Denver Drops 5-1 Contest in Kalamazoo

It was a tough weekend for DU hockey (14-6-3) in a place that has been nothing but a nightmare for the past two seasons (0-4). Saturday night was no different as the Broncos raced out to an early 2-0 advantage in the first seven minutes and cruised to a 5-1 victory. The only good news was a power play goal by DU’s Emilio Pettersen who broke a 0-5 power play drought for the Pioneers to score DU’s lone goal. Denver finished 1-8 on the man advantage for the game.

Denver dropped Friday’s contest 3-1 and Saturday’s 5-1. Denver played a feisty Western Michigan squad in a rowdy Lawson Ice Arena.

David Carle pulled Filip Larsson midway through the second period, down 5-0, and replaced him with third string goalie Michael Corson. Devin Cooley was out of action with the flu. Corson held the home team scoreless for the final 30 minutes.

Carle credited Western Michigan with the pace and energy advantage for the weekend series. “The pace of play in the NCHC is a different level (than non-conference).” That makes the upcoming series at Magness Arena against North Dakota next weekend a critical contest for the Pioneers. Now, the Pioneers must fight for home ice during the conference playoffs.

No excuses for the young Pioneer squad but the (20) underclassmen are no doubt experiencing the grind, quality and intensity of the NCHC.

8 thoughts on “Denver Drops 5-1 Contest in Kalamazoo”

  1. Shit happens. You lay an egg sometimes. Team overachieved so far, I’ll still be happy with a playoff berth and a puncher’s chance.

  2. You could see this coming, even in the wins over Omaha and the tie against CC where DU did “just enough” to get the results they needed. But against better opponents, the sporadic effort levels, the poor special teams work and below average goaltending led to getting their ass kicked…

    WMU owned the Pios from the drop of the puck on both nights. The Broncos are bigger and stronger team than DU is, and when they came out both nights breathing fire and throwing their weight around early, DU got hammered and was unable to answer the bell until much later in both games, when the outcomes were already decided.

    What is bothersome about Saturday’s game is that DU knew exactly what was coming after what happened on Friday night, and was still unprepared to stop it, with Western scoring twice in the first seven minutes, and tacking on another three goals before the Pios woke up and played hard when WMUs foot was already off the gas. I would have expected DU to be the fire breathing team on Saturday, but alas, the game was well in hand when the Pios finally broke through.

    All in all, this can be a great lesson for DU about the kind of compete level that is needed to win on the road in this league, and the Pios need to really improve the intensity of their starts.

    The next games are in February, which is the month that separates the contenders from the also-rans. If the Pios want to contend, they are going to need to reach deeper and fight harder from the very beginning, get the special teams back on track, and have their goalie go back to giving up less than three goals per game. Only then will they have a shot…

    Yes – this is a young team and they are going to have games that make you want to pull your hair out. That’s the NCHC, where even your best effort is no guarantee of a win. With UND coming in here with their swagger back after taking St. Cloud to the woodshed on Saturday night, the Pios need to be ready on the puck drop on Friday.

  3. Tough weekend indeed. Suddenly the unbeaten streak seems like a distant memory. Mediocre goaltending, struggling special teams, and a subpar compete level, combined with a very determined and tough WMU team made this a series to forget. I think WMU is a tough matchup for DU overall, but still, I expected this Pioneer team to earn at least a split. Full credit to WMU, though. They may fly under the radar a bit nationally, but they are no joke.

    On the one hand, while DU has some things to clean up and improve, there’s no reason to panic. This team has done a lot of good things up to this point, overachieved in many regards, and currently sits 6th in the Pairwise. The Pios are young but they have shown grit and perseverance. On the other hand, there’s tough sledding ahead. UND is in town next weekend for a huge series and then DU travels to UMD. And DU is now in a battle for home ice for the NCHC 1st round. I’ll be very interested to see how this team responds. I expect a very strong effort next weekend against the Sioux.

    1. I don’t think DU is a bad as they played against WMU, but they clearly don’t look like a deep-run playoff team right now, either.

      WMU is a just a bad matchup for DU, especially at Lawson. They are much bigger and heavier than DU, and the Broncos don’t lose many there, either.

      The PWR still sets up pretty well for DU the rest of the way, but the Pios need to sweep the teams they should sweep – CC, Miami and Omaha, and if they can split with North Dakota and UMD, they should be fine for the NCAAs. However, if they can’t fix the special teams, compete level and goaltending, this season will indeed become the rebuilding season we all feared it would become.

      I am sure last weekend does not sit well with team, and I expect to see at least more fire from DU against UND. The first 10 minutes on Friday will be very revealing…

  4. The good news–Todd Andersen is retiring this year. Now let’s hope we don’t see him for the North Dakota series. Or any other for that matter.

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