All posts by Sasha Kandrach

Denver Edges Duluth to Secure Weekend Sweep

photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

After a relentless defensive battle was exerted between the top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers and the No. 15 University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (UMD) each team anticipated the other to make a mistake and capitalize on the stumble. The Pioneers earned the weekend sweep with the 2-1 victory in Saturday, Dec. 2 night’s game, after they edged the Bulldogs’ in Friday night’s contest of the 2017 national championship rematch hosted at AMSOIL Arena. Continue reading Denver Edges Duluth to Secure Weekend Sweep

Reigning Champions re-identifying process to success

Photo courtesy Shannon Valerio

When pressure is high, critiques are intensified, and obstacles appear overwhelming, it’s easy to get derailed from the end goal in sight. To avoid detrimental setbacks, periodically resetting is advantageous; to reset, reflect and refocus. With national attention fixated on the reigning national champions, the top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers, for the duration of their subsequent season the program has faced such a drawback. Continue reading Reigning Champions re-identifying process to success

Denver captain Tariq Hammond makes season debut in North Dakota loss

photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

The calendar year of 2017 would simultaneously be a gratifying and trying year for Tariq Hammond. The University of Denver Pioneers defenseman helped his team claim their eighth national title over Minnesota Duluth on April 8. Unfortunately, the staple of Denver’s blueline was on the receiving end of crunching hit against the boards that snapped his ankle requiring surgery. Continue reading Denver captain Tariq Hammond makes season debut in North Dakota loss

From the eyes of David Carle, a glance at North Dakota

photo courtesy of Patrick Green

Rivalries create a stage of passion-driven, high caliber play among an of atmosphere fueled by passionate supporters awaiting to witness how the continuum of the storied collision will result. The unfolding storylines between the top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (6-2-2) and the No. 3 University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (7-2-3) continues to divulge to the delight of the those who have witnessed the rivalry cultivate, as one of the richest in college hockey. Continue reading From the eyes of David Carle, a glance at North Dakota

Borgstrom extends goal tally to 11 in DU’s 4-2 victory over St. Cloud

photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

Finnish phenom Henrik Borgstrom astonished Magness arena with his composure low in  the slot. The sophomore forward swept the puck across the crease in one slick motion before lofting it top-shelf to score his 10h goal of the University of Denver Pioneers’ nine games played in the 207-18 season. The Helsinki, Finland native would extend to his goal tally to 11 scoring an empty net goal with 32 seconds remaining in the game and finishing his 11th of the season.

“He’s so creative, like I’ve never seen goals like that before,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “The first one; that was incredible. That he has the poise to take it from one side to the other and then the skill to roof it when you’re a foot from the net is unreal. Let’s hope it goes again and again a lot more times this year. I’m just really happy with our team effort. When you have special players like that that allows your team to shine in special moments.”

Borgstrom’s goal would be the first of four, in the No. 3-ranked Pioneer’s 4-2 victory over the No. 1-ranked St. Cloud State University Huskies on Friday, Nov. 10. The Florida Panthers prospect had also had a hand in the security goal, as junior forward Jarid Lukosevicius notched the second and third goals that put DU on top.

“I just feel like I’m getting kind of lucky all of the time too and I’m getting good passes. It feels like everything I shoot goes in. I don’t think I’m doing anything different in goal-scoring situations, it’s just going in. Otherwise I feel stronger and stuff like that, but otherwise I don’t think that effects my scoring really.”

Borgstrom has been mixed up along lines between Dylan Gambrell, Troy Terry, Liam Finlay and Colin Staub. Assistant captain and junior forward, Terry, is ranked second in the NCAA with five goals and 12 assists in nine games played. Assistant captain and junior forward Gambrell boasts a team-high ten-assists after Friday’s performance.

“During this weekend I know Coach Monty wanted to integrate me, Gambs [Gambrell] and Troy [Terry] into the middle [as centers across three different lines] and sometimes we were still going out there together. I don’t really care, I’ve played with Fins [Finlay] a lot this season. I feel like we’ve got some chemistry out there. Staub has been really good with us too, he’s a hard working guy and a surprisingly good passer.”

Denver bounced back after the Western Michigan University Broncos swept the Pioneers 6-5 and 7-4, respectively. Borgstrom amassed four points on a three goals and an assist in the first game and scored one goal the following night against the Broncos.

The Pioneers knew they needed the win as a morale boost and to elevate momentum going forward so when St. Cloud cut the lead down to one goal late in the third period the team reacted by pressuring the Huskies immediately.

“We were just thinking not again,” Borgstrom said. “So when I got that empty-netter; I don’t think I’ve ever celly-ed that hard. It was a huge win for us. For the team that’s what we needed to go on and take the next step for us.”

Colin Staub, the unexpected addition evolved to eminent teammate

Photo credit: Maddie MacFarlane

Coaches dream of having players who embody their program’s culture, demonstrate selflessness, and are consistently looking to improve elements of their game with the team’s interest in mind. Over the summer of 2015, the University of Denver Pioneers were quite literally gifted exactly that  Colin Staub as an addition to their incoming freshman class from the United States Air Force Academy. Continue reading Colin Staub, the unexpected addition evolved to eminent teammate

Mikey Eyssimont, St. Cloud State’s Colorado-native Colorado killer

photo courtesy of Maddie MacFarlane

Certain college hockey players leave lasting impressions on opposing teams. With  prominent ice presence across all three zones, sharp puck control, and elements of playing style immediately threatening through skill, size, or IQ or a combination of the trio; these skaters repeatedly standout.

Top-ranked St. Cloud State’s Mikey Eyssimont is that player for the University of Denver Pioneers. Continue reading Mikey Eyssimont, St. Cloud State’s Colorado-native Colorado killer

Shinyashiki’s scores with 16 seconds to send OT victory over UNO

photo courtesy of John Babiak

The storied battle between the University of Denver Men’s Pioneers and the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks was magnified to on Saturday, Oct. 28. The familiar opponents clashed on CIBER Field as the Pioneers’ fought for their fourth consecutive conference title.

With 16 seconds on the clock, junior forward Andre Shinyashiki scored his ninth goal of the campaign to send the exhilarating match into extra time. Freshman outside back Jacob Stensson raced down the right flank and sent a cross to Shinyashiki who was positioned near center frame. Shinyashiki redirected his header towards the back door and hit the back post to equalize the score one apiece.

“16 seconds left against our biggest rival, it was great that I could help the team,” Shinyashiki said. “I was the guy who missed the missed the man on their goal so I really felt like I needed to do that.”

In the first frame of extra time the Pioneers carried over their momentum and intensity. One of Omaha’s defender was assessed with a hand ball in the penalty box, awarding the Pioneers with a penalty kick with 2:06 on the clock. Senior captain Graham Smith took the penalty, positioning his shot in the lower left corner to secure the OT victory. 

“For us, a huge point was to not get frustrated and to be resilient and make sure to continue to up-the-tempo,” Head coach Jamie Franks said. “For me, my team grew up tonight and I’m super proud of them on senior night, for those guys, I think it was Alex Underwood said, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’ We’ve been missing that all season. That sort of confidence, that sort of demand from each other, I’m glad that we found it now. When we do that we’re a tough team to beat.”

Omaha (8-4-2, 1-0-2 Summit League) was the first to get on the board off of a long-throw in. Center-back Seth Rinderknecht threw the ball from the flank to the Denver’s six-yard line. The center was deflected and immediately redirected by a one-time strike from forward Emmanuel Hamzat whose low-drive beat DU goalie Nick Gardner.

The Pioneers displayed resilience to the goal, applying immense pressure towards Omaha’s attacking third which ultimately led to Shinyashiki’s goal.

The Summit League rivals have met in comparable circumstances, last season the Pioneers clinched their fourth-straight conference title where Shinyashiki scored a brace in DU’s 2-1 victory over the Mavericks on Nov. 11.

“It’s an opponent like any other, we approach the game the same but there’s a special feeling against them because they’ve been our conference rivals and there’s always that little bit an extra feeling,” Shinyashiki said.

DU’s momentum amplified in the final third of the first half as the Pioneers began to control possession. Denver held an 8-2 shot on goal edge over Omaha. The Pioneers posted a dangerous chance on net in the 29th minute on a combination play between Elder and junior forward Andre Shinyashiki. Elder passed to Shinyashiki from outside the 18-yard box before wrapping his run around the Mavericks’ backline. Shinyashiki knavishly heeled the ball past Omaha defender to a wide-open Elder, whose one-timer was sent just wide.

Intensity didn’t falter between the friendly foes as 27 fouls were distributed between teams, 14 in the first half alone. Denver freshman midfielder Destan Norman was the only player of those 14 fouls to receive a yellow card. In the 27th minute, Norman was booked a yellow for tripping from behind.

Prior to kickoff Denver’s 2017 senior class was honored as; forward Blake Elder, centerback Kortne Ford, outside back AJ Fuller and senior captains midfielder Graham Smith and midfielder Alex Underwood were recognized for their contributions to the program in their tenure. Collectively, the 2017 senior class has led the program to its first College Cup appearance in program history, contributed to the 2015-16 back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, three-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and three-straight Summit regular season and tournament titles.

“For these guys to have 54 wins (54-16-8), two or three gold vest community service awards, the top gpa the past two years, the Final Four, two-straight undefeated seasons, three conference championships, three tournament conference championships, every year in the NCAA tournament. It’s just special,” Franks said. “It’s just special. These kids come here to Denver to leave their mark on the program and that’s exactly what they’ve done.”

Denver travels to Western Illinois University (5-8-0, 3-1) for the final match of the regular season on Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. MT. The Pioneers must beat or tie Western Illinois in order to clinch the regular season title.