All posts by Puck Swami

Longtime University of Denver fan and alumnus.

Puck Swami: DU Goes Hollywood, Stuns USC in Volleyball

I have a confession to make:

Like most of us spoiled Pioneer fans, women’s volleyball is not in my top handful of DU sports to watch. I know DU Coach Tom Hogan does a great job with what he has and the team is almost always a Summit League champion (or a contender for that title), but it seems like that’s been the ceiling on the program for a while now.  Beating South Dakota may be a good volleyball feat, but doing that is probably not going to move the needle very much at University and Asbury. To get average Joe fans like me interested in watching volleyball more regularly, DU probably needs to win beyond the Summit League level and become a national level, top-25 kind of program (as many of DU’s sports already are). Continue reading Puck Swami: DU Goes Hollywood, Stuns USC in Volleyball

Two Former Pioneer Swimmers, One Former Gymnast Selected for Tokyo Olympics

Former Denver Pioneer swimmers Bailey Andison and Adriel Sanes have been chosen by Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, respectively, to swim for their countries at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, starting later this month in Tokyo, a year later than planned, of course, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and DU will also have gymnastics alum Simona Castro appearing in her third  Olympics for Chile, her home country. Continue reading Two Former Pioneer Swimmers, One Former Gymnast Selected for Tokyo Olympics

North Carolina Ends Denver Women’s Soccer Season, 2-0 in NCAA Second Round

Perhaps it was appropriate that DU wore black uniforms to end its 2021 season on a funereal note, as the Pioneers learned first hand that there is a reason that the University of North Carolina Tar Heels have won more than half of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships ever awarded (21 of the 38!).

That reason is talent. Continue reading North Carolina Ends Denver Women’s Soccer Season, 2-0 in NCAA Second Round

Can Denver Hockey Get Bigger this Summer?

It’s no secret that Denver looks for smart and talented hockey players that fit head coach David Carle’s style of high speed, high-skill transition hockey.  For many years now (pre-dating Carle’s tenure), DU has often featured small, fast, and shifty offensive players who can move and control the puck on the rush, through the neutral zone, and down low below the face-off dots. These speedsters are usually backed by a very mobile puck-moving defensive corps who can jump into the offensive zone and contribute on the scoresheet. It’s a system that typically works well for the Pioneers, as that speed and skill can create both open spaces and skill mismatches that can often compensate for a lack of size. 

Smaller players also tend to stay longer in college, and are often undrafted by the NHL, allowing a program such as DU to skate a more experienced lineup vs. teams who consistently lose talent early to pro contracts. Continue reading Can Denver Hockey Get Bigger this Summer?

Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: Jeff Wulbrun Hire Exceeds Expectations

Newly-hired Denver men’s basketball coach Jeff Wulbrun wasn’t shy in his first Zoom press conference.  He set a serious bar for himself and for his program:

“We want to be the most improved team in the country next year.”

Wow! I’ll be honest –  I didn’t expect this.

Perhaps, neither did you. Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: Jeff Wulbrun Hire Exceeds Expectations

Denver Melts Down, Gags-Up a 5-4 OT Loss to Omaha

Denver’s Justin Lee had two goals in DU’s 5-4 loss to Omaha. Photo: Brittany Evans

It was a game that has encapsulated Denver’s entire season to this point – a lot of solid Denver hockey played, but ending in a embarrassing result, as the Denver Pioneers played well for the first 45 minutes but gagged-up a two-goal, third-period lead and fell to the Omaha Mavericks, 5-4 in overtime in a gut-wrenching loss that may have major implications for the Pioneers’ now-slim home ice playoff hopes. Continue reading Denver Melts Down, Gags-Up a 5-4 OT Loss to Omaha

SCSU Defeats Pioneers, 3-1 with Special Teams Edge

Veeti Miettanen’s game-winning power-play goal with 9:38 remaining in the game lifted the Saint Cloud (Minn.) State Huskies (6-3) to a 3-1 thriller over the Denver Pioneers (3-6-1) at Omaha’s Baxter arena on Sunday afternoon, Dec 20.  Miettanen beat DU goalie Magnus Chrona with a clean wrist shot from 20 feet-out for the game-winner, and the Huskies added an empty netter by SCSU’s Zach Okabe in the final minute for the 3-1 final score. Continue reading SCSU Defeats Pioneers, 3-1 with Special Teams Edge