Pioneers Stay Hot to Sweep Season Series with Sun Devils with 7-1 Victory

The #12 Denver Pioneers (10-4-0, 4-2-0, 12 pts) have the nation’s best offense, in case you didn’t read last night’s recap of the 6-2 win. Tonight, in their fourth game against the Arizona State Sun Devils (7-9-0), the Pios once again increased their goals per game average – 4.42 coming into the weekend – to 4.71 (crazy commenters, check my math). Brett Stapley added two more points to a weekend where he already recorded a hat trick, Sean Behrens scored his first career goal, and the Pios’ power play scored four (yes, four!) goals, including two from freshman Massimo Rizzo, in six tries. For the second night in a row, DU used the third period to step on ASU’s throats and put the game out of reach. Denver outscored Arizona State 13-3 this weekend and won all four games against the Sun Devils by a combined 25-9 score (again, check my math).

We will have a full weekend recap tomorrow morning with a more in-depth analysis of both games.

Photo of Cole Guttman courtesy of Denver Athletics

3 thoughts on “Pioneers Stay Hot to Sweep Season Series with Sun Devils with 7-1 Victory”

  1. Another crushing beat down of the Sun Devils issued by the Pioneers, who are the best offensive team in the country. Stapely is the one guy who really stepped up this weekend offensively, and that really helps DU take some of the pressure off Guttman, Savoie and Brink to always dominate the scoresheet. Love Rizzo and Mazur’s continued progress this weekend, and seeing Behrens and Devine get the first Pio goal monkey off their backs was fun too.

    ASU hung tough for a while on Saturday, but as the game went along, DU got its legs going and the Pios had too much speed, PP moxie and depth of offensive skills in transition for ASU to handle. That kind of offensive tool bag is a big problem for many of DU’s opponents that are not top 20 hockey schools – they just aren’t used to handling the speed at which DU does its thing…

    The other factor that bodes well for Denver is that Magnus Chrona is now back over .900 on the season in saves percentage after struggling early on, and he’s now seems to be clearly moving in the right direction. He was in good position and did a very nice job handling the many shots ASU threw at him this weekend from all over the ice. DU is going to need him to be at this level (or better) for the rest of the season.

    The Pios are now firing on multiple lines, winning on the road and playing with some confidence again, with a trip to Duluth looming next. UMD is likely going to be in a very bad wounded-animal mood after getting swept at Northern Michigan where the Wildcats just hung 10 goals on the Dawgs in Marquette, five in each game – a rarity, likely due to UMD’s stupendous regular goalie, Ryan Fanti, being out for Covid protocols while his backup is being treated for testicular cancer, forcing UMD’s third goalie to play vs NMU. Fanti should be back for the DU series, so expect UMD to be much better than they were in Marquette…

    Finally, while there was some chippy play this weekend, I like the fact that DU and ASU have developed a bit of a rivalry in a short time. Having DU harping on ASU’s many uniforms, and ASU beating and tying DU back in 2019 brought some of the initial sparks, and DU sweeping all four this year was some sweet revenge for the Pios. Also, a hearty good-bye to the grungy, squalid hovel that is Oceanside Arena. Thank God DU won’t have to play any more games in that derelict community hockey rink. Once the gorgeous new ASU hockey arena opens next season, I hope the NCHC adds the Sun Devils to the league. ASU is a very competitive program at a big sports-brand PAC-12 school, a short flight, a pleasurable winter road trip for Denver fans and great gathering place for DU alums in the Southwest, too. I love what ASU brings to the table, and with the new arena, they are going to be an upper echelon program…They already have 24 home games scheduled for next season…

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