Their last regular season loss was October 31st, 2014. Could this incredible streak actually be hurting Jamie Frank’s team? Could a loss by the Pioneers (10-0-2) to #9 non-conference Butler (Monday, October 10th) actually be a good thing?
Look at the stats, and DU is having another incredible year, outscoring their competitors by 3 to 1 and registering 7 shutouts. But, as the wins pile up, the games seem to be getting closer and closer. Of course, other teams are getting better as the season advances but is DU starting to ‘play tight’? Over the last 5 games, DU was shutout one game, scored one goal in three games, and slipped by IPFW 4-3 in a late goal thriller. During that same stretch, DU ‘s stout defense, the strength of this year’s team, shut-out their opponents in 4 out of the 5 matches.
Few doubt that DU’s squad has the skill, character, and coaching to advance deep into the NCAA’s. But the offensive performance, slowing of late, may put their ambitions at risk. They have out-shot their opponents 14-7.8 per game and outscored their opponents 21-7 so far this season. They are out-shooting their opponents 168-94 and outscoring them by a significant margin. So what is the worry?
Against their first three Summit League teams, they have won each road match by 1 goal. DU needed a late goal (78.17) to win the match against IPFW. Then, it took two first-time goals by DU to slip by Eastern Illinois and IUPUI. Unlike last year, DU has been scoring ‘by committee’. However, when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, many teams are led by creative, reliable forwards who have the ability to consistently score goals for their teams. DU may not have that go-to goal scorer.
DU is getting a high number of shots-on-goal this season but if they want their streak to continue, they need to get their efficiency up. Are they playing tight, especially around the goal? Are they feeling the pressure of a nearly 2-year regular season winning steak? Would a non-conference loss against 8th-ranked Butler on the road actually take the pressure off a DU team with high ambition?
Unlikely. DU wins 1-0 in another squeaker.