All posts by Puck Swami

Longtime University of Denver fan and alumnus.

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.

 

 

Princeton Spoils Tierney’s Return in Wild, 14-13 upset over Denver

DU coach Bill Tierney (left) congratulates Princeton coach Matt Madalon after the wild 14-13 Princeton upset over Denver: Photo: Princeton University/Shelly Szwast

It was supposed to be a special homecoming to Princeton, New Jersey for DU lacrosse coaching legend Bill Tierney, but the Princeton Tigers had other ideas, winning a wild and emotional game full of scoring and lightning-fast counter punches over #8th ranked Denver, 14-13.

Tierney, who spent 22 years coaching the PrincetonTigers to six national titles before jumping to coach Denver in 2009, had to be excited to bring his DU Pioneers to Princeton for the first time ever, gunning for his 400th career win on national TV. Tierney returned to his coaching roots at Sherrerd Field Tuesday afternoon with admittedly mixed emotions, and the significance of the game could be heard in a pregame interview as Tierney’s voice cracked with emotion as he reminisced about his Princeton past. The interview was less about his six national championships and more about the people he met along the way. Continue reading Princeton Spoils Tierney’s Return in Wild, 14-13 upset over Denver

Denver to Face Ohio State in NCAA Regional Hockey Rematch

DU faces Ohio State in the West Regional, a rematch of last year’s DU NCAA 5-1 loss to the Buckeyes. Photo: DU athletics.

As expected, the NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Committee assigned the eighth-seeded University of Denver Pioneers with a trip to the West Regional in Fargo, North Dakota, where DU will host a first-round rematch with ninth-seeded Ohio State University from the Big 10, the school that ended DU’s 2018 season with a 5-1 NCAA second round regional drubbing in Allentown, Pa.  

DU, the third-place team in the NCHC, will face OSU at 2 pm MT on Friday, March 29th .  The game can be seen live on ESPNU. As the eighth-seed, DU will be the home team in Fargo and will have last line change. Continue reading Denver to Face Ohio State in NCAA Regional Hockey Rematch

Idaho Crushes Pioneers in WNIT Second Round, 88-66, Ending DU’s season

Denver Senior Samantha Romanowski finished her DU career in the 88-66 WNIT loss to Idaho. Photo: DU Athletics

The 2018-2019 University of Denver Women’s Basketball season is over, as the Pioneers were curb-stomped  in the second round of the WNIT, 88-66 by the University of Idaho Vandals before a boisterous crowd filling the historic, old Memorial Gym in Moscow, Idaho on March 24th.  

The Vandals, from the Big Sky Conference, were led by Makayla Ferenz, who put up a game-high 33 points against a porous DU defense. DU was led by Junior Madison Nelson with 19 points in the losing effort. Continue reading Idaho Crushes Pioneers in WNIT Second Round, 88-66, Ending DU’s season