Petersen Frustrates the Pioneers, Forces Another Denver Tie

For the second night in a row, Notre Dame Fighting Irish goalie Cal Petersen was on the top of his game. The University of Denver Pioneers sent 45 shots at him, but Petersen only allowed 2 pucks to get past him in 65 minutes of NCAA regulation play.

Saturday’s game started very similarly to Friday’s as both teams came out of the locker room skating hard. There was a lot of up and down, scoreless play until Notre Dame’s Thomas DiPauli beat DU goalie Tanner Jaillet top shelf to the stick side at the 5:54 mark.

After that, Denver began to control the play again, but true to Petersen’s form, the Pioneers couldn’t push the puck past him until the 19:06 mark of the 2nd period. At that point, Dylan Gambrell shot the puck off of a player and into the back of the net. After a short review to ensure there was no goalie interference, the game was tied.

Gambrell’s goal was finally the fruit of the 2nd period effort that saw DU dominate play. In the middle frame, DU outshot the Irish 18-3. Throughout the period, it felt like de ja vu all over again. DU continued to send quality shots at the net and Petersen somehow came up with every save.

Finally in the third period, for the first time all weekend, the matchup felt like a real college hockey game: 2 goals were scored. At the 15:52 mark, Dylan Gambrell beat Petersen glove side to give the Pioneers their first lead of the weekend.

Just less than 4 minutes later, at the 19:30 mark, Notre Dame tied the game at 2 when a bouncing puck just made it past Jaillet low to his glove side.

Just off the ensuing faceoff, DU had a great chance to take the late lead, but the puck was shot just off the side of the net. For the second night in a row, Denver and Notre Dame went to overtime.

Throughout the first 5 minute overtime, DU controlled play. As they did throughout the evening, they challenged Petersen with quality shots but again, Petersen wouldn’t let anything get by him.

“You start to hope pucks go in,” DU Coach Jim Montgomery said. “[Petersen] was screened and he catches it with his glove. It’s like he’s seeing the puck as big as a balloon.”

With about 10 seconds left in the first overtime, Danton Heinen clanged a shot off the crossbar. It was DU’s best chance of the first 5 minute frame, but the puck just wasn’t bouncing the Pioneers’ way all weekend.

“Sometimes it’s a game of inches, like all sports are,” Montgomery said. “But you also need to take away the goalie’s eyes and you need to crash the net.”

After a scoreless, eventful, meaningless 3 on 3 overtime, the two teams went to the shootout where the Pioneers came away with the victory. In the second round of the shootout, Trevor Moore slipped the puck through Petersen’s 5-hole to give DU the advantage and Jaillet stoned the Irish attempt to preserve the tie victory.

The story of the night may have been the poor officiating. Time after time, both the linesmen and the referees seemed to miss obvious penalties and offside calls. In fact, after further examination, on the game-tying goal, an Irish player was offside, but the linesman missed it.

Notre Dame was offside as they entered the zone on their tying goal.
Notre Dame was offside as they entered the zone on their tying goal.

Earlier in the third period, at the 3:41 mark, Notre Dame appeared to take the 2-1 lead, but the goal was waved off as there was a premature whistle for a Tariq Hammond cross-checking penalty.

In the end, the Pioneers tied the Irish twice this weekend and, unfortunately, didn’t do themselves any favors in the pairwise rankings. They had an opportunity to take a win and a tie this weekend, and vault themselves off the bubble and into the all important top 16, but their two ties will keep them firmly placed on the bubble.

“Our top end players need to make more plays than they did tonight,” Montgomery said. “It wasn’t a lack of offensive zone time. Sometimes it’s a structural thing which is stuff I give them, but they need to make plays.”

Sure, the officials didn’t help much, but the bottom line is, DU wasn’t good enough to earn a much needed victory on Saturday night. Two ties in a weekend against a top 20 team certainly isn’t a bad result, but it’s not what DU was envisioning when the puck dropped on Friday night.

Notes

Dylan Gambrell netted both of DU’s goals on the night to give himself 5 on the season; Danton Heinen stayed off the score sheet yet again without a point; DU’s lengthy streak without a power play goal came to an end in the 3rd period on Gambrell’s second goal; Denver only mustered 5 shots on 6 power plays; ND’s Cal Petersen made over 100 saves over the course of the two game series; Denver outshot Notre Dame 45-25 through the first overtime period; Will Butcher earned an assist on Gambrell’s second goal, his 11th of the season; Denver outshot Notre Dame in all periods but one throughout the series.

What’s Next

1/8 & 1/9
at Nebraska-Omaha
Baxter Arena
6:07 PM both nights
Watch: NCHCtv
Listen: 104.3 FM – Jay Stickney on the call

No Good Excuses for Denver’s Holiday Tournament Void

Basketball Showdown

As the holidays come to an end and conference play begins, it is time to seriously discuss the need for a regular holiday basketball tournament in Denver featuring front range D1 basketball teams.

There should be an annual holiday round robin tournament featuring Colorado, CSU, Air Force, & Denver. Depending on the format, Wyoming and Northern Colorado could be included or rotated into the tournament as well. Continue reading No Good Excuses for Denver’s Holiday Tournament Void

Turnovers Sink New Year Effort, 68-59

South Dakota State

DU men’s basketball traveled to Brookings, SD to play the 42nd ranked (NCAA RPI) South Dakota State Jackrabbits on a New Years day tilt. The Jackrabbits entered the contest 11-3 as the Summit League favorite with five players averaging double figures. They were led by three seniors – Diondre Parks (17.6 ppg.), George Marshall (12.9 ppg.), Jake Bittle (11.4) ppg.  joined by underclassmen Mike Daum (11.7 ppg.), Reed Tellinghuisen (10.0 ppg.). DU held South Dakota State to their third worst scoring contest of the season, holding  these Jackrabbit scorers in check, but a glut of Pioneer turnovers determined the final outcome. Continue reading Turnovers Sink New Year Effort, 68-59

Denver Dominates Irish in Thrilling Tie

Ties aren’t always like kissing your sister. The University of Denver Pioneers skated to a 1-1 tie with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Magness Arena on Friday night. Denver ended the night with 57 shots on goal, but could only muster one fluky goal in the 3rd period.

The evening began with a lot of back and forth play by both teams. After about the 7 minute mark of the first period, DU started to take control of the game. The Pioneers were sustaining their offensive pressure, forechecking very well, and just weren’t letting Notre Dame do anything at all. Continue reading Denver Dominates Irish in Thrilling Tie

Top-Tier Locker Room Needed for Premier Hockey Program

While DU fans are rightfully proud of Magness Arena, the reality is that some of DU’s facilities haven fallen behind peers. Many of the locker rooms at Ritchie Center were redone with insurance monies as a result of flooding over the summer. Others, such as men’s lacrosse, were expanded to accommodate the basic needs of a growing program that weren’t being met with the older facilities. Continue reading Top-Tier Locker Room Needed for Premier Hockey Program

Nine Days in January

While the Summit League my be a free-for-all this year, no team has a tougher opening stretch than the Pioneers. DU will get the Summit League preseason poll 1-2-3-4 punch in the first nine days of January. The first two games are on the road, Brookings & Fargo, and the next two games are in Denver. A 2-2 split would be an excellent start to league play. Anything better than that and the Pioneers would have to be considered the biggest league surprise. All in nine days. It won’t take long to get a sense of how well DU matches up against the league’s best.

Summit League Men’s Basketball 

2015-16 PRESEASON POLL

1. South Dakota State (January 1, 2016 – Brookings, S.D.)

2. North Dakota State (January 3, 2016 – Fargo, N.D.)

3. Oral Roberts (January 6, 2016 – Denver, Colorado)

4. Fort Wayne  (January 9, 2016 – Denver, Colorado)

LetsGoDU wishes hoops a great start to the new year.

The West Coast Conference – Risk & Reward

Imagine Pacific University rolling into Denver to play beach volleyball – the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 50 colleges and universities playing as of January 2015. Or picture DU cross country runners training over at Washington park, getting ready for the December NCAA championships. What about heading across I-25 to a refurbished South High Stadium to watch the Pios take on BYU in baseball or watch women’s softball against San Francisco? On a sunny fall day, how about heading out to Cherry Creek to watch a women’s collegiate rowing meet with BYU, Portland and Santa Clara? Continue reading The West Coast Conference – Risk & Reward

Big Ten Doing Its Best to Ruin College Hockey

Last week, College Hockey News (CHN) reported that the Big Ten proposed a piece of legislation to the NCAA to change a key recruiting regulation governing college hockey. This new rule, if passed, would lower the age limit of incoming hockey recruits from 21 to 20 and anyone enrolling after age 20 would lose one year of eligibility for each year. In other words, a 21-year old incoming freshman would only have 3 years of eligibility, a 22 year old would have 2 years of eligibility, and so on. Essentially, every player on a given roster would be required to be 24 years old or younger. Continue reading Big Ten Doing Its Best to Ruin College Hockey

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