Denver’s late barrage against Boston College comes up short, starts season 0-2

Last night, it was the lack of shots that doomed the #3 University of Denver Pioneers against Ohio State. Tonight, the Pioneers had more than their fair share of shots on goal against the #5 Boston College Eagles, but just one of them found twine as the Eagles skated away from Magness Arena with a 3-1 victory.

In the third period alone, the Pioneers outshot the Eagles 23-5. But they couldn’t push the puck past Eagles goalie Joe Woll when it mattered.

Such a high shot total can sometimes be deceiving. There are times when a defense plays extremely well, keeps the shots to the outside and gives their goalie a good angle on every shot. That wasn’t the case tonight, at least in the third period. Unlike last night against, OSU, the Pios had no problems finding space down low right in front of Woll.

In an odd and surprising twist, it was the Pioneers’ finishing ability that betrayed them this evening.

If there was one player whose struggles in the offensive zone stuck out, it was freshman Henrik Borgström’s. The Finn rarely has many problems finding himself with time and space, but his finishing ability (no pun intended) was lacking all night. In the third period alone, he had the puck alone in front of Woll twice and sent the puck into the goaltender’s chest.

“I was just really happy to see Henrik Borgström start to play,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “He was playing aggressively, he was attacking the net, he was walking people, you could see his hands. He missed three glorious scoring opportunities, but he had them.”

It wasn’t just Borgström who had trouble down low. Sophomores Dylan Gambrell and Troy Terry both had numerous scoring chances in the latter part of the game, but either their shots missed the net or didn’t make Woll work hard to make a save.

It’s not like there isn’t an answer to the scoring woes, though. Right now, there just isn’t much chemistry on any lines. Some players just haven’t seen the kind of ice time with their linemates to develop a kind of on-ice rapport.

“When you look at our top six [forwards], we don’t have a senior in our top six,” Montgomery explained. “We don’t have a junior, really. It’s going to take a while for these young men to get comfortable and be go-to guys.”

That lack of chemistry was never more evident than in the middle of the third period when Borgström tried to pass the puck across the slot to Gambrell and instead of finding his stick, the freshman’s pass found Gambrell’s skates. It was a close play, but close just wasn’t good enough to beat Woll tonight.

Starting 0-2 was certainly not exactly what DU had in mind, but when you consider that offensive juggernaut Boston University comes to town next weekend for Parents’ Weekend/Homecoming, DU’s offensive woes look more and more troubling.

As always, it’s important to take every early season loss with a grain of salt. Denver looked like the national power it is at times in the third period, but the rustiness and inexperience held the Pios back this weekend. The only way to shake that off is to get on the ice and keep playing and keep working to win hockey games. The wins will come, that much is for sure. This team is far too talented to let this short 2-game losing streak define their season.

11 thoughts on “Denver’s late barrage against Boston College comes up short, starts season 0-2”

  1. Vey frustrating game for the Pios, who dominated large chunks of the game, including virtually the entire third period, but still ended up with a loss. BC’s superb goaltending was the difference in the contest, period.

    What we learned this weekend is this DU offense, after four practices, is clearly not in place as yet. Monty is still searching for chemistry, juggling lines and looking for any kind of offensive spark. The usual cure for offensive sputtering is getting to the net and finding the greasy goals that build confidence in hard work.

    The offense will come. The most distressing to me was the Pioneer fan base, who showed up in small numbers overall, provided little support all weekend, and the student body, much of whom fled the arena in large numbers on both nights when the Pios fell behind, even though the games were very close. Really shameful.

  2. Another season, another time to beat up on the students. College hockey in October isn’t the only leisure and entertainment choice in town.

  3. Denver is loaded with entertainment all year round. My point is if you do choose come to a DU game, stay for the game and cheer on the team. The bars/parties/video games/friends/TV will still be there after the game is over. Show some loyalty…

  4. Much better showing last night for DU, but still a L. The tempo and crispness were much better last night, especially in the third period. The Pios looked really good as the game wound down–just needed to finish some of those chances. Give credit to the BC goalie–that kid was terrific. Disappointing opening weekend, but it’s a long season.

    Completely agree with Swami on the crowds. It was embarrassing. Lots of empty seats, a lousy student section, and an atmosphere better suited to a violin concerto. The marketing folks in athletics need to work some magic……..

  5. So how do people propose to get more people, students, to attend hockey games? Complaining about attendance won;t get anything done to attract attendees.

  6. whoru: We’re not just armchair QBs here taking unfounded shots at the kids… Many of people associated with this blog (both past and present) have worked tirelessly (both directly with DU and sometimes on our own) to improve DU school spirt and student engagement for many, many years now. And that’s exactly why we sometimes can get ticked when some students don’t appreciate all that have done (and are doing) for them).
    Some of our achievements include:
    1) Creating a successful organized student section at DU hockey during our student years that has helped create benchmarks for future student sections.
    2) Working directly with administration and student spirit leaders over many years for continuous improvement. These include meetings, reports, advice and counsel, funding, community outreach, lobbying and other behind-the-scenes work that most people will never see.
    3) Creating this 8-years-now successful DU sports blog to unite fans with a common place to congregate, celebrate, commiserate and help spread the DU sports experience around the world
    4) Creating a hugely popular unofficial costumed mascot program for the students when the school-created mascot failed. That mascot program is now student-run and been going strong in Denver for seven years now, with professional training, big media exposure, travel to key games around the nation and charitable event appearances
    5) We helped to revive of the 100 year old school fight song back in 2005 to unite generations of DU fans with a common shared experience
    6) Creating some of largest tailgate events the school has ever seen, including free party-bus transport for students for off-campus games
    7) Funding and creation of the largest spirit murals and fan banners in school history that are still in use today
    8) Encouraging greater access to student tickets, including giveaways and promotions, etc.

    I could go on with more, but the point here is we aren’t just yapping and complaining. We’ve put a lot our time, money and passion into improving school spirit at DU and we’ve done it for many years.

  7. OK. The DU fan base was categorized as “shameful” after Saturday’s game. I again ask, how can more fans be attracted to attend and stay at games? Going forward.

    1. Excellent question. The first solution is to build a higher sense of affinity between student and school, so that students WANT to stay at the games. That can take a long time to build – not every student is a rah-rah, and student attendance at sports all over the country is in decline, in large part due to the increased entertainment options they have.

      Many people believe that if you give students a free ticket, they will value it less than if you charged them something for it. Of course, free tickets will improve initial student attendance simply by lowering the barrier to entry, but it also creates the same lower barrier to leaving the game early, because the student may perceive that there is no economic incentive to recover the value of the ticket price by staying for the full game. Frankly, if students do actually pay for their ticket (some 300 are free for each game), it’s only $5, which is less than the cost of a movie, so the barrier is low, anyway.

      Most student attendance incentives these days seem to come down to some sort of above-board bribery — a swag or food giveaway. Student game attendance can now be tracked by the entry ticket scanners by student, so that prizes can be awarded for game (or cumulative game) attendance. My first solution would be to also devise an exit ticket scanning situation where student would also scan their tickets on the way out of the game in return for something that makes it worth their time to stay at the games and bother to rescan themselves. Let’s say a student does entry AND exit scan for 20 events, you get a hoody, etc.

      Any ideas you have are appreciated, too!

  8. Two words: free beer! Just kidding, but not really……

    I don’t have a great idea for more students in the seats. Students are students. They show up for big name opponents, namely CC and NoDak, and for everyone else the student section seems lacking.

    I want to know what DU is doing to attract more locals. What % of the locals in the residential areas immediately around campus attend DU games? How can we get more people to the games who live within walking and biking distance? I live close to campus and can walk to the games, which I love. No hassles with parking or driving. I would love to see a marketing campaign that targets all households within a mile of campus.

  9. IMO college hockey (and the NBA and NHL for that matter) suffer from oversupply. DU has 19 home games this year. Even more involved fans like myself will only make it to 3-4 in a season. It’s unfair to my family to make this their Saturday night more than this since we attend lacrosse games as well. The solution for us has been to attend the rivalry games as priority. Lacrosse has 6 regular season games.

    Also, I have bought 4 season tickets for quite a few years now so that its effectively a donation to the AD and any unused seats I can gift away. This year I did not renew seats. The chancellor is fostering a terrible PC environment that undermines the value of DU’s education. Unfortunately for the student-athletes, not giving DU my money is really the only tangible thing I can do to show my disgust (aside from speaking with some administration folks, which I have done).

Leave a Reply