On the brink of a fourth consecutive Gold Pan and coming off a shutout win over the Tigers at Ball Arena last weekend, the #4 Denver Pioneers (21-7-0, 12-4-0 NCHC) traveled to Colorado Springs for Round Two of the 2022-23 Battle for the Gold Pan. As with many large rivales, tensions were high and penalties and rough play were the name of the game.
DU got two power play opportunities within the first half of the first period and on the second, Casey Dornbach capitalized with help of Shai Buium and Kent Anderson. After a CC power play which the Pios killed off, Justin Lee found the back of the net to extend the Pios’ lead to two at the end of the opening period.
Period two was horribly slow with most of the drama being a Tigers power play late in the period that was killed by the Pios but it was just the opener to an incredible third period.
Though DU started the period strong, CC was awarded a questionable penalty shot. Hunter McKown beat DU goaltendner Magnus Chrona, who had previously held a five-game shutout streak over the Tigers, which gave CC their first and only goal of the night. It broke an incredible shutout streak for the Pios’ senior goaltender, though DU answered right back with a five-on-three goal from Mike Benning and it restored the two-goal lead.
Carter King ended the CC comeback effort with an empty-net tally to clinch the Pios’ win but it wasn’t before an incredible exercise of a fight. In the final minute of the the game, a brawl broke out and left CC’s Noah Laba with a roughing minor and DU’s Lee with a game misconduct for grabbing the facemask.
With a 4-1 win and a fourth consecutive Gold Pan, DU heads back home to Magness Arena for the next two weekends of play against North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, respectively.
Top photo courtesy the University of Denver
5 thoughts on “Denver Brings Home the Gold Pan in an Eventful Night in Colorado Springs”
Pios took care of business in a tense game in front of a loud crowd. You captured the game perfectly. Go Pio from the Dunker
I loved it when Benning grabbed his jersey after scoring. A little “in your face” always feels good. It’s good to know that there are still some constants in the world, like that fact that after all of these years CC still sucks!
Very good road win in a hostile rivalry arena to secure the Gold Pan.
Time for the Pioneers to continue to play smart and effective hockey down the stretch and get that PWR ranking from the current six into the top four by NCAA selection time. DU should want to be a top four seed (also known as a one seed).
Key to that rise will be Mazur and Rizzo resuming scoring. Mazur is pointless in his last five games, and has only 2 goals in his last nine games, and Rizzo hasn’t scored in his last six games, either. For DU to be an NCAA Tampa threat, I think those two players need to rise above the special defensive coverages they draw from opponents and produce 5 on 5, or at least on the PP.
Love seeing this! 2-0 vs CC this year, and the Gold Pan remains firmly in the hands of the Crimson and Gold.