Denver Opens 2023-24 Season With 7-3 Drubbing of Alaska

The #4 Denver Pioneers (1-0-0, 0-0-0 NCHC) opened their season on the road for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Just like that season, the Pios made the long trek to Fairbanks to take on the Alaska Nanooks. However, unlike that trip, Denver opened this campaign with a dominant 7-3 victory (instead of a tight, 4-3 win that year). Junior forward Jack Devine and sophomore defenseman Kent Anderson each scored twice while Boston Buckberger, Aidan Thompson, and senior captain McKade Webster rounded out the  Pios’ 7-goal onslaught.

Denver, as expected was the better team from start to finish but the same big problem that plagued the Pioneers a year ago – the penalty kill – hurt them early. After Webster took the game’s first penalty on a tripping call under four minutes into the game, Alaska’s Jonny Sorenson beat DU’s new starting netminder Matty Davis about a minute into the man-advantage.

But, from there, it was all Denver. Anderson sandwiched Buckberger’s first career goal with his first two career tallies before Devine got in on the action to cement a 4-1 lead in the 2nd period. Harrison Israels finally responded to pull the Nanooks back to within two but that would be as close as the game would be as the Pios coasted to the 7-3 victory. DU added two power-play goals in the third from Devine and Webster for good measure. Devine led the team with four points on the night while Massimo Rizzo, the 2022-23 leading scorer in the NCHC, chipped in three assists for a three-point night. Five other Pioneers recorded multi-point nights.

DU’s offense is once again expected to be its biggest strength this season and they showed up in a big way against Alaska, the darlings of the 2022-23 season whose Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament fell just short. The last time the Pioneers scored at least seven goals in its season opener was in the 2021-22 season when they beat Arizona State 8-3 en route to a season-opening home sweep and, later, the program’s ninth national title.

The Pioneers take on the Nanooks again tomorrow night, looking for the sweep. The puck drops at Carlson Center in Fairbanks at 7pm MT.

A Note From LetsGoDU:


2 thoughts on “Denver Opens 2023-24 Season With 7-3 Drubbing of Alaska”

  1. Pios were very opportunistic last night to hit the ground running and take the win on the road. Excited to see scoring from some unexpected sources like Kent Anderson and Boston Buckburger from the blue line, and of course, scoring seven goals in any game is terrific.

    Of course, in a first game of the year, there are always jitters, new faces, and mistakes that will eventually dissipate as players get more game minutes. Expect adjustments for tonight’s game on both sides.

    Lots of areas will need to improve – PK, goaltending, and face-offs for starters.

Leave a Reply