Pioneers Earn Third Consecutive Shutout to Clinch Gold Pan in First-Ever Game at Ed Robson Arena

All of college hockey’s best teams always seem to find a way to get hot over the course of the second half of the season. Remember Denver’s 13-game winning streak leading up to the Frozen Faceoff in 2017? We are now well into the second half of the 2021-2022 season and the #5 Denver Pioneers (16-5-1, 9-3-0 NCHC, 27 pts) are in the midst of a 5-0-1 stretch since their loss at Minnesota Duluth in December. The fifth victory over that stretch, though, might have been the latest, a second straight thrashing of the Colorado College Tigers (6-13-3, 3-8-1 NCHC, 11 pts), this time by a score of 4-0, in their first-ever trip to Ed Robson Arena, CC’s new on-campus hockey facility. With the victory, the Pioneers not only swept the first home-and-home series of the season between the two archrivals, but they clinch the Gold Pan by virtue of being the current holders of the trophy. Even if CC finds a way to sweep the regular-season finale series, CC cannot earn enough points to win the trophy outright.

The shutout was another dominant performance for the Pioneers who simply can’t be beat, much less scored upon. Like a hockey-minded King Midas, everything that the Pios are touching right now is turning into goals. Denver’s offense is the most potent in the country thus far but what’s most impressive is since the 6-2 loss to the Bulldogs in Duluth, Denver has not scored fewer than four goals in a game since, even in their lone tie with Alaska-Fairbanks. It’s been a veritable offensive clinic and no one has been able to slow the Pios down.

“Going into the weekend, that’s the intent playing for the Gold Pan is to get the two wins,” DU assistant coach Dallas Ferguson, filling in again for head coach David Carle who remains in Covid-19 protocol, said of the trophy-clinching sweep. “The guys went out and played hard. I thought we had a good start to the game and getting the lead early was really important on the road. Considering how the game went last night, I think that was a big part of our success tonight.”

Maybe the best display of Denver’s offensive superiority was on senior captain Cole Guttman’s second goal of the night which came in the second period:

That’s a play that most players in college hockey simply can’t make but Guttman made it look easy and even gave a little sarcastic love to the CC student section which had was all but empty before the third period started.

“It was just a battle on the wall,” Guttman said, walking through his soon-to-be #1 play of the week in the NCHC. “Our line was buzzing and we had a lot of support all over the ice so the puck just popped out to me and I took it to the middle. As I was getting taken down, I just put it on the net and looked up and it was in.”

“They were all sitting so I told them to get up! They’re at a hockey game,” Guttman added when asked about his gesture to the student section.

It wasn’t just Denver’s offense that was on full display this weekend, though. Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona, the recipient of a lot of blame in the LetsGoDU comments, was perfect for the third game in a row, stopping all 18 CC shots. It was his third straight shutout and he has only given up eight goals over his past six games. He was named NCHC goaltender of the week last weekend after his first of these three straight and will almost certainly earn the award again.

“It’s been pretty good,” Chrona said of his shutout streak. “But I have a whole team battling in front of me and I think it’s made it pretty easy sometimes. I try to stay engaged and focused on my part of the job. It kind of gives me a confidence boost when [the offense] is putting up those kinds of shots and scoring goals. I just try to give us an extra boost.”

As great as Chrona was all weekend long for the Pioneers, their defensive play in front of him was at least as equally impressive. They prevented the Tigers from generating any sustained offensive momentum in both games and in all of their chances, the penalty kill swarmed to the puck and kept CC’s power-play units at bay. As a result, Denver ended up outshooting the Tigers 41-18 tonight and 81-37 on the weekend as a whole.

The most important thing Denver can do in the regular season is win and retain the Gold Pan. It’s just icing on the cake when they can seal it in the first weekend of the rivalry. It’s no surprise to anyone who follows modern college hockey that Denver is in a different stratosphere than Colorado College but when they impose their will on the Tigers the way they did this weekend, it’s simple to understand why Denver has dominated this rivalry for the better part of the last decade. No, this dominance probably won’t last – it never does – but as so many DU fans say, “no pity for the kitty.” Once again, and this will never ever get old, Denver owns the I-25 corridor.

“It’s our first trophy,” Guttman said. “It’s hard to win any sort of trophy so I’m really proud of how everyone really rallied together this weekend and just took it to them.”


Top photo: Gary Campbell, USCHO

9 thoughts on “Pioneers Earn Third Consecutive Shutout to Clinch Gold Pan in First-Ever Game at Ed Robson Arena”

  1. The soft stretch of the DU hockey schedule ends in two weeks. Hope we’re getting ready for St. Cloud and Duluth!

  2. I don’t remember that 14 game win streak in 2017, wondering if that may be because it didn’t happen? In any case, great sweep by the Pioneers, what a dominant weekend. Wonder what the impressions are of CCs new arena. Cozy? Good? Look forward to seeing it, maybe next year.

    1. Ah you’re right. My mistake. It was a 13 game winning streak entering the 2017 Frozen Faceoff, not 14. Just fixed it!

      1. Good deal, sir. 13 or 14, one helluva streak. I have to check and see if the 2005 championship had any streaks that long.

  3. There is nothing like a Sunday morning after a sweep of an arch rival – the sun seems a little warmer, and relaxing smiles come easily…

    Excellent performances this weekend from the Pios, taking down CC without giving up a goal. A shutout sweep is a rare thing in NCHC hockey — DU handily won all six periods, and now take over first place in the NCHC.

    CC adjusted from Saturday’s loss by trying to keep closer gap control on the Pios, but at the end of the day, they were limited adjustments. The Pios had too much speed and skill for CC to handle over the course of 60 minutes.

    Clearly David Carle’s gamble of going with a youth movement instead of retaining all those 5th year seniors is proving to be a massive success and DU has arrived ahead of schedule. Clearly, DU’s freshmen are making a much bigger impact than freshmen in other programs. as these players mature in NCHC competition. Additionally, improvements in Magnus Chona’s game are paying off as well, as he is helping to elevate the Pioneers to elite level performances.

    Now it’s on to Miami. On paper, this should be another sweep of a struggling Redhawk program for the the Pios, but road sweeps aren’t easy in the league, and DU must guard against complacency. First place may be a hard-won mid-season reward for the DU program, but a really difficult part of the schedule with SCSU, UMD and WMU all looming ahead in February.

  4. An emphatic series sweep for DU. That was awesome. 9 goals scored, 0 allowed, and a DU team that consistently pushed the pace and had the Tigers on their heels all weekend. CC had no answers.

    This upcoming series against Miami is an important one. While Miami has only 1 NCHC victory to date and only 4 overall wins, the fact is DU has been a very average team away from Magness Arena this year, going 5-5 on the road. And as we all know, the schedule gets significantly more difficult next month. I am sure this will be a point of emphasis this week and I expect DU to not overlook the Redhawks.

  5. Swami, would like your input. When those players were transferring out of DU, I wondered whether Carle was losing his grip on the program a bit. (They also had a bad season.) Is it now confirmed that those players were pushed out to make room for the younger players? If so, maybe it worked out. But was that a bit cold-blooded by Carle, or just the new reality with easier transfers?

  6. My thought is that Carle was likely unhappy with the team culture by the end of last season, and last year’s culture problem has been hinted at in public player comments this year – “we are all getting along this year,” etc.

    Carle has only 18 scholarships each year for a 27-ish player roster, and for every incoming player you defer back to the juniors, you run the risk of them signing somewhere else…

    So Carle and his coaches decided that taking the new guys was better than hosting most of the old guys for another year, who as seniors, guided DU to a losing season and a finish out of the NCAA tourney.

    He knew what all those older players could do, and only Barrow was given the right of return.

    So yes, I think Carle moved them out to make room for a new culture…

  7. Pios setting up nicely down the stretch. Need to have a solid finish and try to get favorable positioning heading into the postseason. Get hot late like this and anything can happen.

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