St. Cloud State slips by Denver, 5-1

Anything that could go wrong went wrong for the #6 Denver Pioneers against the St. Cloud State Huskies on Friday night in St. Cloud, Minnesota as they fell 6-1. It was a fairly even game through the first period and into the early part of the second…until it wasn’t. The Huskies scored often and the Pioneers simply didn’t have an answer for the onslaught.

It seemed the Pioneers had turned a corner against Miami, scoring 14 goals last weekend en route to a dominant sweep. But DU was issued a cold dose of reality by the streaking Huskies who added onto an impressive streak that includes taking five of six points from top-ranked North Dakota last weekend.

This was the exact opposite of what Denver was hoping to achieve tonight with home ice in the first round of the NCHC Tournament on the line. Now, all they can do is shake this one off and come out and play for the split tomorrow and minimize the effects of the loss.

We will have a more in-depth recap in our Sunday weekend on review. But in the meantime, share your thoughts and vent your frustrations below. Shake this off and get ready for tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “St. Cloud State slips by Denver, 5-1”

  1. Time for truth.

    David Carle talked postgame about taking penalties as the cause of the loss, but I think if you look underneath that cover, you see two far more pernicious causes that he’s not talking about in public, because he’s smart enough to not publicly tamper with the fragile confidence level of his team.

    First, as has often happened this season, the opposing team scored first, forcing DU to play from behind. The frequency this year of opposing teams scoring first is often indicative of a team that is not quite mentally prepared for the game. This year, Denver is 11-0-2 when scoring first. When they don’t score first, DU is 8-9-3. That’s a big difference in stats and in team confidence level. With the talent levels in the NCHC being what they are, having the confidence to win is the difference in winning – swagger. This year, the Pios have confidence against the lower level teams in the NCHC and the non-league teams they have faced, but against the better teams in the league, the confidence hasn’t been there, and the lack of wins against the better teams proves it.

    Let’s go deeper. Why isn’t DU mentally ready against the good teams in the NCHC? I think a big part of it is quality of goaltending. This year, DU’s team defense is ranked 12th in the nation – very solid but not quite elite level. But DU’s team saves percentage, which measures the goalie quality, is only .910. – very average. Individually, Chrona is at .917, which ranks around 25th in the nation, Cooley is at .908, which ranks around 40th. That is an average level of goaltending which is probably not good enough to win championships. Of course, if you have an elite offense, you can cover for average goaltending, but this year, DU’s offense is also 12th nationally, not quite elite, either.

    Last year, the DU team saves percentage was .930, the year before .921 and the year before, it was .930. The difference between saving 91% of the shots, and 93% of the shots, over the course of a season is the difference between elite and non-elite. And having confidence in your goalie is what produces confidence, swagger and team belief…

  2. Needless to say, a lousy performance. Not much in the way of positives to take from last night. Goal tending was sub par, special teams sub par, and I just didn’t see enough jam from the second period on. DU was solid in the first, skating well and generating some chances. After that, there wasn’t much to cheer about. Too many penalties, not much of a forecheck, and not enough traffic in front of Hrenak, a strong goaltender, to make his job difficult. Additionally, I just didn’t see enough tenacity, especially in that 2nd period. It was far too easy for SCSU to carry the puck in, generate their own forecheck, and drive to the net to create pressure. Pios were too passive, on the PK and also at even strength.

    Pios still control their own destiny to secure home ice for the 1st round of the conference tournament, but they are teetering on the edge. A loss tonight pushes them back to 5th place. DU finishes with CC, while SCSU finishes with UMD. While CC is an easier opponent, at least on paper, the way SCSU has been playing, they can beat anybody.

    Hopefully the effort, execution, and discipline is better tonight. Otherwise DU is in for another long night.

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