Denver Hockey Series Preview: Colorado College

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette

The Pioneers are back in action this weekend when they play their final series with rival Colorado College

After a week off from games, the Denver Pioneers are back on the ice this weekend when they play another home-and-home series with the Colorado College Tigers.  Since the Pios last played a couple things have happened.  Troy Terry left to play for Team USA in the Winter Olympics and his teammates have been cheering him on from Colorado.  After watching him play, NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire compared Terry to Milan Hejduk.

Another notable thing happened in Pioneer news.  Head coach Jim Montgomery recently celebrated becoming a United States citizen.

This weekend will be another test to the Denver Pioneers as last time these two teams met, they tied both games.  At the time, Denver was the No. 1 team in the country but they are now sitting at No. 2.

After this series with CC, the Pios only have two more series left before the NCHC Tournament begins so they will want to keep this momentum going.  Colorado College is coming off a tough loss at North Dakota and will want to get back on track with a win against another ranked team.  Hopefully, the Troy Terry-less Pios can find a way to get some more points in the standings without one of their top stars.

Strengths

Breakout Seasons

Whatever adjustments head coach Mike Haviland made this season have been working for his Tigers.  Several of his players including Mason Bergh, Nick Halloran, Trey Bradley, and Trevor Gooch are having breakout seasons.  Haviland has found a line combination that has great chemistry and has given the Tigers a huge boost this season.  The team’s success has already carried the Tigers to a 12 win season, something that hasn’t happened since 2012-2013.

CC’s Compete

The Tigers have only lost four times at home this year and those losses came from North Dakota, Omaha, and two from Minnesota-Duluth; all NCHC teams.  Denver knows that Duluth is a pain to play against and the other two aren’t pushovers either.  The point is that CC comes to play every night, especially when they’re in front of their home crowd.  Denver currently sits 3 points behind 1st place St. Cloud State, and CC would love to play spoiler this weekend; especially against the Pios.

Opportunities

You can score on Leclerc

Tiger’s goaltender Alex Leclerc has a much-improved record from his freshman year, but his goals against average is around the same at 3.2 per game.  In his last eight games, Leclerc is allowing close to four goals per game, but his team can also score just as many.  This series will be weighed heavily on the Denver defense and if Tanner Jaillet can keep CC’s top line from producing.  It should make for another track-meet type series with a lot of chances for both teams.

Tanner Jaillet is rolling

On the other side of the ice, Denver goaltender Tanner Jaillet hasn’t lost a game since January 5th.  In his last eight games, he is 5-1-2 and has a total of six shutouts this season.  He is a big reason the Pioneers started their second half so strong.  Jaillet has only lost two games on the road this season and he’s looking to extend his win streak to three games Friday.

Who to Watch

#13 – F – Nick Halloran – 17G, 23A

#15 – F – Mason Bergh – 15G, 19A

#14 – F – Trey Bradley – 5G, 20A

#27 – F – Troy Conzo –  5G, 8A

#1 – G – Alex Leclerc – 12-10-4, 3.20 GAA, .902 SV%

Prediction – Denver Sweeps CC, keeps Gold Pan

With 13 points in his last ten games, Dylan Gambrell has been playing out of his mind of late.  I predict he has a huge weekend, along with the Denver defense.  Troy Terry is great at creating space and without that, the Pioneer defensemen will become a lot more aggressive to try and keep the puck in the zone.  Look for Adam Plant to get on the scoring sheet and show why he’s a big leader on this team, as well as Tariq Hammond.

Twitter Follow – @CC_Hockey1

Where to Watch/Listen 

Friday @ Broadmoor World Arena – 8:05pm MT, CBS Sports Network, 104.3 The Fan

Saturday @Magness Arena – 7:05pm MT, Altitude, 104.3 The Fan

3 thoughts on “Denver Hockey Series Preview: Colorado College”

  1. Can’t wait for this series. Home stretch is upon us–only 6 regular season games left. After a bye, I expect the Pios to come out flying. If they keep their foot on the gas and push the pace, it’ll be a sweep.

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