Tag Archives: College Hockey

Denver Hockey series preview: Dartmouth

Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics

The Pioneers host the Dartmouth Big Green this weekend in nonconference battle

After a couple unexpected ties with Colorado College last week, the Pioneers look to get back in the win column when they welcome Dartmouth College to Magness Arena.  The two teams have only met five times in history with Denver’s record being 4-0-1 all-time.  Their most recent game was in 2015 when the Pioneers traveled to Hanover and tied the Big Green only to lose in the shootout. Continue reading Denver Hockey series preview: Dartmouth

Denver Hockey series preview: University of Minnesota Duluth

Photo courtesy of DuluthNewsTribune.com

The Pioneers are back in action this weekend playing the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for the first time since the National Championship back in April

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, let’s hope the Pioneers had plenty to eat because they’re going to need the energy this weekend when they take on the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.  This game has plenty of storylines including a National Championship rematch and Tariq Hammond playing the same team he injured his ankle against.  So for the third week in a row now, Pioneer fans can look forward to another great series of college hockey. Continue reading Denver Hockey series preview: University of Minnesota Duluth

Denver Hockey Series Preview: Western Michigan University

Photo courtesy of DenverPioneers.com

The top-ranked University of Denver Pioneers are coming off a very impressive weekend beating Boston University and Boston College on the road.  They will continue their season on the road again when they face the Western Michigan University Broncos this weekend on November 3rd and 4th in Kalamazoo.  This will be the first NCHC series of the season for both teams. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: Western Michigan University

Denver Pioneers Rout Boston College, 6-1 to Complete Boston Weekend Sweep

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DU’s Henrik Borgström had two goals for Denver against BC. Photo: University of Denver

In their most complete game of the season to date, the #1-ranked Denver Pioneers (4-0-2) exploded for three-goal third period to rout #19th-ranked Boston College, 6-1, before nearly 5,000 fans at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The win over BC, when coupled with DU’s Friday 4-3 win over Boston University, sent a strong national message that the Pioneers are the team to beat this season.

“Looking at our team, that was the best performance of the year especially offensively,” said Denver coach Jim Montgomery after game.  “We really showed skill tonight. We made a lot of plays and were really good at managing the puck…We executed great on everything…From our goaltender out, our communication was the best I’ve seen it all year as far as talking and puck support.”

Denver’s all-America candidates stepped up and led in a big way, as Finnish sensation Henrik Borgström had two goals, including the eventual game-winner. Troy Terry had three assists on the evening and Dylan Gambrell scored a goal and added a pair of assists to pace the Pioneer attack, joining the elite 100-point club for DU career scoring.  DU defenseman Blake Hillman also potted his first two goals of the season to help the Pioneers, and Tyson McLellan scored his first of the season for the other Pioneer marker on a feed from Gambrell.

“Denver has dynamic players,” said Boston College coach Jerry York. “They may be better [this year] than they were last year.”

Denver had jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first two periods, and looked to cruise to victory, but BC clawed it’s way back into the game with a lone power play goal coming on a tip by Christopher Brown 1:45 into the third period to cut the DU lead to two goals. But the Pioneers responded with three unanswered goals in the third to blow the game open and complete the Boston sweep.

The Pioneers travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan next weekend to open NCHC play against Western Michigan.

Denver Hockey Series Preview: Boston University & Boston College

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Photo courtesy Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Well here we are just three weeks into the Denver Pioneers hockey season and they are already headed into the belly of the beast.  This weekend the Pios travel to Boston to take on the Boston University Terriers (#6) on Friday and the Boston College Eagles (#19) on Saturday.  The Pioneers are still #1 in the USCHO poll after their series with Lake Superior State last weekend where they came away with a tie and a win.  The NCHC is well represented in the USCHO poll with St. Cloud State just behind Denver at #2, the University of North Dakota at #4, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth at #10.

The Pioneers played both Boston College and Boston University last year at Magness Arena less than a week apart.  The Pioneers fell to the Eagles 3-1 after goaltender Joseph Woll stopped 40/41 shots in the Ice Breaker Tournament.  Later that week, the Pioneers hosted the Terriers and won 4-3 in a game that featured current Arizona Coyote Clayton Keller.  Denver scored the first three goals of the game, but even after a strong comeback BU wasn’t able to tie it up in the final moments of the game.

This year between BC and BU, they have a combined 17 players drafted to NHL teams, 5 with BC and 12 with BU.  And that doesn’t count standout freshman Brady Tkachuk.

These two games will be a big test to the Pioneers even though their stars know what it takes to play a good road game.  Boston University’s Agganis Arena will be a hostile environment on Friday as BU will be looking to knock the Pios off their #1 seed.

Boston University Record:  3-2-1

Boston College Record:  1-3-1

Who’s In?

 

Boston University

BU is one of the most prestigious hockey programs in the country, therefore they always get the cream of the crop in terms of prospects.  This year they added three defenseman and six forwards to their 2017-18 roster featuring Shane Bowers, David Farrance, and Brady Tkachuk.

Tkachuk has already been turning heads at BU as a freshman who already has four assists.  He is projected to be a top first round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Another notable name is Ty Amonte, son of former NHL player Tony Amonte.

Boston College

The Eagles added six freshman to their roster for the 2017-18 season including one defenseman and five forwards.  Forwards Logan Hutsko, Jacob Tortora, and Christopher Grando have already made early contributions this season collecting 4, 3, & 2 points, respectively.

Both Hutsko and Tortora were on the United States Under-17 & Under-18 National Teams.  Grando played two seasons in the United States Hockey League for the Green Bay Gamblers where he scored a total of 54 points.

Who’s Out?

Boston University

The good thing about Boston University’s hockey team is that when they lose a handful of NHL prospects, they add just as many in next year’s freshman class.  Here is what the Terriers lost last season.

Boston College

It is extremely tough to maintain a good hockey team, especially if you lose your five leading scorers.  Austin Cangelosi, Matthew Gaudreau, Colin White, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Scott Savage all graduated or signed pro at the end of last season.

  • Cangelosi is with the New Jersey Devils AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils
  • Gaudreau is with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers
  • White signed an entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators
  • Fitzgerald was a 4th round selection of the Boston Bruins and is with their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins
  • Scott Savage is with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen

Strengths

 

Boston University

This team has a lot of talent on the ice and can score at will.  BU currently averages 34.2 shots per game with an average of three goals per game.  The Pioneer defenseman will be tested a lot during this game with a focus on a heavy forecheck from the Terriers.

The Pioneers need to stay away from the penalty box in this game because the Terriers power-play is lethal.  BU is currently 8-24 executing on 33% of their power-play opportunities.  A lot of that has to do with their body position in front of the net, courtesy of 6’5 240-pound Jordan Greenway.

Boston College

The Eagles have a phenomenal goaltender in Joseph Woll.  Although it seems like he’s not getting as much scoring support as last year, he can still take over games.  BC is also averaging 27 shots per game so the Pios will need to limit shots from high scoring areas for Tanner Jaillet.

BC captain Michael Kim was on of the most impressive defenseman I saw last year at Magness Arena.  He wasn’t the biggest guy but he could skate very well and was great at exiting his zone clean.

Weaknesses

 

Boston University

It’s hard to find any flaws in this team, but the Pioneers need to get into BU goaltender Jake Oettinger’s head.  Drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NHL draft by the Dallas Stars, Oettinger has all the talent in the word but he has been beatable this year especially on the power-play where he has already allowed 7 goals.

The terriers are also allowing an average of 32 shots from their opponents.  The memo from coach Montgonery should be for the Pioneers to get the puck in deep, win board battles, and shoot from anywhere.  This is the type of game that will be so close that the winner will most likely come out on top because of a lucky bounce or two.

Boston College

The Eagles are committing an average of 5.4 penalties per game and giving up an average of 31.2 shots per game to their opponents.  If the Pioneers play the way they did against Lake Superior State, Joseph Woll could be in for a long night.

Another weakness to consider is the Eagles power-play.  They are just 3-16, converting on just 18% of power-plays.  The Pioneers generally play a pretty clean game, but in case they get in penalty trouble their PK unit should be able to stop BC.

Who to watch

 

Boston University

#14 – F Bobo Carpenter – 5G, 3A

#21 – F Shane Bowers – 4G, 4A

#27 – F Brady Tkachuk – 4A

#7 – D Chad Krys – 4A

#29 – G Jake Oettinger – 3-2-1, 2.61 GAA, .916 SV%

Boston College

#5 – F Casey Fitzgerald – 2G,2A

#27 – F Graham McPhee – 2G, 2A

#4 – D Michael Kim – Team Captain, 11SOG

#31 – G Joseph Woll – 1-2-1, 2.71 GAA, .898 SV%

Prediction – Pioneers lose to BU, beat BC

This is a very difficult series to predict.  I think because the Eagles have lost so much talent from last year that it will be difficult for them to keep up with Pioneers.  But Friday night, the Terriers will want to make this a statement game.  There will be scouts galore at this game that is loaded with NHL talent, making every player wanting to play their best.

Both DU and BU have benefited from their freshman sticking around for another year and getting valuable experience in two very competitive divisions.  It’s very possible this could be a Frozen Four preview.  The keys for the Pioneers will be to play a simple game, get an A+ performance from Tanner Jaillet, and capitalize on any and all BU mistakes.  Henrik Borgstrom has been red hot coming into this series and this is his opportunity to show a huge college hockey market how elite his skills are.

I’m predicting the Pios go 1-1 this weekend, but hopefully we’re pleasantly surprised.

READ NEXT: JIM MONTGOMERY TALKS GREAT SATURDAY PERFORMANCE, NCHC OFFICIATING

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 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 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

Puck Swami: DU Athletic leadership change offers new Vice Chancellor possibilities

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 11.01.04 PM(Photo Credits: University of Denver (Grahame, Peck), Swarthmore College (Akotaobi), Tulane University (Macneill), St. Cloud St. University (Weems), Blacktop Colorado (Willis)

We’ve now had a few days to process the major change in athletic leadership coming our way as DU fans: DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes announced her retirement at the end of the 2017/18 school year.  While longtime DU Deputy Athletic Director Ron Grahame is taking over the athletic director’s day-to-day responsibilities immediately, DU also announced that a nationwide search would take place this year to ultimately fill the vice-chancellor’s position that Peg has filled so well for the last nearly 15 years. Continue reading Puck Swami: DU Athletic leadership change offers new Vice Chancellor possibilities

Will Butcher makes it official, signs with New Jersey

Photo credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils announced today that they have officially signed 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner and former University of Denver captain Will Butcher to a two-year entry-level contract. Butcher’s signing officially ends a drawn-out saga that saw the Colorado Avalanche, the team that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, lose out on the prized defenseman prospect. Continue reading Will Butcher makes it official, signs with New Jersey