All posts by Sasha Kandrach

DU’s Relentless Hockey Displayed in 4-2 Victory Over Notre Dame

photo via courtesy of Shannon Valerio

The tone was set in the second meeting in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14. The No. 1-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (1-0-1, 0-0-0, NCHC) embodied the relentless hockey that once haunted the No.4-ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1-1, 0-0-0, Big Ten)

Denver displayed resilience and fight in the final minutes of an excellent early-yet college hockey game to defeat the Fighting Irish 4-2.

Despite outshooting the Fighting Irish in every period and nearly doubling the total shot tally 48-29, the Pioneers and Irish skated to an official 2-2 overtime tie in Friday night’s game. Both goals were scored from sophomore forward and Florida Panthers prospect Henrik Borgstrom who reportedly was out ill Saturday’s game.

DU returned to Compton Family Ice Arena and mirrored it’s play to the quick and unabating style that head coach Jim Montgomery has instilled in the Denver hockey culture. The system of hockey that heavily helped the Pioneers with their success last season in clinching their 8th title, including the 6-1 Frozen Four victory over the Irish.

Even without Borgstrom in the lineup, Denver didn’t struggle to light the lamp. The Pioneers got on the board  with just under 10 minutes in the opening frame, the goal scored from their top line. Anaheim Ducks prospect and assistant captain, Troy Terry collected a rebound in the slot. The junior forward finished his shot just inside the right post.

Denver displayed a strong forecheck, providing an opportune chance in front of the net during the final minutes of the first period. Sophomore forward Logan O’Connor pressured Notre Dame’s defense forcing a turnover. O’Connor found freshman forward Jake Durflinger alone down low in the slot, where Durflinger played a one-timer past Fighting Irish goalie Cale Morris, to record his first career goal.

With a 2-0 lead, the Pioneers’ dominated the second period and majority of the third period under Montgomery’s tactics. The Fighting Irish visibly had no rhythm as they circulated the puck across zones; the Pioneers were quick to eliminate time and space, disrupt and prevent any attempt Notre Dame puck possession and work collectively as a cohesive unit across all three zones and 200 feet of ice.

Just under five minutes remaining in the third period, Notre Dame’s Cam Morrison shot a rocket of slap-shot past DU’s Tanner Jaillet to cut the deficit down to one. Morrison scored the sole goal in the Frozen Four meeting as well.

Up by just one goal, the Pioneers didn’t back down as the clock winded down. Denver’s forecheck was amplified in the final minutes as a powerplay goal was further reviewed and ruled a goal in favor of the Fighting Irish thus tying the score 2-2 with under five minutes emaining in regulation.

Deja Vu back to Friday night, the score was tied two apiece and overtime became is on the line. With 4:28 left in regulation, sophomore forward Liam Finlay knocked in the go-ahead goal. San Jose Sharks prospect and junior assistant captain Dylan Gambrell added an empty-net goal to secure the 4-2 victory.

The differences in the series was strides in the levels of hockey admitted. Friday night appeared like a typical early October hockey game, whereas Saturday had the energy, excitement and tenacity of an early February game.

DU returns to Magness Arena to host Lake Superior State University on Friday, Oct. 20.


Kronenberg’s goal sends Denver past Eastern Illinois in Summit League Opener

Denver soccer finely tuned the split start to the 2017 season. In the Summit League Opener, the DU Pioneers’ play resembled its previous style and culture that propelled the program’s outstanding success within the past few seasons. With a calm, 1-0 win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers Denver (6-5-0, 1-0-0 Summit League) reinstated a critical confidence of play as the Pioneers controlled the match. 

“The point of the out-of conference is to find out what you have and then the point of the in-conference is to find out to get better each day and each game and that’s what we’ve done all season,” Head coach Jamie Franks said. “For us, I think we’ve learned some valuable lessons from about the past three weeks or month and we’re addressing those things and they aren’t things that will happen over night. These kids have a lot of talent and a lot of experience so as long as we stay resilient we’re going to continue to get results.” Continue reading Kronenberg’s goal sends Denver past Eastern Illinois in Summit League Opener

Scott DeVoss, Denver Men’s Soccer’s homegrown hero

Scott DeVoss has anchored Denver’s backline for the past two seasons as a standout natural under CIBER Field’s lights. As a homegrown product of Real Colorado, DeVoss’ familiarity with CIBER Field dates back farther than his class standing as a redshirt junior. DeVoss grew up on the sidelines of Denver’s pitch as a ball boy, aspiring one day to sport the Crimson and Gold, stepping on the other side of the paint. Continue reading Scott DeVoss, Denver Men’s Soccer’s homegrown hero

DU’s Depth Displayed as Pioneers Dominate Exhibition Game

The reigning 2017 national champions emphasized their near unanimous preseason No. 1 ranking on Sunday night in Magness Arena. The DU Pioneers exemplified their exquisite depth over the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns as each line skated a returner from Chicago’s national championship team. 

The exhibition game was an ideal platform for Denver to test its depth in waves, experiment variations of lineups and affirm the realization that the conquest for repeating the title is underway. Continue reading DU’s Depth Displayed as Pioneers Dominate Exhibition Game

Denver Drops 2-1 OT Decision Against Gonzaga

The DU Pioneers are all too familiar with playing past the final whistle, but their momentum faltered while visiting the Gonzaga University Bulldogs at Luger Field where the Pios fell 2-1 in extra time.

Denver (5-5-0, 0-0-0 Summit League) had a an early lead 1-0 lead that the Bulldogs soon mirrored, sending the game into overtime. Gonzaga (6-3-1 ,0-0-0 West Coast Conference) would clinch the victory just 58 seconds into play as Joe Corner fed a ball outside the six-yard line that midfielder Christo Michaelson got a foot onto, beating Denver’s goalie Nick Gardner. Continue reading Denver Drops 2-1 OT Decision Against Gonzaga

Denver drops frustrating 1-0 decision at home to St. Mary’s

The sound of the referee’s whistle being blown approximately every five-to-ten minutes pulsed the atmosphere of CIBER Field as the University of Denver Pioneers hosted the Saint Mary’s College Gaels in a dramatic Sunday evening match. With six minutes remaining, Saint Mary’s Anders Engerbretsen cut past DU’s A.J. Fuller on the goal line and positioned his shot precisely in the upper left 90 corner to put the Gaels on the board first.

Denver (4-4-0,0-0-0 Summit League) controlled the majority of possession throughout the first half holding a 7-2 shot advantage over Saint Mary’s (2-3-2, 0-0-0 West Coast Conference).

Denver’s most promising chances came from Brazil native and junior forward Andre Shinyashiki and redshirt junior center back Scott DeVoss. Shinyashiki posted a lethal strike on frame in the 11th minute of the opening half, but the Saint Mary’s goalie got a hand on the shot.

DeVoss finished a lost ball from the six yard line off a scramble sequence that was later taken back due to an initial foul just ahead of the DeVoss’ chance.

The Gaels returned fired up in the second half whereas the Pioneer’s rhythm appeared disoriented; struggling to build up chances into the attacking third. Saint Mary’s doubled up their shot advantage over Denver 4-2.

The teams combined to commit 13 fouls in the opening half which escalated to 23 total fouls by the end of the match.

The match was played at a fast tempo, yet neither team could maintain a strong grasp of possession. Another loss for the Pioneers won’t demolish DU’s chances at finishing in the College Cup in Philadelphia as the in-conference portion of the season has yet to begin, but the Pioneers are desperately in need of a confidence boost they haven’t needed in past seasons.

For their next match, Denver will travel to St. Louis University to play St. Louis on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.

Denver Edges Akron 1-0 in Scrappy Match

A whopping 26 fouls were committed in Monday night’s hostile match between The [3/4] University of Denver Pioneers and the [16/18] University of Akron Zips on Monday, Aug. 28. The Pioneers rose victorious in the grueling match extending their regular season unbeaten streak to 37 games.

Denver (2-0-0, 0-0-0 Summit League) edged Akron (0-2-0, 0-0-0 Mid American Conference) a historically elite program, with a score of 1-0. Continue reading Denver Edges Akron 1-0 in Scrappy Match

“Fighting Football” Propels Pioneers Past FGCU in Season Opener

The road to Philadelphia is officially underway as the [3/4] University of Denver Pioneers embarked on their 2017 season opener. Riding on a 36-game unbeaten regular season streak, the Pioneers returned to CIBER Field capping the [23/15] Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Eagles 3-1 in a chippy match on Friday, Aug. 25.

“We coined that phrase ‘fighting football’ so that means to us that we play to play. There’s a resiliency, a collectiveness, there’s a fight that’s associated with that,” Head coach Jamie Franks said. “That’s the mentality that we went into the game with. It was crazy, there were injuries, there were subs, there were goals, but for us the biggest take away that I have is that I have good leaders and guys willing to step up when it gets difficult. Above anything else that’s what I’m most pleased about; that my older guys are ready to take ownership of this team.” Continue reading “Fighting Football” Propels Pioneers Past FGCU in Season Opener

2017 DU Men’s Soccer Preview: Pioneers poised for more success

Photo credit: Getty Images

As the University of Denver continues to establish itself as an athletically dominant force on a national scale, the Pioneer Men’s Soccer program has contributed to that success with its recent elite success.

Ranked No. 3 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll, the DU Pioneers have excelled as a program with a berth in the 2016 College Cup while maintaining a 35-match regular season unbeaten streak dating back to Halloween 2014. Denver is the first program to finish unbeaten throughout two consecutive seasons since Clemson University did so in 1977-78. Continue reading 2017 DU Men’s Soccer Preview: Pioneers poised for more success

CCBLL eyes big picture aspirations following successful first season

Photo courtesy CCBLL

“10 years, the final will be on ESPN,” Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL) Commissioner Niko Blankenship jokingly interjected during an interview with league founder and University of Denver men’s lacrosse offensive coordinator Matt Brown. Continue reading CCBLL eyes big picture aspirations following successful first season