DU Men’s Basketball Season Preview: High expectations for Denver Hoops

Photo: Courtesy of DU Basketball Twitter

It finally could happen – a postseason appearance by Denver in March Madness for the first time EVER or even a trip to the NIT. This Pioneer basketball team could, realistically, make history this season under third-year head coach Rodney Billups.

So, its fair to call us dumb  – until proven otherwise. Sure, DU has come close before but Denver hoops historically rolls out a middling team that disappoints the few times they have approached the summit (pun intended). But this year is different – and we’ll give you realistic reasons for hope. Continue reading DU Men’s Basketball Season Preview: High expectations for Denver Hoops

Pios Roar Back from 3-0 Deficit to Tie UAF 3-3, on Lancaster’s goal in Final Minute

44442114_1967476963290813_3960080458183606272_oIn college hockey, fans should never leave a game early, as you just never know what you might miss. Denver graduate transfer Les Lancaster’s blast from the top of the left face-off circle found its way through traffic and into the Alaska Fairbanks net with just 35 seconds left in regulation time to complete a three-goal comeback for #9 Denver to tie the UAF Nanooks, 3-3.

While the tie kept DU undefeated at 3-0-1 on the young season, it was game where UAF probably deserved a better fate, as the Nanooks had mostly out-worked, out-hustled and outscored the Pioneers for most of the first two periods of the game, building a 3-0 lead on DU’s ice.

“Our guys didn’t give up in the third period,” said DU Coach David Carle in the postgame release. “It was nice to see them not give up. It was a gutsy effort to get the tie and get it to overtime. We’re certainly not happy with the result, but Fairbanks played a really good game and we were fortunate to get it tied up and get it to overtime.”

Indeed, the final two goals of the DU comeback were scored in the final two minutes of regulation with the goalie pulled for the extra skater, as DU’s Cole Guttman camped out down low to score on a cross-crease feed to make the game 3-2 with 1:52 left, setting the stage for Lancaster’s game-tying goal, as the ensuing five-minute overtime ended scoreless.

Quite honestly, DU came out painfully flat for the first 35 minutes of the game as the Nanooks built a 3-0 lead that lasted well into the second period, on goals by Kylar Hope, Ryker Leer, and Colton Leiter, the latter two coming on the power play.

The Pioneers were able to cut the UAF lead to 3-1 on a Jarid Lukosevicius rebound goal at 6:45 of the second, but after that, Tyson’s McLellan’s five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding stalled DU’s momentum. DU had also suffered an additional five minute major penalty in the first when Ryan Barrow was sent off for boarding, emblematic of a young team taking too many penalties.

DU will have the next week off, and will open NCHC league play against Western Michigan on Nov. 2.

NOTES: The game was played before 4, 314 fans at Magness Arena, one of whom was Golden State Warrior star Steph Curry, who was in town to play the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Curry had earlier addressed the DU basketball team after the Warriors had practiced at DU on Saturday afternoon….DU has added a third goalie to the roster while projected starter Filip Larsson rehabs a lower-body injury that may keep him out until Christmas or longer. Bryan Sharp, a freshman from British Columbia, who came to DU to play on the DU Club Hockey team, will wear #40.  He played junior hockey in the NAHL.




DU Ices Nanooks 4-1

Outside the first five minutes of the game, the University of Denver (3-0) dominated the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks (0-5) en route to a 4-1 victory. The game was essentially decided in the first period as DU built a 3-1 lead and cruised to a 4-1 victory at Magness Arena.

Colton Leiter got Alaska Fairbanks on the board with a power play goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, DU converted on their own power play when Emilio Petterson converted at the net with assists from Jarid Lukosevicius and Cole Guttman. Two minutes later, at 18:21, Michael Davies scored an even strength goal with the help of Cole Guttman and Emilio Petterson. Before fans could settle back in their seats, DU’s struck again in less than 30 seconds to make it 3-1 when Liam Finley found the net in a scrum in front of the Nanook goal. Ian Michell and Jaakko Heikkinen were credited with assists on the goal. Denver out-shot the visitors 16-8 in the period and both clubs were 1 for 2 on the power play.

DU’s dominance continued into the second period. Despite out-shooting Alaska Fairbanks 17-6, the Pioneers could not build on their lead but were in command nearly the entire period. DU’s speed and puck pressure were on display during most of the period and it was clear on this night, Alaska did not have the skaters to keep up with Denver’s tempo. The second period ended like the first, Denver 3 and Alaska Fairbanks 1.

Denver came out in the third period and owned the first 10 minutes, building DU’s shot advantage for the game to 29-18. However, Denver drew four penalties during the period and spent time defending a man down. Still, DU had the game comfortably in-hand when Liam Finley punched in an even strength goal at 18:16 with the help of Colin Staub and Tyson McLellan to give the Pioneers their final goal and a 4-1 victory.

Again, difficult to draw conclusions on just how good Denver hockey will be this season as Alaska Fairbanks was clearly out-manned. But, the Pioneers can only defeat the teams they play so we will have to wait to see how the season unfolds. Certainly, DU’s speed, passing and tempo look similar to last season – and they took care of business in workmanlike fashion tonight. The only disappointment was DU’s 1-7 performance on the powerplay but it is still very early in the season. And, it should be noted that Sophomore goaltender Devin Cooley continued to play well in goal and stopped several solid shots – turning back 25 of 26 for the night. All around, a solid performance by DU hockey for the night.

*Michael Davies

**Lliam Finley

***Emelio Petterson

The Denver Proscess: Reload, Reconstruct and Reproduce Excellence

Photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio/Denver Athletics

It’s no secret that the University of Denver Pioneers hockey program underwent some substantial changes during the offseason. Everything from the internals of the team makeup and positions within the coaching staff, to the literal gutting of the locker room to give way to luxurious renovations.

The Pioneers didn’t just lose five influential players who each embodied the very essence of the Denver hockey culture, but the program also lost the man who reinstated Denver’s tradition of excellence. The departures of former head coach Jim Montgomery and household names in Henrik Borgström, Dylan Gambrell, Blake Hillman, Logan O’Connor, and Troy Terry are perceivably devastating.

But like the locker room, the program trusts that throughout the messy construction and inevitable setbacks, there is an accomplished and methodically assembled product that will emerge. Continue reading The Denver Proscess: Reload, Reconstruct and Reproduce Excellence

Denver Hockey Series Preview: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Photo courtesy Shannon Valerio/Denver Athletics

The Pioneers look to build on last weekend’s success when they welcome the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks this weekend

It sure was sweet watching David Carle lead the Pioneers to two consecutive wins last weekend, a fantastic start to the young head coach’s career.  But as you look around the NCHC, the conference as a whole is already having some early success (of course, the exception being North Dakota).  That being said, Denver can use all the confidence they can get before conference games begin. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Founding the NCHC as told by Brad Schlossman

Photo courtesy of Maddie MacFarlane: DU is one of three NCHC programs to win a national championship since the NCHC started competition in 2013.

The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman recently put together a great 3-part series on the founding of the NCHC. Some interesting insights were provided in the series including:

  • Peg Bradley Doppes meeting at a hotel near the Denver International Airport with North Dakota’s AD Brian Faison for the ‘Birth of the NCHC’.
  • Notre Dame’s involvement in the initial meetings and its verbal agreement to join the league.
  • The internal battle between ‘hockey invested’ schools and WCHA leadership which led to the exit.
  • How the league’s initial commissioner bailed four months into the job and how current commissioner Josh Fenton made the jump from Miami to NCHC.
  • Coaches’ concerns about the potential strength and dominance of NCHC  teams.

This is Part 3 of a three-part series on how the NCHC was formed and how it got to where it is today as college hockey’s dominant conference. PART 1 can be found here. PART 2 can be found here. PART 3 can be found here.

Photo: Courtesy of the Grand Forks Herald

Analysis: DU’s New Partnership with FC Bayern Munich is Very, Very Exciting

blobid2_1539351798930The exciting news of the University of Denver’s new partnership with FC Bayern Munich, one of the truly premier powerhouse professional soccer teams in the world, represents an unbelievable opportunity for not only the DU soccer program, but for the entire DU community.

DU Provost Jeremy Haefner (far left) and DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp (center) celebrate DU’s new partnership with management team members of world-famous soccer powerhouse FC Bayern Munich (photo credit: University of Denver)

Continue reading Analysis: DU’s New Partnership with FC Bayern Munich is Very, Very Exciting

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