All posts by Puck Swami

Longtime University of Denver fan and alumnus.

CC’s new 3,000-seat Robson Arena moves toward 2020 groundbreaking

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CC’s New Robson Arena – Exterior Entrance (note: final colors/materials not yet selected). Photo: Colorado College

Colorado College continues to move forward with the building of its own new 3,000-seat, on-campus Robson Arena, scheduled to open in 2021. According to a Sept. 18 business plan, the arena financing was estimated at about $45 million, with about $27 million of that funding from the CC community — Colorado College ($6 million) and CC donors ($21 million), with a good chunk of the donor money coming from former CC hockey player Ed Robson, Class of 1954. The remaining funding will come from $9 million in State/City tourism funds and the final $9 million from private bonds. In May 2019, CC began demolition of existing buildings on the arena site. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2020. Continue reading CC’s new 3,000-seat Robson Arena moves toward 2020 groundbreaking

DU’s Tyler Bozak Celebrates Stanley Cup

Former DU star Tyler Bozak of the St. Louis Blues shows off the Stanley Cup to hundreds of thousands of Blues fans at conclusion of the Blues’ team parade in downtown St. Louis on June 15. Photo: Tyler Bozak Twitter

The Denver Pioneer hockey program is celebrating the three latest DU alumni winners of the Stanley Cup Trophy, emblematic of an NHL Hockey Champion – Tyler Bozak –  a key forward for the 2019 champion St. Louis Blues, former DU defenseman Chris Butler who played 13 games with the Blues this season (and is a St. Louis native) and Bruce Affleck, a 1970s DU defenseman who today is a front office executive with the St. Louis Blues.

These three new Pioneer Stanley Cup Winners join a select group of fellow DU Pioneers who have also won the vaunted trophy as NHL players, coaches or management.  DU forward John MacMillan was the first DU Stanley Cup winner in the early 1960s, winning a pair of Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  DU forward and Hockey Hall-of -Famer Glenn Anderson is the most decorated DU Stanley Cup winner, winning six Stanley Cups in his career, mostly with the Edmonton Oiler dynasty of the 1980s.  1960s DU captain and two-time NCAA Champion Craig Patrick won two Stanley Cups as the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s, while DU Pioneer forward Beau Bennett was the last Pioneer to play on a Stanley Cup-winning team (prior to this week) in 2016 with the Penguins. Kevin Dineen, who captained the Pioneers in the early 1980s, was an assistant coach on the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, while Dineen’s brother Shawn, who played at DU just before Kevin, owns a 1996 Stanley Cup ring with the Colorado Avalanche as a scout. Former DU player and head coach Marshall Johnston got his name on the Stanley Cup as part of the front office with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

Center Tyler Bozak, who played two seasons with the Pioneers a decade ago, signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent for the first nine seasons of his NHL career, and joined the St. Blues before this season just in time to help the Blues to an improbable Stanley Cup win over the Boston Bruins in seven games, after languishing in last place in January of 2019. Enjoy these photos of the last 48 hours of Bozak’s hockey life.

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Bozak after the win in Boston with young son Kanon (Center) and wife, Molly. Photo: Molly Bozak Twitter
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Bozak just after winning game seven in Boston. Photo: St. Louis Blues
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Bozak, the Stanley Cup, and Bozak’s wife, Molly, on the ice in Boston after the Game Seven win. Photo: Molly Bozak Twitter
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Chris Butler, a former DU defenseman and St. Louis native, got a chance to skate with the Stanley Cup after the Blues won the Cup in Boston.  Butler played in 13 games with St. Louis this year.

Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan

#17 DU shocked 7th-ranked Michigan in a 9-5 second round upset in the NCAA Tournament May 12. Photo: DU

The 17th-ranked Denver Pioneers (16-3) women’s lacrosse team made school history on May 12, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich., exacting a revenge upset on the #7th-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines (16-4) , 9-5 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. DU now advances to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history, and will play the top-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins on May 18 at 5pm MT for a trip to the NCAA final four.

Michigan had beaten Denver 12-10 at DU’s Barton Stadium earlier this season, and the Pioneers were in no mood to allow Michigan to win again. Continue reading Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan

Radochonski Powers Denver to 11-10 OT Upset of USC Trojans in NCAA First Round

Eliza Radochonski (#26 at center) was the DU hero, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals for Denver in a 11-10 NCAA first round overtime upset over USC. Photo: University of Denver

The #17th-ranked University of Denver women’s lacrosse team upset the #13th-ranked University of Southern California, 11-10 in a dramatic overtime finish in Ann Arbor, Mich. to advance to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

“I’m really proud of our fight today,” said DU head coach Liza Kelly after the game. “This is what we’ve been preparing for all year, and I think we came out ready to fight for that [NCAA Second Round] spot on Sunday.”

The late-game drama in Ann Arbor on Friday night was simply incredible. Continue reading Radochonski Powers Denver to 11-10 OT Upset of USC Trojans in NCAA First Round

DU Lacrosse to Play Georgetown for NCAA Berth, Big East Title Today

The entire season is on the line for the Denver Pioneers Men’s Lacrosse team today as the Georgetown Hoyas play DU for the Big East Championship (and the NCAA tournament auto-bid) at 2:30 PM MT at Barton Stadium.

The loser of today’s men’s game will have its season come to an end.

The Pioneers are looking for some revenge after DU lost to Georgetown in last year’s Big East Championship Game. DU also beat Georgetown earlier this season at Barton in regular season play. Game TV coverage is on CBS Sports Network.

The Denver women’s lacrosse team also faces Georgetown today for the Big East Women’s Championship and an NCAA auto-bid in Milwaukee. Game time is 12:30 MT.

 

Denver Thumps Providence Friars, 14-8 to Seal Big East Tourney Berth

DU goalie Cole French (at left) made six saves in his first start as a Pioneer. Photo: University of Denver

The 12th ranked Denver Pioneers (8-4, 3-1 Big East) men’s lacrosse team clinched a berth in the Big East Tournament on Senior Day, defeating Providence College (6-8, 2-2 Big East),14-8 before a sellout crowd of 2,187 at Barton Stadium on April 20.

“We had to keep shooting,” said DU coach Bill Tierney after the game today. “Everyone battled and we had a lot of guys score today…[Providence] is big, tough and extremely well-coached. We’re thrilled to get out of this one [with a win]…We [honored our seniors] one of the winningest senior classes in the country and they keep our winning culture and imparted that culture on the younger guys… We’re now playing for a [share of] a regular season championship, and we’ll have our hands full in Milwaukee [with Marquette] on Friday night.”  Continue reading Denver Thumps Providence Friars, 14-8 to Seal Big East Tourney Berth

Ian Mitchell Returning to DU for Junior Year

Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell plans to return to Denver for his junior year/ Photo: DU

Denver Pioneer hockey defenseman and alternate captain Ian Mitchell will return for his junior year in the Pioneers’ 70th anniversary season, Mitchell announced on Wednesday. Mitchell’s decision to return ended speculation that second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks would end his college career early to sign an NHL contract.

“In the past few days since our season ended, I have had the chance to reflect on the year and the season our team had,” Mitchell, a Calahoo, Alberta native, said in a DU  press release. “It became clear to me during that time that I did not feel ready mentally or physically to leave Denver. I believe this is the best place for me to become a better hockey player and as a team we have an opportunity to do something very special next year. I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for being so supportive and respectful of my decision to remain in school and continue my development. I am looking forward to next season.”

Mitchell has eight goals, 49 assists and 32 penalty minutes through 80 career games with the Pioneers. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect registered six goals, 21 assists and 18 penalty minutes through 39 games during the 2018-19 season, leading Denver defensemen in points and leading all Pioneer skaters with 12 power-play points and 66 blocked shots to earn Second-Team All-NCHC honors. In January, Mitchell represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship where he posted one goal and two assists in five games.

Mitchell is a two-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team and a two-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. Prior to coming to Denver, Mitchell tallied 14 goals and 50 assists in 109 games with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) from 2015-17. He represented Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and 2015 Winter Games.

DU to Host Free Pre-Game Party in Buffalo + TV Watch Parties Around the USA

The University of Denver is sponsoring a pre-game party in Buffalo, New York prior to Thursday’s NCAA Semi-Final between DU and the University of Massachusetts.  DU is also sponsoring free TV watch Parties in selected large cities around the nation:

Pre-game reception:
Buffalo, NY

TV Watch Parties:
Denver
Chicago
San Francisco
Portland, Ore.
Seattle
Los Angeles
San Diego
Phoenix
New York City
Boston,
Old Greenwich, Conn.
Philadelphia
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta

For more information on party times and city TV party locations, and to register to attend, please follow this link:

Pioneer Offense Explodes for Tierney’s 400th Career Victory, 16-9 over Georgetown

The DU team applauds coach Bill Tierney (center, red jacket) for his 400th career victory after DU’s 16-9 win over Georgetown at Barton Stadium (Photo: Jason Evans)

After losing a one-goal heartbreaker in DU coach Bill Tierney’s emotional return to Princeton University last Tuesday, the #9-ranked Denver Pioneers desperately wanted to get head coach Bill Tierney his 400th win as a head coach on Saturday, March 30th.

Georgetown, the 19th ranked team in the nation and a team that beat DU 8-3 in last year’s Big East Tournament, was the big obstacle in front of Denver.

But the Pioneers left no doubts, exploding for a season-high 10 first-half goals and cruised to a 16-9 victory over Georgetown for the Pioneers’ most complete win of the season.

The win also guaranteed the 400th career victory in the 35-year head coaching career of coach Bill Tierney.  Tierney now joins his good friend, Duke Head Coach John Danowski, as the only two men in the history of Division One lacrosse to reach that 400 coaching win milestone.

The Pioneers (6-3) took the field in charged-up state of mind on this cold and snowy Barton Stadium morning, hooting and hollering more than usual in the warm-up – and that emotional advantage, coupled with a solid game plan on both sides of the ball, led to a 16-goal offensive output against a ranked team. This was the kind of potent offense DU fans were waiting for this season for a very solid opening win in Big East Conference play.

“Coming out of that game [last Tuesday] at Princeton, we were down-and-out,” said Coach Tierney after the win. “But the guys responded to coaching really well [this week] and the [assistant coaches} coaches put together a great game plan, and the [DU] players played extremely well today…When you lose a game [at Princeton] that you feel you could have won…you gotta get the next one – you’re so desperate…I’m proud of the guys today.”

The Pioneers responded to the desperation with crisp offensive execution, with very balanced scoring on the day, with five different Pioneers scoring multiple goals. Senior Austin French topped the DU scoresheet with a four-goal, two assist day, followed by hat tricks from Ethan Walker (3g 2a) and Colton Jackson (3g, 1a), and supplemented by two-goal performances by Teddy Sullivan and Jack Hanna. The Pioneers scoring machine was fed by a strong performance at the face-off X (Brett Boos went 17-26 on the day), a confident clearing effort (16-18) and good ball control, giving up only eight turnovers. DU led 10-5 at the half and never looked back.

“[DU Associate Head Coach] Matt Brown had a good game plan and the [team] followed it.” said Tierney. “We only only had one turnover in the first half…and the [Georgetown] goalie was playing well. We said to the guys in the locker room ‘Keep shooting. Don’t be afraid to shoot, don’t let your hands get too tight, just keep shooting’ and they [goals] will eventually fall – [we] got a bunch of shots and they did [fall] .”

Indeed, Georgetown goalie Owen McElroy was heroic for the Hoyas in the net, making 16 saves in a losing effort.

Denver also played solid defense on the day, holding a strong Georgetown offense, averaging 13+ goals per game to only nine goals.  DU’s star close defenseman Dylan Gaines had an excellent outing, containing Georgetown’s star attackman, Senior Daniel Buccaro, to only two goals in the game, while DU goalie Alex Ready chipped in with 12 saves to get the Pioneer victory.

DU will play #20th ranked Villanova Wildcats next Saturday at 3:30 pm MT in the second Big East game for the Pioneers.

Our thanks to Jason Evans for his photo and interview of Coach Tierney after the game.

AIC Upsets St. Cloud 2-1, Pioneers to Face Yellowjackets for Frozen Four Berth

In one of the most, if not the most, stunning upsets in the history of NCAA college hockey, #16th Seeded American International College (AIC) of Springfield, Mass. and Atlantic Hockey, upset top seeded and top-ranked St. Cloud State in the NCAA West Regional in Fargo, N.D., 2-1.

The upset means that Denver will face AIC on Saturday Night, March 30 for the Regional Crown (7 pm MT, ESPNU), with the winner advancing to April’s NCAA Frozen Four in Buffalo.

AIC built a 2-0 second period lead on a couple of soft goals through SCSU netminder David Hrenak, and St. Cloud scored a third period power play goal to cut the AIC lead to 2-1. Despite a barrage of SCSU shots (34-13 for the game), AIC held on for the upset.

AIC, with 1700 undergrads,  has only been Division I for 22 years, and has never had a winning season until this year.

North Dakota fans in Fargo are expected to cheer for AIC tomorrow against the Pioneers.