Sights and Sounds from Battle on Blake Media and Practice Day

When the day started, I thought I was going to write a feature length article about what happened at Coors Field today. After the evening and events were over, I realized there was too much good content to pare it down to just an article. So instead, I’m just going to include many of the great quotes and pictures that I got at today’s media and practice day ahead  of tomorrow’s Battle on Blake.

So without further ado:

On the Battle on Blake Atmosphere

“I expect an unbelievable atmosphere. I think it’s going to be really special for both teams and I think it’ll be special for the state of Colorado in general. The atmosphere is going to be like something none of us have ever experienced.”
Grant Arnold

“I mean it’s a great rivalry especially in this atmosphere. It’s unbelievable. We’re really looking forward to being able to play this game with our teammates and in front of our fans. It’s just going to be a great experience.”
Gabe Levin

“You don’t get many opportunities to play in an outdoor game, so we’re all excited and we’re just going to take it in as much as we can.”
Danton Heinen

“I would love to play in this kind of venue with a rich tradition rivalry like this game is. I mean it’s going to be unbelievable here.”
Jim Montgomery

“I’ve never played outdoors before being from California, so it was a little different for me. After a while it’s just the same game.”
Trevor Moore

View of the ice from the concourse behind home plate.
View of the ice from the concourse behind home plate

On Battle on Blake Expectations

“You know it’s three points that we need. We need to get a victory. This is so fun, but if you don’t win, it’s not going to be as good of a memory, so that’s going to be a big focus. Tomorrow is a hockey game we need to win.”
Grant Arnold

“I think the game will be different because the noise will be different. Skating on the ice here, you’re used to skating on cement and this ice is on stilts a little bit. You feel a vibration under your skates. You never feel that. I think the shadows here are a little bit different, although we saw that in Providence when it was all over the place.”
Jim Montgomery

“I think it’ll be more of a grind it out type of game. Less crisp passes and more getting to the net front with a few more mistakes.”
Trevor Moore

Denver practicing on the ice under the lights at Coors Field
Denver practicing on the ice under the lights at Coors Field

On Expected Game and Ice Conditions

“I thought the ice was really good. A lot better than I expected. They did a great job. I think there were a couple swails in there, but after a couple more zamboni runs to build it up a bit, I think it’ll be great tomorrow night.

“I flipped the puck up in the air because I was wondering if that could be some kind of strategy, but the rink is perfectly centered that when you flip it up, it’s never in the lights. It’s not like a fly ball.”
Jim Montgomery

“It’s a different feel than I thought it would be. I thought it would feel smaller, but it’s so big out here. It’s different, but it’s exciting. I think the ice was about what we expected. There was a little wear and tear as we went along, but it’s to be expected for outdoor hockey.
– Trevor Moore

About 2/3 into their allotted ice time, the Pios took a break for a team picture.
About 2/3 into their allotted ice time, the Pios took a break for a team picture.

On Practice and Media Day

“For me, being a Rockies fan and Colorado native, just walking out there for warm ups is going to be a really special feeling. Today, we’re going to try to get some fun out of the way and tomorrow will be more business like. ”
Grant Arnold

“It was a lot of fun. There’s not a lot of times in my life that I feel like a kid anymore, but I felt like a kindergartner on the first day of school, anxious like you didn’t know what you were going to get. But after a while,  then you started to focus on how this game is going to be different than what we’re used to.

“We wanted to get here so that the guys could get all the excitement out so tomorrow we can be all business and get ready for a hockey game.”
Jim Montgomery

“We didn’t want to wait. We were excited to get out here. We just wanted to see what it was like. It’s beautiful out here. it’s a really cool experience so we’re all just excited about it.”
Trevor Moore on waiting to take the ice

View of the ice from DU's student section
View of the ice from DU’s student section

On Game One in Colorado Springs

“Last night, my focus as the captain and the other leaders on the team was to be really focused and be a really disciplined team. Last night everyone was thinking about Saturday and my message was how committed are we going to be as a group. Can we play another good 60 minutes when a lot of people’s minds are on Saturday. And we did. We responded well.”
Grant Arnold

“I think they did a good job keeping us to the outside. We had a lot of zone time, but we were to the outside. Once we started penetrating the middle of the ice, I think we got more opportunities.”
– Danton Heinen

“I feel good today. I don’t know, it was weird. I was feeling good all day and then in warmups I started to feel a little something and I thought it was just nerves. Then in the first period it just wouldn’t go away.”
Tanner Jaillet after getting sick last night

General Thoughts

“Coming off of two crazy games against North Dakota with an electric atmosphere, Monty’s message to us all week was be pros all week. Try to practice like a pro and act like a pro.”
Grant Arnold on the week’s preparation

“From the start of the year, it’s definitely been Grant. He’s consistently been just a positive, motivating influence. That’s the main thing behind being vocal on the bench. It’s not just to get guys motivated, but also it’s a long game and you have to stay focused on every individual shift. You just want to make sure guys are doing that and I think that staying vocal sort of helps everyone stay in the moment and focus on their jobs for each shift.”
Gabe Levin on the increased bench communication

“I don’t think we adjusted much. I think we just have a different mind set. Everybody’s bought into the process and doing whatever they can to help the team win.”
Danton Heinen on the first and second half season differences

“We’re just going to do more of what we did in the third period last night and have more of a purpose getting to their net-front and then being able to shoot pucks quicker so that they don’t get blocked or that they find lanes or sticks at the net.”
Jim Montgomery on Saturday’s strategy

DU Drops Tight Game to ORU

DU (13-14) tied the game on a Marcus Byrd 3-point  shot with 1:15 remaining but Oral Roberts University (14-14) capitalized on free throws and shots from the low block in the closing minutes to escape with a 62-58 win over DU in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yet again, DU played close enough to win, especially in the second half, but could not get it done in the final minutes. 

DU seems to take nearly every game to wire this season and this game was no exception. Continue reading DU Drops Tight Game to ORU

An Open Letter to Colorado College Hockey Fans

Photo Credit: Kevin Kreck, The Gazette

Dear CC Fans,

I was at the World Arena last night. I saw what happened. I saw DU take it to your Tigers. As you know, the 4-1 score could have and probably should have been more like 7-1 given the balance of play. I have to give your team some credit for their effort last night. They held the hottest team and the hottest line in college hockey to just one goal through 46 minutes of play. That’s a moral victory to be proud of when your team has just 6 wins on the year. Continue reading An Open Letter to Colorado College Hockey Fans

Damien Goddard to Personally Survey Pioneer Progress

LetsGoDU founder Damien Goddard arrived in Denver on Thursday, February 18th. Mr. Goddard, the driving force behind Denver Boone, will be attending both DU-CC games and making undisclosed personal appearances in the DU area Friday with his entourage. He will be in attendance on Saturday, February 20th at Coors Field for the Battle on Blake and monitor Pioneer Nation progress.

Boone 6
Denver Boone, DU’s unofficial ‘official’ mascot, experienced a rebirth under the tutelage of Mr. Goddard. The affable DU mascot still shares widespread support across the entire DU community.

Denver Extends Gold Pan Winning Streak to 7 with 4-1 Victory

Photo Credit: David Zalubowski, The Denver Post

On Thursday night, in front of a quiet (announced) 6,831 fans at the World Arena, the University of Denver Pioneers skated the Colorado College Tigers out of the building with a 4-1 Gold Pan Rivalry victory. It was Denver’s 7th straight victory over their in-state rivals from down in Colorado Springs. Continue reading Denver Extends Gold Pan Winning Streak to 7 with 4-1 Victory

DU Hockey Mailbag: The Battle on Blake is Finally Here

Photo Credit: Brent Lewis, The Denver Post

It’s been a long 9 and a half months since the Battle on Blake was announced last May. The excitement has built since then with various events and announcements. It’s finally going to culminate in, yep, you guessed it, a game. They’re actually going to play hockey at Coors Field this weekend!

If you haven’t been following LetsGoDU on Twitter, you’ve been missing out on a number of announcements regarding this weekend including what DU will be wearing against CC. If you missed that, no worries, just go ahead and click here. Continue reading DU Hockey Mailbag: The Battle on Blake is Finally Here

Denver Hockey Alums to Skate at Joy Burns Arena

On Wednesday, the University of Denver hockey program announced that a number of program alumni are going to take part in a “friendly scrimmage” at Joy Burns Arena on Friday from 6-8 PM. Admission to the scrimmage is free.

This event comes on the eve of the Battle on Blake between Colorado College and the University of Denver. It reminds some of a version of the alumni game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche happening at Coors Field the day before the Stadium Series game next weekend. Continue reading Denver Hockey Alums to Skate at Joy Burns Arena

Puck Swami: Thoughts on the Battle on Blake, (Part 2 of 2): Beyond the Ice

Photo Credit: University of Denver Athletics

Puck Swami, the Internet moniker of a longtime DU fan and alumnus, offers a two-part article this week as a prelude to the Battle on Blake. Part One focused some perspective on the ice and developed the history of the rivalry. Here, Part Two focuses on some of the off-ice elements of the rivalry and puts the outdoor game into a larger context.

In the first part of this series, we recapped a bit of the on-ice history of the DU vs. CC rivalry. But ask any fan who has watched many years of these rivalry games, and you’ll hear about some amazing off-ice history that is every bit as interesting as the games played on ice. Continue reading Puck Swami: Thoughts on the Battle on Blake, (Part 2 of 2): Beyond the Ice

Colorado College Jerseys Revealed

LetsGoDU acquired exclusive access to the design of the sweaters that Colorado College will be wear on Saturday, February 20th for the Battle on Blake. While Colorado College was trying to keep the ‘design’ a secret, we were able to secure this image. Continue reading Colorado College Jerseys Revealed

Battle on Blake Week Preview

Photo Credit: David Zadlubowski, The Denver Post 

Battle on Blake Week is finally upon us. As the anticipation and excitement builds to watch the puck drop between CC and DU at Coors Field here’s a look at the most recent meetings between the two long-time rivals. Continue reading Battle on Blake Week Preview

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