Category Archives: Hockey

Pioneers, Cooley Shutout No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 2-0

Photo courtesy of DenverPioneers.com

In a highly anticipated match up in college hockey, the Denver Pioneers and Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs didn’t disappoint fans who were in attendance at Magness Arena Friday night.  Although the game started a bit slow, the second and third periods resembled a nail-biting playoff game.

It was expected that the last two National Champions would put up some offense, but it was a tightly checked game.  Let’s get right into it.

First period

The game started on a bad note for the Pioneers when Brett Stapley checked Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich awkwardly into the boards just 40 seconds into the 1st period.  After review, it was determined that it was a major penalty and Stapley was ejected from the game.  But this was far from the last penalty called in the first period.  Duluth had their own major boarding call but Louie Roehl was not ejected.  There was a total of eight penalties called in the first 20 minutes of the game between both teams.

There seemed to be no control of the puck by either team throughout the period.  Pucks were being chipped in deep and there was little space to skate.  The Pioneers had a few good chances including a breakaway by Cole Guttman and an odd man rush by Colin Staub and Jakko Heikkinen, but Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard kept everything out of the net.

The Bulldogs defense didn’t let many pucks through all night.  They held the Pioneers to just two shots on goal in the first period.  Led by St. Louis Blues 2018 2nd-round pick Scott Perunovich, the Bulldogs played a low risk game by chipping pucks out of their zone and moving it quickly up the ice out of danger.

The period ended with Duluth leading in shots 7-2.

Second period

The pace started to pick up in the second period.  It seemed like Duluth skated even harder when they were on the penalty kill.  But halfway through the period, the Pioneers went on the powerplay and Ian Mitchell finally got the Pioneers on the board.

After the goal, Duluth started putting the pressure on.  The Pioneers were in prevent mode, shooting pucks off the glass just to keep it out of their zone.  The Bulldogs had several chances, shooting from almost everywhere on the ice.

Devin Cooley stood tall and made some very difficult saves.  After the end of the second, the Bulldogs put 25 shots on Cooley but with no goals.  That’s a pretty significant feat for a backup goaltender to shutout the No. 1 team in the country through two periods.

Third period

In the third period, Duluth came even harder.  They put on another 13 shots on Devin Cooley who had to make save after save to keep the Pioneers in the game.  He was great positionally and really saw the puck well.

David Carle understood what it meant to host the top team in the nation and be up by one goal going into the 3rd period.  He started mixing up lines in the second half of the game, putting a huge emphasis on defense.  The Pioneers got the puck deep and began cycling deep in Duluth’s zone to kill the clock.

We saw several close plays right in front of the Pioneers net, but players were sacrificing their bodies left and right to keep the puck out.  In the last few minutes of the game, Duluth pulled their goalie and put a lot of pressure on the Pioneers.  But with 36 seconds left in the game, Jarid Lukosevicius scored an empty net goal to seal the game.

What we learned

This game was huge for the Pioneers.  It had to be difficult coming home after being swept by the St. Cloud State Huskies, but David Carle had his players focused on what was in front of them.  The Pioneers skated hard and battled through adversity in the form of a ton of penalties.  They didn’t get many shots on net, but they made the best of what they were given.  In games like these, you need your best players to step up, and Ian Mitchell did just that.

Up next

The Pioneers and Bulldogs play again Saturday night in what will be another exciting game.  The Bulldogs can’t be happy after their long winning streak was broken by the Pioneers, and there is no question they will come out hard tomorrow.  The Pioneers will need to do a better job suppressing shots and getting better control of the puck.  Both teams forechecked extremely well so moving the puck quickly will be important.  The Pios will have to shoot more tomorrow night if they want a chance at sweeping the Bulldogs.

Denver Hockey Series Preview: Minnesota Duluth

Photo courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune

This weekend the past two NCAA National Champions faceoff when the Denver Pioneers host the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs

Coming off a pair of losses to No. 2 St. Cloud State, the No. 7 Denver Pioneers have to quickly regroup before they host No. 1 Minnesota Duluth.  The NCHC continues to be the elite conference in college hockey, making for several great series every year, including this one.  There are a total of 12 players who have already been drafted to NHL teams so will be no shortage of star-power this weekend at Magness Arena. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: Minnesota Duluth

DU Men’s Soccer Selected to Host NCAA Tourney Pod, will face Air Force or Central Arkansas this Sunday

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Andre Shinyashiki (#9), who leads the nation in goals with 28, will lead DU into the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

The University of Denver Men’s Soccer team has been not only selected for the NCAA tournament, but rewarded with a #15 seed, a bye in the first round, and will host the winner of Air Force and Central Arkansas at DU on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm MT. 

If the Pioneers should win that home game, they will face the winner of #2 seed Indiana University’s pod of Indiana, University of Connecticut or the University of Rhode Island in the third round.   The full NCAA bracket is here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2018

There was certainly some concern last night that DU might not get to host an NCAA tourney game this season, as its RPI had fallen to #17 on the evening of tournament selection (only 16 teams are seeded, the other 32 at-large teams play each other for the right to advance to one of the 16 seeded home sites), but fortunately for DU, the NCAA tournament committee did not use straight RPI to seed the tournament.

In looking ahead, Air Force, with an at large bid, is the far better of the two teams (RPI#26) when compared with Central Arkansas (#67). However, Air Force is not playing well right now, having lost its last two games to Grand Canyon (#53 RPI).  That said, Air Force being only an hour from the DU campus would likely bring more fans to DU for the game than Central Arkansas, the Champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.

For the Pioneers, it is likely that Sunday’s game will be the last home field opportunity to watch Senior Andre Shinyashiki play for DU.  Shinyashiki’s 28 goals this season leads the nation by wide margin, and he may be enjoying the finest season ever for a DU athlete in any sport.  He is one of the favorites for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s national equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football or the Hobey Baker award in college hockey.  Should Andre win that award, he could be considered DU’s finest athlete in the modern era, given that there are only 60 teams playing D-I hockey, where DU has two Hobey Baker Winners, Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017, the only two DU team sports athletes to win a national MVP trophy. Since there are 206 teams playing D-I soccer, Shinyshiki’s achievement would be arguably greater than Carle or Butcher.  DU has also had individual NCAA D-I champions in gymnastics (Nina McGee in 2016), swimming (Jack Kelso in 1962) and many in skiing over the years, but it could be argued that individual national MVP awards in team sports are greater achievements, since there are opponents directly trying to physically stop an athlete from achieving them, versus individual sports where the clock or judges’ scoring determines win or loss status.

While Shinyashiki’s achievements are spectacular this year, detractors argue that most of his goals have come against lower level opponents, and that against top-25 teams, Andre’s goal scoring is much rarer. Let’s hope Andre and DU score more goals in the coming weeks, and that DU can advance deep into the tournament.

In any event, all DU fans should come to the soccer game this Sunday to cheer on Andre and the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament.

Pioneers swept by St. Cloud State in first NCHC road trip

Photo credit: Russell Hons

Denver lost for the first and second times this season on their first true road trip of the season as they dropped a pair of 4-3 decisions to the St. Cloud State Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Pioneers looked overmatched all weekend and for the first time all season, their youth and related undisciplined tendencies finally came back to bite them. Continue reading Pioneers swept by St. Cloud State in first NCHC road trip

Pioneers withstand third period rally, ride Broncos out of Denver with overtime sweep

Everything was going just fine for the first forty minutes. The #7 Denver Pioneers (5-0-1, 2-0-0-0 NCHC) had picked up right where they left off a night ago in game one against the Western Michigan Broncos. With a power play goal in each of the first two periods, it seemed like Denver was going to cruise to a surprisingly easy early November sweep at Magness Arena. Then the third period came and the tables quickly turned and Denver had to score with less than three minutes left to force overtime where Jarid Lukosevicius scored his fifth goal of the weekend to clinch the sweep. In a season of tests, this one was a test of mental fortitude and leadership and, to no surprise, the Pioneers passed. Continue reading Pioneers withstand third period rally, ride Broncos out of Denver with overtime sweep