2017 Basketball Fan Jam Gives a Glimpse of the Future

There was an energy in Magness Arena last night that gave all in attendance an idea of what lies ahead for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at the University of Denver in the upcoming year. After a long 7 1/2 month hiatus, we’re finally approaching the start of the 2017-2018 basketball season, and the Fan Jam was a perfect way to whet fan’s appetites.

Continue reading 2017 Basketball Fan Jam Gives a Glimpse of the Future

Denver Hockey Series Preview: Lake Superior State University

Photo courtesy John Leyba, The Denver Post

On Friday night at Magness Arena, the University of Denver Pioneers and their fans will raise the school’s eighth National Championship banner putting some closure on a historic season.  Although there were a few individual awards handed out to Pioneers by the NCAA at the end of the year, coach Jim Montgomery and company know last season was a team effort. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: Lake Superior State University

Defining identity at the University of Denver

Homecoming weekend is soon to arrive on the University of Denver campus. It’s a wonderful time to see DU friends, walk the campus in its fall glory, cheer on the top-ranked DU hockey team and celebrate the bonds we all share as fellow Pioneers. From the newest first-year students who have been a part of our community for only a few weeks, to the oldest alumnus or DU fan, we’re all part of a pretty big family. How big? Well, there are about 11,600 students, 1,300 faculty and 1,700 staff on campus, but the DU community is much, much larger when you include the 100,000+ living DU alumni around the world, the parents and families of our students, and the many others who choose to support our school, including DU’s neighbors, its sports fans, its donors and event attendees. Continue reading Defining identity at the University of Denver

University of Denver Football memories fade with time 

Photo: Photo courtesy of the University of Denver. On October 2nd, 1926 DU’s officially opened a new stadium, Hilltop Stadium, with a new name, the Pioneers.  

Fall is in the air and homecoming is fast approaching this weekend – it must be time for…hockey.

However, for many years, University of Denver homecoming activities centered on football – the most popular sport at the university. DU’s very first football game was played in 1885 against Colorado College. That game was believed by sports historians to be the first intercollegiate football game played west of the Mississippi River. Continue reading University of Denver Football memories fade with time 

Pioneer men picked to finish 5th in Summit hoops

Photo: Photo courtesy of the Summit League. South Dakota State University is tabbed as the league favorite to repeat under pre-season Summit League Player of the Year Mike Daum.

Here we are, just weeks before the start of basketball season under second year head coach Rodney Billups.

Last week, the Summit League held their annual basketball media Day. DU men’s coach Rodney Billups and women’s coach Jim Turgeon were on the conference call and fielded questions. The 20 minute audio from the teleconference link is shown below.

Audio – Rodney Billups & Jim Turgeon

Denver was selected to finish 5th in the league wide poll. Continue reading Pioneer men picked to finish 5th in Summit hoops

DU’s Relentless Hockey Displayed in 4-2 Victory Over Notre Dame

photo via courtesy of Shannon Valerio

The tone was set in the second meeting in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14. The No. 1-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (1-0-1, 0-0-0, NCHC) embodied the relentless hockey that once haunted the No.4-ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1-1, 0-0-0, Big Ten)

Denver displayed resilience and fight in the final minutes of an excellent early-yet college hockey game to defeat the Fighting Irish 4-2.

Despite outshooting the Fighting Irish in every period and nearly doubling the total shot tally 48-29, the Pioneers and Irish skated to an official 2-2 overtime tie in Friday night’s game. Both goals were scored from sophomore forward and Florida Panthers prospect Henrik Borgstrom who reportedly was out ill Saturday’s game.

DU returned to Compton Family Ice Arena and mirrored it’s play to the quick and unabating style that head coach Jim Montgomery has instilled in the Denver hockey culture. The system of hockey that heavily helped the Pioneers with their success last season in clinching their 8th title, including the 6-1 Frozen Four victory over the Irish.

Even without Borgstrom in the lineup, Denver didn’t struggle to light the lamp. The Pioneers got on the board  with just under 10 minutes in the opening frame, the goal scored from their top line. Anaheim Ducks prospect and assistant captain, Troy Terry collected a rebound in the slot. The junior forward finished his shot just inside the right post.

Denver displayed a strong forecheck, providing an opportune chance in front of the net during the final minutes of the first period. Sophomore forward Logan O’Connor pressured Notre Dame’s defense forcing a turnover. O’Connor found freshman forward Jake Durflinger alone down low in the slot, where Durflinger played a one-timer past Fighting Irish goalie Cale Morris, to record his first career goal.

With a 2-0 lead, the Pioneers’ dominated the second period and majority of the third period under Montgomery’s tactics. The Fighting Irish visibly had no rhythm as they circulated the puck across zones; the Pioneers were quick to eliminate time and space, disrupt and prevent any attempt Notre Dame puck possession and work collectively as a cohesive unit across all three zones and 200 feet of ice.

Just under five minutes remaining in the third period, Notre Dame’s Cam Morrison shot a rocket of slap-shot past DU’s Tanner Jaillet to cut the deficit down to one. Morrison scored the sole goal in the Frozen Four meeting as well.

Up by just one goal, the Pioneers didn’t back down as the clock winded down. Denver’s forecheck was amplified in the final minutes as a powerplay goal was further reviewed and ruled a goal in favor of the Fighting Irish thus tying the score 2-2 with under five minutes emaining in regulation.

Deja Vu back to Friday night, the score was tied two apiece and overtime became is on the line. With 4:28 left in regulation, sophomore forward Liam Finlay knocked in the go-ahead goal. San Jose Sharks prospect and junior assistant captain Dylan Gambrell added an empty-net goal to secure the 4-2 victory.

The differences in the series was strides in the levels of hockey admitted. Friday night appeared like a typical early October hockey game, whereas Saturday had the energy, excitement and tenacity of an early February game.

DU returns to Magness Arena to host Lake Superior State University on Friday, Oct. 20.

 

Denver Tennis Park advocates address community concerns

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Metro Media

The Denver Tennis Park (DTP) is currently under construction and expected to be complete in 10 months. The site is situated on a triangle of land on South Franklin Street between South High School and I-25.

DTP
Photo: Denver tennis Park (DTP) construction should be complete by next summer

Continue reading Denver Tennis Park advocates address community concerns

Denver and Notre Dame Skate to 2-2 tie in Season-Opener in South Bend

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Notre Dame Freshman Goalie Dylan St. Cyr had 46 saves as the game’s first star. Photo Courtesy: University of Notre Dame

University of Denver sophomore all-American Henrik Borgström scored both goals, but the #1 ranked defending NCAA Champion Pioneers had to settle for a 2-2 tie with the #4 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a re-match of last year’s NCAA hockey semifinal before a near-capacity crowd of 4,478 fans at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.

The Pioneers (0-0-1), playing in their season opener, did get an extra sense of reward with a fourth-round, post-overtime shootout win on a top-corner wrist shot by freshman Kohen Olischefski, but that was all for fun, as the NCAA does not recognize shootout wins in regular season play.

The Irish, (2-0-1), who had the benefit of two prior games last weekend, can be excited that a game in which they were badly outshot by DU, resulted in a tie.

“I was really happy,” said DU coach Jim Montgomery after the game. “I thought that was by far the best first game, in my five years here, that this Denver team has played. I thought we played fast and possessed pucks. In the second period, you know, you’re playing a top-five team. [Notre Dame] came back and they got into the game and then it was a really…for the first game of the year…that was a great hockey game. The exciting part is that hopefully we can grow from this and get better. There’s a couple areas we weren’t great at, but overall I was really happy with our effort and our execution.”

A tension-filled third period was filled with heroics in the final minutes, and as the game wound down, it looked like the Pioneers would win it, as they had three times as many final period shots as the Irish. Borgström’s power-play goal (his second goal of the game) at the 14:38 mark of the third period had sent the Pioneers ahead 2-1 on a gorgeous cross-ice feed from winger Troy Terry, who had split two Notre Dame defenders to set up Borgström on the doorstep, as the Pioneer bench erupted with excitement.

However, the Denver lead didn’t last long, as the Irish were able to equalize the game at 2-2 with Andrew Oglevie’s own power-play goal from between the circles with 4:39 remaining in the third period, the result of an interference penalty call on DU’s Blake Hillman that Montgomery questioned after the game.

The Pioneers, using superior speed, outshot Notre Dame in all three periods of regulation time for a 46-22 total, including 21-7 in the third period, but the heavier Notre Dame squad had the better shot opportunities in the overtime, outshooting the Pios, 7-2 in the extra five minutes, including one shot that clanked off the DU crossbar that almost ended the game as a Notre Dame victory.

The game had started out as a first-period track meet, with up-and-down action with no penalties and no icing calls. While the Pios dominated the shots in the opening frame, it was the Irish who drew first blood with a Jack Evans goal, which came from a juicy rebound of ND’s Cam Morrison’s long wrist shot at the 14:01 mark, a rebound that had bounced off DU goalie Tanner Jaillet’s leg pad straight to Evans in front of the DU goal.

But the Pios took that Irish punch to the nose personally, and roared back just 15  seconds later, as Borgström combined for for a nifty give-and-go with Adam Plant to tie at the game at 1-1. Borgström had carried the puck into the ND zone, dropped a pass to Plant, who ripped a perfect pass back to Borgström, who had faded into the ND left face-off circle. As Plant’s pass arrived, the Finnish sensation rifled a one-timer high into the Notre Dame goal to beat Irish goalie Dylan St. Cyr to silence the ND crowd from the celebration of Evans’ goal that was being announced to the crowd at the same time Borgström tied the game for the Pioneers.

The 1-1 tie scoreline held up until the third period, with the Irish getting increasingly physical in an attempt to slow down the faster Pioneers.

“[Denver] had a lot of shots,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson after the game. “But until maybe the third period at times, I thought that Dylan (St. Cyr) didn’t have to make great saves. He had to make some late in the game, which is really important for a good goaltender. I thought we did a good job without the puck, but we could do a better job with it. That would be my big takeaway from tonight’s game.”

St. Cyr is the son of Manon Rheaume (the first female goalie to play in an NHL exhibition game back in the 1990s), was voted first star in the game with his 46 saves on the night. Borgström was named second star by scoring both Pioneer goals to open what figures to be his final Pioneer season before joining the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the First Round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

The Pioneers also got strong play from wing Liam Finlay, who had seven shots on goal and center Tyson McLellan, who went 13-3 in the face-off circle.

DU and Notre Dame play in the series finale tomorrow at 4 pm MT, with the telecast on NBC Sports Network.

 

 

 

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