Category Archives: Hockey

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.

 

Denver and Notre Dame Skate to 2-2 tie in Season-Opener in South Bend

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Notre Dame Freshman Goalie Dylan St. Cyr had 46 saves as the game’s first star. Photo Courtesy: University of Notre Dame

University of Denver sophomore all-American Henrik Borgström scored both goals, but the #1 ranked defending NCAA Champion Pioneers had to settle for a 2-2 tie with the #4 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a re-match of last year’s NCAA hockey semifinal before a near-capacity crowd of 4,478 fans at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.

The Pioneers (0-0-1), playing in their season opener, did get an extra sense of reward with a fourth-round, post-overtime shootout win on a top-corner wrist shot by freshman Kohen Olischefski, but that was all for fun, as the NCAA does not recognize shootout wins in regular season play.

The Irish, (2-0-1), who had the benefit of two prior games last weekend, can be excited that a game in which they were badly outshot by DU, resulted in a tie.

“I was really happy,” said DU coach Jim Montgomery after the game. “I thought that was by far the best first game, in my five years here, that this Denver team has played. I thought we played fast and possessed pucks. In the second period, you know, you’re playing a top-five team. [Notre Dame] came back and they got into the game and then it was a really…for the first game of the year…that was a great hockey game. The exciting part is that hopefully we can grow from this and get better. There’s a couple areas we weren’t great at, but overall I was really happy with our effort and our execution.”

A tension-filled third period was filled with heroics in the final minutes, and as the game wound down, it looked like the Pioneers would win it, as they had three times as many final period shots as the Irish. Borgström’s power-play goal (his second goal of the game) at the 14:38 mark of the third period had sent the Pioneers ahead 2-1 on a gorgeous cross-ice feed from winger Troy Terry, who had split two Notre Dame defenders to set up Borgström on the doorstep, as the Pioneer bench erupted with excitement.

However, the Denver lead didn’t last long, as the Irish were able to equalize the game at 2-2 with Andrew Oglevie’s own power-play goal from between the circles with 4:39 remaining in the third period, the result of an interference penalty call on DU’s Blake Hillman that Montgomery questioned after the game.

The Pioneers, using superior speed, outshot Notre Dame in all three periods of regulation time for a 46-22 total, including 21-7 in the third period, but the heavier Notre Dame squad had the better shot opportunities in the overtime, outshooting the Pios, 7-2 in the extra five minutes, including one shot that clanked off the DU crossbar that almost ended the game as a Notre Dame victory.

The game had started out as a first-period track meet, with up-and-down action with no penalties and no icing calls. While the Pios dominated the shots in the opening frame, it was the Irish who drew first blood with a Jack Evans goal, which came from a juicy rebound of ND’s Cam Morrison’s long wrist shot at the 14:01 mark, a rebound that had bounced off DU goalie Tanner Jaillet’s leg pad straight to Evans in front of the DU goal.

But the Pios took that Irish punch to the nose personally, and roared back just 15  seconds later, as Borgström combined for for a nifty give-and-go with Adam Plant to tie at the game at 1-1. Borgström had carried the puck into the ND zone, dropped a pass to Plant, who ripped a perfect pass back to Borgström, who had faded into the ND left face-off circle. As Plant’s pass arrived, the Finnish sensation rifled a one-timer high into the Notre Dame goal to beat Irish goalie Dylan St. Cyr to silence the ND crowd from the celebration of Evans’ goal that was being announced to the crowd at the same time Borgström tied the game for the Pioneers.

The 1-1 tie scoreline held up until the third period, with the Irish getting increasingly physical in an attempt to slow down the faster Pioneers.

“[Denver] had a lot of shots,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson after the game. “But until maybe the third period at times, I thought that Dylan (St. Cyr) didn’t have to make great saves. He had to make some late in the game, which is really important for a good goaltender. I thought we did a good job without the puck, but we could do a better job with it. That would be my big takeaway from tonight’s game.”

St. Cyr is the son of Manon Rheaume (the first female goalie to play in an NHL exhibition game back in the 1990s), was voted first star in the game with his 46 saves on the night. Borgström was named second star by scoring both Pioneer goals to open what figures to be his final Pioneer season before joining the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the First Round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

The Pioneers also got strong play from wing Liam Finlay, who had seven shots on goal and center Tyson McLellan, who went 13-3 in the face-off circle.

DU and Notre Dame play in the series finale tomorrow at 4 pm MT, with the telecast on NBC Sports Network.

 

 

 

Denver Adds Star Power to Hockey Broadcast

Photo: JJ Lane starred in the 2015 season of the Bachelorette.

Reality TV star JJ Lane is returning to his first love, hockey, by taking to the broadcast booth on 104.3 The Fan. He will call hockey games for the Pioneers this season with the equally charismatic Jay Stickney.

He is from Denver and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Denver in 2009 with a BSBA in Finance. After graduation, he was an investment banker with J.P. Morgan and St. Charles Capital in New York and Denver. He founded several business in Denver where he now resides.

He was on The Bachelorette Season 11 and Bachelor in Paradise Season 2. Then, in a confusing twist of events, JJ ended up dating Juelia Kinney – a contestant on Season 19 of The Bachelor – and, according to PEOPLE Magazine are exclusively dating – even though she lives in San Diego. At least that is the latest news we could find. He is a busy guy.
Continue reading Denver Adds Star Power to Hockey Broadcast

Denver Hockey Series Preview: University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Photo courtesy John Leyba, The Denver Post

The NCAA must have been sweating it out last year experimenting with Chicago as a first-time destination for the Frozen Four.  The Windy City does not have any Division I hockey programs, and strangely neither does the rest of the state of Illinois despite a large number of top college players coming from that area.  Yet the NCAA rolled the dice on a major city that has recently gone hockey-crazy because of their Blackhawks. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2017-18 University of Denver Hockey Season Preview

Photo courtesy John Leyba, The Denver Post

The 2017-18 college hockey season is back. While much of the rest of the country started their seasons over the past two weekends, the University of Denver Pioneers have to wait until this weekend, the 13th and 14th to open their season at Notre Dame in a Frozen Four rematch. While the wait has been excruciating, it has only added to the anticipation for a season that the Pioneers hope ends with another trophy presentation after an incredible run to their 8th national title in Chicago this past April. Continue reading 2017-18 University of Denver Hockey Season Preview

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

Colorado College prepares for Breckenridge Tilt

Photo: Coach Mike Haviland leads the Tigers onto the slopes in Breckenridge

Colorado College hockey head coach Mike Haviland is busy preparing his team for an exhibition in Breckenridge this Saturday, September 30th. The Breckenridge ski area rolled out the red carpet for the Tigers practice and fired up the artificial snow machines. Continue reading Colorado College prepares for Breckenridge Tilt

2017-18 Denver Hockey: Comprehensive freshman class profile

Photo credit: Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today

Summer is finally over and Fall is upon us once again. Rather than waking up to the bright, piercing sun, we’re waking up to cool, crisp mornings. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back and Major League Baseball playoff races are heating up (the Rockies are still in it!) and we’ve reached the final days of September. All of this means only one thing. College hockey is finally right around the corner. Continue reading 2017-18 Denver Hockey: Comprehensive freshman class profile