All posts by Sasha Kandrach

The Finnish Touch

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

The best don’t become the best by luck. Success is achieved through repetition and exertion. The University of Denver Pioneers freshman forward Henrik Borgström embodies that through his dedication and persistence. After waiting 30 minutes after practice to speak with Borgström, his lethal work ethic became apparent as the Florida Panthers first-round pick was the last to leave the ice. He’s frequently the last off the ice during pre-game warmups as well. Continue reading The Finnish Touch

Denver battles a 4-3 overtime victory over Air Force

A back and forth battle between the No. 2-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (7-2-3, 3-0-3 NCHC) and the Air Force Academy Falcons (6-4-2, 4-2-0 AHC) on Friday, Nov. 25 resulted in an overtime victory for DU. Denver’s sophomores dominated scoring as Jarid Lukosevicius converted the game winner in the third minute of overtime. Classmates, Colin Staub, Dylan Gambrell and Troy Terry each scored prior.

Lukosevicius fired his initial slap shot from the right faceoff circle – deflected by Air Force’s goalie Billy Christopoulos. Gambrell collected the loose puck and backhanded where Lukosevicius tapped in the game-winner on the doorstep.

The Pioneers outshot the Falcons 43-23, but struggled lighting the lamp. Denver was off its game, relinquishing seven penalties and two powerplay goals.

“Air Force was relentless, they’re a really good college hockey team. I think they’re going to be a tournament team,” Head coach Jim Montgomery said.

Originally committed to the Air Force Academy, Staub put the Pioneers on the board  just 50 seconds into the opening frame. Staub was diagnosed with keratoconus; a progressive eye disease that thins the cornea and distorts vision preventing his acceptance into the Air Force Academy one day before basic training. Fitting that the forward scored his first goal of his sophomore campaign against the Falcons.

“It was nice to see it [Staub score],” Montgomery said. “He started protecting pucks and making plays. He was phenomenal, he was a horse out there. When he’s playing good hockey he’s moving his feet, he’s protecting pucks and he’s making really good decisions going to the net.”

Troy Terry was assessed with interference leading Air Force to tie the game up one apiece with the man-advantage in the sixth minute. Junior defenseman Phil Boje fired a slapshot from the point to beat Jaillet.

Roughly three minutes later, San Jose Sharks prospect Gambrell doubled the Pioneers lead. Denver received its first powerplay of the night after Air Force’s Johnny Hrabovsky was called for holding.

Gambrell sent a slap shot past Christopoulos. Senior captain Will Butcher and Florida Panthers prospect Henrik Borgstrom received assists on the play.

The second period remained scoreless. The Pioneers effort lagged as the Falcons increased their intensity, but Denver managed a 10-9 shot on goal edge for the period.

Air Force’s Brady Tomlak equalized the score 39 seconds into the third period. Boje’s initial shot from the point was tipped in by Tomlak. 13 seconds later, Anaheim Ducks prospect Terry intercepted a pass and beat Christopoulos to regain Denver’s lead 3-2.

The Falcons scored their second power play goal of the night after Hammond assessed with interference. Erik Baskin tipped in a shot taken by Kyle Mackew between the circles equalizing the score 3-3 five minutes into the final frame.

With a 5-on-3 opportunity in the last ten minutes of regulation Denver frustratingly couldn’t convert, sending the game into an additional period. Denver has yet to relinquish more than two goals since its win against Boston University on Oct. 14, but the Falcons’ pressure was unforgiving.

“There was frustration after we didn’t score on the go-ahead 5-on-3,” Montgomery said. “Your best players are out there and you expect them to put the game away there. I thought the last three-to-four minutes of the third period we started to regain our rhythm and overtime I don’t think they crossed the red line.”

While Denver was late to finish its chances, Montgomery noted a turning point amongst Denver’s offensive lines, “I thought that’s [tonight] the best our forwards have moved the puck. It’s great to see that growth for some guys like Evan Ritt and Rudy Junda who had great opportunities. Kevin Conley had a great chance. We got Staub getting his first goal. We’ve got guys starting to score so you’ll see our team really start to pop. I really liked the way we moved the puck.”

The Pioneers return to Magness Arena tomorrow night, Nov. 26 to take on Wisconsin. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Penalty killing leader Logan O’Connor embodies DU’s relentless hockey

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

Head Coach Jim Montgomery always employs a relentless, quick style of hockey which poses both offensive and defensive challenges. Even while they’re rolling on a 10-game unbeaten streak, the No. 2-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (7-2-3, 3-0-3 NCHC) are looking to improve their offensive chemistry and maintain their gritty play. Continue reading Penalty killing leader Logan O’Connor embodies DU’s relentless hockey

Denver draws overtime tie with Miami Ohio

Missed opportunities led the University of Denver Pioneers and the Miami University (Ohio) Redhawks to skate to a 1-1 overtime tie. The No. 1 ranked Pioneers returned to Magness Arena after rolling on an eight game win streak. Denver (7-2-2, 3-0-2) finished the game with a shootout conversion made by freshman forward Henrik Borgstrom following scoreless 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 overtime periods.

The Pioneers ran various line variations throughout the game dominating possession, but failed to convert. Denver held a 37-20 shot edge over Miami through the first overtime. After hitting the post consecutively and missing open chances, Miami’s goaltender Ryan Larkin held off the Pioneers from clinching the victory.

When questioning coach Montgomery on his decision for sending Borgstrom to take the shootout, while Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry had exhibited a stellar performance tallying Denver sole goal, Montgomery said, “He [Borgstrom] knows what he’s doing with the puck. I did think about Troy Terry because he had such a great game and scored our goal. But Henrik, in practice, when he gets a breakaway; every time is a goal.”

Miami took control early on, 1:59 into the first period, sophomore defenseman Grant Hutton sniped his shot in transition bar-down to deliver 1-0 lead for the Redhawks. Miami amplified its intensity following the goal, maintaining possession for the majority of the period.

The Pioneers eventually adjusted to their opponent’s pressure and rallied in the final minutes. Freshman forward Kevin Conley replaced Colin Staub on the top line, alongside Henrik Borgstrom and Dylan Gambrell, delivering an energetic offense. Denver finished the opening frame with a 15-3 shots on goal edge over Miami.

The Pioneers opened up the second period with an equalizer from Terry. Terry intercepted a pass between Redhawks defensemen to beat Larkin in the five-hole, tying the game one apiece.

The remaining period saw even play from both teams. The Pioneers continued pressuring Miami’s net.

Towards the end of regulation, Montgomery aligned sophomore forwards Jarid Lukosevicius, Gambrell and Terry together. Gambrell missed an open opportunity after toe-dragging past his defenseman low in the slot. Lukosevicius tested Larkin with two wrist-shots in transition. Paired with Borgstrom and Conley, Staub attempted two wraparound chances, but was knocked off the puck and Larkin held off the Pioneers.

“We just couldn’t hunker down and finish our chances. That’s something we’ve got to focus on tomorrow,” Terry said. “Just play the way we did, capitalize and get to the net better tomorrow.”

Denver returns for the second game of the NCHC series against the Redhawks tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Magness Arena.

Game Notes:

-Denver ascended to No. 1 in the top college hockey rankings for the first time since March 15, 2010.

-Current leading goal scorer Henrik Borgstrom has amassed all twelve of his points (7G-5A) in the 2016-17 season during DU’s now nine-game unbeaten streak.

-Junior goaltender Tanner Jaillet currently leads the conference in all major goaltending categories.   

-Evan Ritt replaced Emil Romig in the lineup after Romig suffered a lower body injury last weekend against North Dakota.

Shinyashiki’s OT Goal Extends Denver’s Unbeaten Streak to 32

Striking in extra time, sophomore forward Andre Shinyashiki secured the 2-1 victory for the University of Denver men’s soccer team over New Mexico. The win extended the Pioneers’ regular season unbeaten streak to 32 consecutive games and a current record of 13-0-2.

Recently No. 3-ranked by College Soccer News, Denver continued to assert its success on the national platform. With eight seconds remaining in the second overtime, redshirt-senior midfielder Karsten Hanlin sent a corner kick into the box. The cross was headed by a New Mexico defender and redirected by Shinyashiki to net the game-winner.

Denver was the first to get on the scoreboard following a scoreless first half. Hanlin struck a one-timer past New Mexico’s goalie off of a cross sent by sophomore Kenny Akamatsu from the right flank. Hanlin’s delayed run behind Shinyashiki timed the cross precisely to create the conversion during the 52nd minute.

With one minute remaining in regulation, New Mexico’s Nicholas Rochowski equalized the score. A shot taken by New Mexico outside of the penalty area created chaos in front of net leaving a loose ball open for Rochowski to finish, sending the game to extra time.

Denver returns to Summit League play on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The Pioneers host Oral Roberts.

Janssen’s second period goals send Denver past BU

Two second period goals at the hands of senior forward Evan Janssen secured the 4-3 victory for the University of Denver over Boston University on Friday, Oct. 14. The No. 10-ranked Denver Pioneers never trailed the game as they silenced the No. 2-ranked Boston Terriers.

The absence of Dylan Gambrell suffering an upper-body injury and estimated to be out for four-six weeks provided the opportunity for Denver’s forwards to step up.

The Pioneers’ third line consisting of Evan Janssen, Tyson McLellan, Logan O’Connor line delivered half of DU’s four tallies. “That Janssen line with McLellan and O’Connor was special tonight. I couldn’t get them out there enough,” said coach Jim Montgomery.

4:44 into the second period, Janssen finished on the doorstep off a feed from linemate Logan O’Connor to extend Denver’s lead 3-0.

Just over the halfway mark of the period, BU added its first tally on a power play goal buried by Calgary Flames prospect Brandon Hickey. Hickey bounced the puck past Jaillet of a feed from Jakob Karlsson.

At 12:06 remaining in the middle frame, freshman Tyson McLellan centered the puck across the slot to Janssen. Janssen sent his wrist shot past Oettinger to extend the Pioneers’ lead 4-1.

Denver lost momentum in the final frame, but never relinquished its lead. 2:47 into the period, the Terriers cut their deficit in half. 8:01 later, Doyle Somerby was assessed for holding, delivering Denver’s seventh power play of the evening. Arizona Coyotes prospect Clayton Keller picked up a loose puck and scored BU’s third goal on a shorthanded breakaway.

Boston’s physicality and overbearing intensity backfired as the Terriers served 14 penalty minutes and allowed the Pioneers to gain momentum on their powerplays.

Denver’s first goal was scored on the third power play of the night as BU’s Dante Fabbro was assessed with interference. 16 seconds in, Jarid Lukosevicus fed senior captain Will Butcher at the point. Butcher fired a wrist shot which senior center Matt Marcinew tipped bar down past Oettinger to put the Pioneers on the board first.   

The Pioneers’ second conversion was finished by Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry. 4:02 into the second period, Terry drove into the slot and shot a wrist shot past Oettinger on the weak side. Freshman defenseman Michael Davies picked up the assist.

Janssen’s two goals amassed to a four points recorded against BU in the past year. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament Denver demolished the Terriers 7-2, where Janssen had a goal and an assist.

Denver returns tomorrow night for the second game of the series against the Terriers in Magness Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Catching Up With DU Men’s Soccer Head Coach Jamie Franks

photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

With a 1-0 win over Eastern IllinoisDenver men’s soccer extended its regular season unbeaten streak to 28 games. Boasting a 9-0-2 record thus far in 2016, the Pioneers are maintaining their top ten status in the national rankings, currently ranked at #8. As such, the program is looking to advance further this year in hopes of winning its first national title. After going undefeated in the regular season last year and snapping its 29-match home unbeaten streak during the second round of the NCAA tournament, the team has returned with a vengeance and is determined to achieve their preseason goals.

Head Coach Jamie Franks, describes the impact losing in such a heartbreaker  against Southern Methodist University last season imposed on the team and the valuable lessons the players collected. Continue reading Catching Up With DU Men’s Soccer Head Coach Jamie Franks

Denver and Creighton Draw in Extra Time

Photo courtesy of Denver Men’s Soccer

The No. 8 ranked Denver Pioneers travelled to Omaha, Nebraska to face the No. 12 ranked Creighton Bluejays, finishing in a tie following extra time. The storied matchup between two well-respected programs translated onto the pitch, as the two teams battled each one another for 110 minutes. Continue reading Denver and Creighton Draw in Extra Time

Year of Firsts, Foundation for the Future

After graduating from Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs and entering into my freshman year at the University of Denver I was already used to a school that performed well both athletically and academically. My understanding was that DU would  closely follow my expectations. Little did I know my freshman year would be one of the most successful years for DU athletics in the past decade. Continue reading Year of Firsts, Foundation for the Future

Women’s Lacrosse to Join BIG EAST in 2017

photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

Announced Monday morning (May 3) Denver women’s lacrosse will join its male counterparts in the BIG EAST conference effective immediately in the 2017 season. The Pioneers become the tenth team alongside Butler, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Marquette, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Villanova competing in the BIG EAST. Continue reading Women’s Lacrosse to Join BIG EAST in 2017