Just go back in time to Nick Tremaroli’s 2016-17 UNIVERSITY OF DENVER HOCKEY SEASON PREVIEW to read the LetsGoDU editor’s prediction. Denver entered the season without two-thirds of their storied Pacific Rim Line (Trevor Moore and Danton Heinen), along with the graduation of team leader and captain Grant Arnold. DU did have a local kid, Troy Terry, who looked pretty good the second half of the prior season. Also, DU would also have to rely on a skilled but unproven freshman from Finland, Henrik Borgström, to provide scoring punch.
Honestly, things looked a bit iffy to many prognosticators.
Sure, the Pioneers would be good but how good? Well, Denver dropped their first two games, both on home ice, against Ohio State and Boston College in the Ice Breaker Tournament. Then, the Pioneers went on a 32-5-4 tear the rest of the way to a national title.
Below is Nick’s preseason prediction from October – pretty good, eh?
Last year, I predicted that the Pioneers would make a run to the Frozen Four…and I was right. Don’t believe me? Read it and weep.
I don’t see many scenarios where the Pioneers don’t make it back to the Frozen Four this year. Barring any serious injuries, DU is going to be one of the country’s top teams all year long. They’re going to be a hard team to play against and even with the loss of [Danton] Heinen and [Trevor] Moore, the 2016-17 Pioneers have gotten better. The 2015-16 run to the Frozen Four wasn’t a fluke. That team was good. This team will be better.
Whatever happens in the NCHC Tournament is kind of irrelevant. Of course the Pios want to hoist the Penrose Cup and win the NCHC Tournament, but the bottom line is they want to win a national title. Montgomery wouldn’t come out and say it immediately, but he doesn’t have to. This team is hungry to make up for the heartbreak in Tampa last season.
Hoisting a trophy in Chicago in April is the goal this year and there is no reason the Pios can’t accomplish it.
I don’t make a habit of picking a national champion at the beginning of the season because so many different things could happen at the Frozen Four, but the bottom line is this: I’ll be shocked if DU is not one of the four college hockey teams playing hockey in Chicago in early April.
I hope you’re ready, Pios. College hockey is back.