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Borgstrom extends goal tally to 11 in DU’s 4-2 victory over St. Cloud

photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

Finnish phenom Henrik Borgstrom astonished Magness arena with his composure low in  the slot. The sophomore forward swept the puck across the crease in one slick motion before lofting it top-shelf to score his 10h goal of the University of Denver Pioneers’ nine games played in the 207-18 season. The Helsinki, Finland native would extend to his goal tally to 11 scoring an empty net goal with 32 seconds remaining in the game and finishing his 11th of the season.

“He’s so creative, like I’ve never seen goals like that before,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “The first one; that was incredible. That he has the poise to take it from one side to the other and then the skill to roof it when you’re a foot from the net is unreal. Let’s hope it goes again and again a lot more times this year. I’m just really happy with our team effort. When you have special players like that that allows your team to shine in special moments.”

Borgstrom’s goal would be the first of four, in the No. 3-ranked Pioneer’s 4-2 victory over the No. 1-ranked St. Cloud State University Huskies on Friday, Nov. 10. The Florida Panthers prospect had also had a hand in the security goal, as junior forward Jarid Lukosevicius notched the second and third goals that put DU on top.

“I just feel like I’m getting kind of lucky all of the time too and I’m getting good passes. It feels like everything I shoot goes in. I don’t think I’m doing anything different in goal-scoring situations, it’s just going in. Otherwise I feel stronger and stuff like that, but otherwise I don’t think that effects my scoring really.”

Borgstrom has been mixed up along lines between Dylan Gambrell, Troy Terry, Liam Finlay and Colin Staub. Assistant captain and junior forward, Terry, is ranked second in the NCAA with five goals and 12 assists in nine games played. Assistant captain and junior forward Gambrell boasts a team-high ten-assists after Friday’s performance.

“During this weekend I know Coach Monty wanted to integrate me, Gambs [Gambrell] and Troy [Terry] into the middle [as centers across three different lines] and sometimes we were still going out there together. I don’t really care, I’ve played with Fins [Finlay] a lot this season. I feel like we’ve got some chemistry out there. Staub has been really good with us too, he’s a hard working guy and a surprisingly good passer.”

Denver bounced back after the Western Michigan University Broncos swept the Pioneers 6-5 and 7-4, respectively. Borgstrom amassed four points on a three goals and an assist in the first game and scored one goal the following night against the Broncos.

The Pioneers knew they needed the win as a morale boost and to elevate momentum going forward so when St. Cloud cut the lead down to one goal late in the third period the team reacted by pressuring the Huskies immediately.

“We were just thinking not again,” Borgstrom said. “So when I got that empty-netter; I don’t think I’ve ever celly-ed that hard. It was a huge win for us. For the team that’s what we needed to go on and take the next step for us.”

Campus Lounge 2.0 – A Review

I made two visits to the “new” Campus Lounge before writing this review. And it takes several visits to clear your memories of the “old” campus lounge to fairly judge the new place.

The unchanged exterior has a fresh coat of pastel paint and conjures up thoughts of a warm gathering place situated in the heart of the Bonnie Brae neighborhood. How would the new horseshoe bar compare to the old one? Would there be DU and Bronco memorabilia on the walls? Or maybe patrons would be stunned to see DU hockey legend Keith Magnuson’s mural carefully preserved for future generations to behold? Was the decor more upscale and urban or was it a neighborhood eatery where everybody knows your name? And the food – what about that? After 14 months of work and delays, this place was certain to dazzle, right?

The proprietor Dan Landis told 9News several days earlier, “”I’m nervous just because I know not everybody is gonna love it.”

He’s right. Continue reading Campus Lounge 2.0 – A Review

Shinyashiki’s scores with 16 seconds to send OT victory over UNO

photo courtesy of John Babiak

The storied battle between the University of Denver Men’s Pioneers and the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks was magnified to on Saturday, Oct. 28. The familiar opponents clashed on CIBER Field as the Pioneers’ fought for their fourth consecutive conference title.

With 16 seconds on the clock, junior forward Andre Shinyashiki scored his ninth goal of the campaign to send the exhilarating match into extra time. Freshman outside back Jacob Stensson raced down the right flank and sent a cross to Shinyashiki who was positioned near center frame. Shinyashiki redirected his header towards the back door and hit the back post to equalize the score one apiece.

“16 seconds left against our biggest rival, it was great that I could help the team,” Shinyashiki said. “I was the guy who missed the missed the man on their goal so I really felt like I needed to do that.”

In the first frame of extra time the Pioneers carried over their momentum and intensity. One of Omaha’s defender was assessed with a hand ball in the penalty box, awarding the Pioneers with a penalty kick with 2:06 on the clock. Senior captain Graham Smith took the penalty, positioning his shot in the lower left corner to secure the OT victory. 

“For us, a huge point was to not get frustrated and to be resilient and make sure to continue to up-the-tempo,” Head coach Jamie Franks said. “For me, my team grew up tonight and I’m super proud of them on senior night, for those guys, I think it was Alex Underwood said, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’ We’ve been missing that all season. That sort of confidence, that sort of demand from each other, I’m glad that we found it now. When we do that we’re a tough team to beat.”

Omaha (8-4-2, 1-0-2 Summit League) was the first to get on the board off of a long-throw in. Center-back Seth Rinderknecht threw the ball from the flank to the Denver’s six-yard line. The center was deflected and immediately redirected by a one-time strike from forward Emmanuel Hamzat whose low-drive beat DU goalie Nick Gardner.

The Pioneers displayed resilience to the goal, applying immense pressure towards Omaha’s attacking third which ultimately led to Shinyashiki’s goal.

The Summit League rivals have met in comparable circumstances, last season the Pioneers clinched their fourth-straight conference title where Shinyashiki scored a brace in DU’s 2-1 victory over the Mavericks on Nov. 11.

“It’s an opponent like any other, we approach the game the same but there’s a special feeling against them because they’ve been our conference rivals and there’s always that little bit an extra feeling,” Shinyashiki said.

DU’s momentum amplified in the final third of the first half as the Pioneers began to control possession. Denver held an 8-2 shot on goal edge over Omaha. The Pioneers posted a dangerous chance on net in the 29th minute on a combination play between Elder and junior forward Andre Shinyashiki. Elder passed to Shinyashiki from outside the 18-yard box before wrapping his run around the Mavericks’ backline. Shinyashiki knavishly heeled the ball past Omaha defender to a wide-open Elder, whose one-timer was sent just wide.

Intensity didn’t falter between the friendly foes as 27 fouls were distributed between teams, 14 in the first half alone. Denver freshman midfielder Destan Norman was the only player of those 14 fouls to receive a yellow card. In the 27th minute, Norman was booked a yellow for tripping from behind.

Prior to kickoff Denver’s 2017 senior class was honored as; forward Blake Elder, centerback Kortne Ford, outside back AJ Fuller and senior captains midfielder Graham Smith and midfielder Alex Underwood were recognized for their contributions to the program in their tenure. Collectively, the 2017 senior class has led the program to its first College Cup appearance in program history, contributed to the 2015-16 back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, three-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and three-straight Summit regular season and tournament titles.

“For these guys to have 54 wins (54-16-8), two or three gold vest community service awards, the top gpa the past two years, the Final Four, two-straight undefeated seasons, three conference championships, three tournament conference championships, every year in the NCAA tournament. It’s just special,” Franks said. “It’s just special. These kids come here to Denver to leave their mark on the program and that’s exactly what they’ve done.”

Denver travels to Western Illinois University (5-8-0, 3-1) for the final match of the regular season on Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. MT. The Pioneers must beat or tie Western Illinois in order to clinch the regular season title.

Rasmussen dominates between pipes in first collegiate start

Photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

The number 31 manned the University of Denver Pioneers’ pipes during Saturday night’s game against the Lake Superior State Lakers. While DU fans are accustomed to the redhead goalie Evan Cowley sporting jersey number 31, Cowley has since graduated and the uniform has been passed on and acquired by freshman Dayton Rasmussen. Continue reading Rasmussen dominates between pipes in first collegiate start

Denver boasts 66 shots in OT “win” over Lake Superior State

photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio

Across the span of five minutes, three goals were scored exchanged between teams to requiring double overtime. A game which the University of Denver Pioneers dominated in finesse and was countered by the grit and extraordinary hustle of their opponent the Lake Superior State Lakers. Continue reading Denver boasts 66 shots in OT “win” over Lake Superior State

Defining identity at the University of Denver

Homecoming weekend is soon to arrive on the University of Denver campus. It’s a wonderful time to see DU friends, walk the campus in its fall glory, cheer on the top-ranked DU hockey team and celebrate the bonds we all share as fellow Pioneers. From the newest first-year students who have been a part of our community for only a few weeks, to the oldest alumnus or DU fan, we’re all part of a pretty big family. How big? Well, there are about 11,600 students, 1,300 faculty and 1,700 staff on campus, but the DU community is much, much larger when you include the 100,000+ living DU alumni around the world, the parents and families of our students, and the many others who choose to support our school, including DU’s neighbors, its sports fans, its donors and event attendees. Continue reading Defining identity at the University of Denver

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.


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

Does Denver’s success have a limit?

Photo: Could this be the I-70 view if Denver is awarded the 2026 Winter Olympics? 

Remember when Denver rejected the 1976 Winter Olympics because of cost and congestion? Well, it may be happening again, 50 years later.

Denver has grown from 450,000 to over 700,00 residents over that period and the suburbs and front range have exploded – especially since the financial collapse in 2007-2008. The state of Colorado gained over 100,000 new residents in 2015 and the trend has been continuing according to The Denver Post. Colorado currently has a population of 5.7 million and is expected to grow to 8 million by 2050, a 40% increase which will continue to put a strain on resources – taxes, schools, housing, roads, water, parks, etc.. Continue reading Does Denver’s success have a limit?