Pioneers to Skate Shorthanded at Frozen Faceoff Due to COVID

According to College Hockey News, the University of Denver (9-12-1) will be short-handed headed into Saturday’s first-round showdown with Omaha (14-9-1) at the new-look, single-elimination NCHC Frozen Faceoff in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

DU will travel with only 16 skaters instead of 24 but all three goalies are available. It is not known at the moment which eight players will not make the trip. We also do not know if the eight players were infected by the virus or sidelined due to isolation and/or contact tracing.

It is strictly speculation but CC had COVID-19 issues the weekend after Denver clinched the Gold Pan which caused the final series of the season to be canceled. While there is no reported transmission of the virus via sport, it’s certainly possible and even likely that it has already happened, especially in the NHL. Colorado College’s issues with COVID-19, you’ll remember, caused the postponement or cancellation of games three separate times this year.

Expect some unusual line combinations. This is the worst possible news in what has been a bumpy at best season for DU hockey.

Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

6 thoughts on “Pioneers to Skate Shorthanded at Frozen Faceoff Due to COVID”

  1. Looking back, it was a real bummer to have seasons canceled a year ago when both skiing and hockey were well positioned for national title runs (skiing was pretty much there !)

    I guess this year, just be thankful student athletes got to do anything. This whole year sucks on so many levels, most much more significant than this

    That said, quite a downer as I had fingers crossed for a lucky run in NCHC tourney

  2. In a one game scenario, you might be able get by on 16 skaters, but with three games in four days, it’s hard to see the Pioneers being able to hold up as other better teams inevitably wear them down by rolling four lines of offensive players.

    Here’s what I would do if I was Carle. Skate three lines of your best available forwards (nine guys) and skate three d-pairs (six guys) for a total of 15 skaters. The one final leftover skater (player 16) is a guy who can play forward or defense (probably Mayhew if he’s available), and you use him as needed. Play conservatively, don’t use your timeout too early, make sure shifts are short, and score first to keep from expending extra energy trying to come back.

    Of course, a lot of this strategy depends on which players are out of action and not on the airplane to Grand Forks…

  3. Well, I was cautiously optimistic heading into the NCHC tournament. After reading this, not so much. I don’t know…..the stars just haven’t aligned for this DU team at all this season. If the Pios could somehow win two games and find themselves with an opportunity to win this tournament and earn a berth in the national tournament, I’d be thrilled.

  4. Looking forward to this weekend… but much more to next season so we can start all over with a ‘normal’ college hockey season.

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