers’ blueline and raced the length of the rink, beating Pioneers goalie Juho Olkinuora high to his stick side.

That's three goals in 5:05.

Junior defenseman David Makowski  tied the game at 3-all early  in the third when Nick Shore found him in the slot right off a draw.

Taft broke the tie at 9:49 of the third. He shot from the right circle, trying to put the puck in the corner. Instead, Olkinuora played the puck in mid-air and it deflected off his stick into the net.

Olkinuora made 22 saves. senior Joe Howe 37 for CC (16-18-5).

Howe, of Plymouth, played high school hockey at Wayzata. He made a big toe save on Nick Shore when he had a shorthanded breakaway.

"That's the difference in the series right there," DU coach George Gwozdecky said of Howe's save on Shore in a Denver Post story. "If we're up 3-0 at that point, game over, series over, I think. Howe makes an incredible save and they get right back in the game."

The Pioneers outshot the Tigers 40-26.

The Colorado Springs Gazette game story is here.

The Denver Post story is here.

* Taft was the team MVP and a 20-goal scorer when Edina won the Class 2A state title in 2010. ... As a CC freshman last season, Taft had two assists in 13 games. This season he has six goals and 16 points in 36 games.
Fourth seed Wisconsin (19-12-7) will play sixth seed Minnesota State (24-12-3) at 2 p.m. Thursday in the first quarterfinal of the Final Five at the X. And it's do-or-die for the Badgers. They would be the last team in the NCAA field as of today, based on the PairWise ratings, if the five conference tournaments are all one by the favorite teams.
So a loss to the Mavericks almost certainly ends Wisconsin's season. MSU Mankato, No. 9 in the PW, probably has a spot in the NCAA field no matter what it does in the Final Five.
Wisconsin split four games this season with MSU, going 2-2-0. Both teams swept on the road.
The last time the Badgers won the Broadmoor Trophy was way back in 1998.
* Sophomore forward Tommy Novak of St. Thomas Academy has committed to the Gophers. He tweeted it several days ago.