The Denver Pioneers Hockey program announced today its full schedule for the 2022-2023 season. In addition to hosting the annual Ice Breaker Tournament in October, the non-conference headline-grabbing matchup is the very next weekend’s trip back to Massachusetts to take on UMass-Amherst. This matchup of the last two national champions will be the Pioneers’ first trip back to the Bay State since winning the national title in Boston in April.
The full schedule is below:
Oct. 1 vs. UNLV (Exhibition)
Oct. 7 vs. Notre Dame (Ice Breaker Tournament)
Oct. 8 vs. Maine (Ice Breaker Tournament)
Oct. 14/15 at UMass-Amherst
Oct. 21/22 vs. Providence
Oct. 28/29 at Miami
Nov. 4/5 vs. St. Cloud State
Nov. 11/12 at North Dakota
Nov. 25/26 vs. Omaha
Dec. 2/3 vs. Arizona State
Dec. 9/10 at Minnesota Duluth
Dec. 16/17 vs. Lindenwood
Jan. 6/7 vs. Alaska Fairbanks
Jan. 13/14 vs. Miami
Jan. 20/21 at St. Cloud State
Jan. 27 vs. Colorado College
Feb. 4 at Colorado College
Feb. 10/11 vs. North Dakota
Feb. 17/18 vs. Minnesota Duluth
Feb. 24/25 at Western Michigan
March 3/4 vs/at Colorado College
The question undoubtedly on everyone’s mind after last season’s ninth championship is when will the Pioneers hang their ninth banner? While no plans have been put in place yet, it will likely take place before or during the first intermission of the opening IceBreaker Tournament matchup with Notre Dame on October 7th.
Which games are you looking forward to?
— Denver Hockey (@DU_Hockey) June 9, 2022
The Pioneers will play seven different non-conference opponents next season – Notre Dame, Maine, UMass-Amherst, Providence, Arizona State, Lindenwood, and Alaska Fairbanks. They’ll play five games against Hockey East – a conference it struggled against early in the season last year with losses at Providence and Boston College – and its matchup with Maine will be the programs’ first since October of 2007 when the Pioneers swept the Black Bears 2-0 & 3-1 at Magness Arena. Denver fans will also, of course, remember the national championship matchup in 2004 – the last time Denver won a national title in Boston prior to last season – when DU killed off an extended 6-on-3 situation in the final minute and a half to hang on to the 1-0 win and clinch its sixth title.
In NCHC play, after a year in which the Pios played archrival North Dakota (A) and St. Cloud State (H) just twice each, which led to a bit of Penrose Cup controversy, the normal rotation shifts once again and they will once again play both of those perennial contenders four times each. Instead, this year’s rotation has DU playing Omaha (H) and Western Michigan (A) just twice each.
Elsewhere, the first Gold Pan matchup will be split up across two consecutive weekends at the end of January (Magness Arena) and the beginning of February (Ed Robson Arena) with just one game each weekend. Then, the Pioneers and Tigers will finish their respective regular seasons with the traditional home-and-home matchup on the final weekend.
And for those of you making your plans for next spring, Denver won’t be hosting another regional until 2026 (which also will be in Loveland) but the Frozen Four will be back at Amalie Arena in Tampa for the first time since 2016 when Denver dropped a heartbreaking thriller to North Dakota in the national semifinal. UND, of course, went on to win its eighth national title, a year before the Pioneers accomplished the same feat.
What are your thoughts on the schedule? Do you like the non-conference slate? Which games are you most looking forward to? Sound off in the comments.
Top photo of the 2022-23 season courtesy of Denver Hockey