Tag Archives: Denver Pioneers

Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan

#17 DU shocked 7th-ranked Michigan in a 9-5 second round upset in the NCAA Tournament May 12. Photo: DU

The 17th-ranked Denver Pioneers (16-3) women’s lacrosse team made school history on May 12, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich., exacting a revenge upset on the #7th-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines (16-4) , 9-5 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. DU now advances to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history, and will play the top-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins on May 18 at 5pm MT for a trip to the NCAA final four.

Michigan had beaten Denver 12-10 at DU’s Barton Stadium earlier this season, and the Pioneers were in no mood to allow Michigan to win again.

Quintin Hoch-Bullen, a sophomore attacker from Orillia, Ontario, led the Crimson and Gold with a five-goal performance, firing in two goals in the first half and adding three more in the second half. Katherine Fischer held down the Denver defense, totaling four caused turnovers and limiting the Wolverines to just five goals in a ferocious defensive contest.

“This is a very special moment for our team,” said DU head coach Liza Kelly. “To be able to advance to the quarterfinals, with this group of girls, is such an unbelievable experience. They have worked so hard all season long, and I’m excited to see what comes next in our journey.”

Elizabeth Behrins, Eliza Radochonski, Bea Behrins and Hannah Liddy all contributed one goal each to help lead the Pioneers past the Wolverines.

The defense was in full force all game, with 14 Pioneers tallying at least one ground ball, and three contributing to Denver’s nine draw controls. Senior Audrey Schreck totaled five draws and Fischer accumulated four ground balls to lead the Crimson and Gold.

DU’s standout goalie, Carson Gregg spent all 60 minute in net, totaling six saves for the win.

The Crimson and Gold dominated Michigan in most statistical categories, accumulating 29 shots, 23 ground balls, nine draws, six saves and going a perfect 19-19 on clears. The Wolverines posted 19 shots, 12 ground balls, seven draws, 11 saves and went 20-22 on clears.

A scoreless first 18 minutes was broken by Hoch-Bullen with 12:12 remaining the in first half. Bea Behrins followed four minutes later to put the Pioneers at a 2-0 lead, but Michigan scored its first of the game less than a minute later. Hoch-Bullen closed out the half with a goal on the free position, putting the Pioneers up 3-1 heading into halftime, the lowest scoring half this season for DU.

Hoch-Bullen was once again the first to score in the second half, bringing Denver to a 4-1 lead with 25 minutes remaining in the game. Radochonski followed suit with her first goal of the game at the 23-minute mark. Ten minutes later Elizabeth Behrins scored her first with a shot to the top right shelf right past the Michigan goalie. Less than a minute later, the Wolverines responded, narrowing Denver’s lead to three at 6-3. Liddy scored her 15th goal of the season off a free position to increase the Crimson and Gold’s lead to four, followed by another goal from Hoch-Bullen. The Wolverines posted two more before the final whistle, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback, leaving the Pioneers with a 9-5 victory.

The Pioneers will next travel to College Park, Maryland for yet another revenge showdown on May 18  with the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins, who crushed the Pioneers in last year’s NCAA tournament second round in College Park, 15-4. DU has never beaten Maryland in the three all-time games between the programs. If DU were to upset Maryland next week, it would be one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history. Maryland is 19-1 this season and is the best team in the country, destroying #15th ranked Stony Brook, 17-8 in its second round game on May 12.

The Terps are coached by Cathy Nelson Reese, who was DU’s head coach from 2004 to 2006, before becoming Maryland’s head coach in 2007, her alma mater.  Reese has since won four NCAA titles at Maryland.

Some 10 current Pioneers and DU head coach Liza Kelly also hail from the Old Line State, marking a homecoming for them, as well as four more DU players from nearby Virginia and several more players and staffers also from the East Coast, making for a likely good visiting crowd of DU parents and friends in Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium next week.


Radochonski Powers Denver to 11-10 OT Upset of USC Trojans in NCAA First Round

Eliza Radochonski (#26 at center) was the DU hero, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals for Denver in a 11-10 NCAA first round overtime upset over USC. Photo: University of Denver

The #17th-ranked University of Denver women’s lacrosse team upset the #13th-ranked University of Southern California, 11-10 in a dramatic overtime finish in Ann Arbor, Mich. to advance to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

“I’m really proud of our fight today,” said DU head coach Liza Kelly after the game. “This is what we’ve been preparing for all year, and I think we came out ready to fight for that [NCAA Second Round] spot on Sunday.”

The late-game drama in Ann Arbor on Friday night was simply incredible.

Indeed the Pioneers, who had played very well in building a commanding 8-4 second half lead over USC, watched in horror as their lead suddenly evaporated as the Trojans bore down and took over the game in the middle portion of the second half.

USC reeled-off six second-half goals as the women of Troy grabbed a 10-9 lead into the final minutes of regulation time. USC looked very poised to win and advance, and the Pioneers’ awesome season was slipping away fast under the Trojan momentum…

But the Pioneers were determined not to let USC hold on. Indeed, Georgetown had come back on the Pioneers to win the Big East final in Milwaukee, Wis. in overtime last week, and the Pios did not want their season to end on a similar bitter note on this Ann Arbor night.

This time, DU dug-in and had their hero cued and ready…  

Sophomore attack Eliza Radochonski became the hero by the force of her dominant will in the final minutes of the game, putting the Pioneers’ whole season on her own proverbial back as she thundered into the offensive zone with about 4:40 left in regulation.  Taking a dangerous pass from DU’s Julia Feiss 10 feet outside the USC net with two Trojan defenders draped in her face and making any shot on net almost impossible, Radochonski had other, more radical ideas. She suddenly turned away from the goal (and the USC defenders) and fired a trick shot backwards over her own shoulder and into the high corner of the USC net to tie the game, 10-10 in highlight-reel fashion.  The Pioneers were so inspired by Radochonski’s goal that they held on for the rest of regulation time, forcing the game into overtime.

Then soon into the sudden-death extra frame, Radochonski moved into DU legend territory by striking again with the overtime-winner on a bouncing shot from 15 feet out just 1:30 into the OT, after a nice pass from DU’s Kendra Lanuza.  The ball came to rest in the back of the USC net behind dejected Trojan netminder Riley Hertford as the DU players swarmed “Rado” in elated victory in a swirling pile of Crimson jerseys. TheTrojans fell stunned to the turf, their season over.

Radochonsky (#26) after her game-winning goal sent Denver to the NCAA Second Round. Photo: DU

The Pioneers thus improved to 15-3 on the season and head to the second round for the fourth time in program history, and will have a chance to get revenge on the University of Michigan on Sunday at 10 am MT in a second round game. The Wolverines beat DU in Denver earlier this season in a game that the Pioneers will well remember.

Radochonski led the Pioneers with three goals in the USC contest, on top of earning her 100th career point.

Following Radochonski’s hat trick, Bea Behrins, Julia Feiss and Kendra Lanuza all posted two goals against the Trojans. Elizabeth Behrins and Quintin Hoch-Bullen tallied one apiece.

Radochonski and Lanuza led the team with five points each.

USC was led by Hope Anhut, Izzy McMahon and Kaeli Huff, who each had three-point efforts for the Trojans, who ended the season as Pac-12 Champions.

Maddie Baum won four draw controls for Denver, Laura Milleker earned a career-high three draws and Hayden Dean, Audrey Schreck and Hoch-Bullen each had one.

Eight Pioneers caused at least one turnover against USC, Katherine Fischer led the team with two in the contest.

Carson Gregg spent 51 minutes in the DU net and totaled six saves. Amelia Cole wrapped up the final nine minutes in net, including the two minutes of overtime, and had one save.

This marks as the fourth time (2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019) the Crimson and Gold will advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, winning the first round game in all four trips. Last season the Pioneers defeated High Point in the first round 19-10, but fell to Maryland 15-4 in the second round on May 13.

The Pioneers have never won an NCAA second round game, and beating Michigan would be the highest point in the history of the DU program.

Denver Thumps Providence Friars, 14-8 to Seal Big East Tourney Berth

DU goalie Cole French (at left) made six saves in his first start as a Pioneer. Photo: University of Denver

The 12th ranked Denver Pioneers (8-4, 3-1 Big East) men’s lacrosse team clinched a berth in the Big East Tournament on Senior Day, defeating Providence College (6-8, 2-2 Big East),14-8 before a sellout crowd of 2,187 at Barton Stadium on April 20.

“We had to keep shooting,” said DU coach Bill Tierney after the game today. “Everyone battled and we had a lot of guys score today…[Providence] is big, tough and extremely well-coached. We’re thrilled to get out of this one [with a win]…We [honored our seniors] one of the winningest senior classes in the country and they keep our winning culture and imparted that culture on the younger guys… We’re now playing for a [share of] a regular season championship, and we’ll have our hands full in Milwaukee [with Marquette] on Friday night.”  Continue reading Denver Thumps Providence Friars, 14-8 to Seal Big East Tourney Berth

Ian Mitchell Returning to DU for Junior Year

Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell plans to return to Denver for his junior year/ Photo: DU

Denver Pioneer hockey defenseman and alternate captain Ian Mitchell will return for his junior year in the Pioneers’ 70th anniversary season, Mitchell announced on Wednesday. Mitchell’s decision to return ended speculation that second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks would end his college career early to sign an NHL contract.

“In the past few days since our season ended, I have had the chance to reflect on the year and the season our team had,” Mitchell, a Calahoo, Alberta native, said in a DU  press release. “It became clear to me during that time that I did not feel ready mentally or physically to leave Denver. I believe this is the best place for me to become a better hockey player and as a team we have an opportunity to do something very special next year. I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for being so supportive and respectful of my decision to remain in school and continue my development. I am looking forward to next season.”

Mitchell has eight goals, 49 assists and 32 penalty minutes through 80 career games with the Pioneers. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect registered six goals, 21 assists and 18 penalty minutes through 39 games during the 2018-19 season, leading Denver defensemen in points and leading all Pioneer skaters with 12 power-play points and 66 blocked shots to earn Second-Team All-NCHC honors. In January, Mitchell represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship where he posted one goal and two assists in five games.

Mitchell is a two-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team and a two-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. Prior to coming to Denver, Mitchell tallied 14 goals and 50 assists in 109 games with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) from 2015-17. He represented Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and 2015 Winter Games.

DU Goaltending: Filip Larsson Out, Magnus Chrona In

Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Pick Magnus Chrona is expected to join DU Hockey next season. Photo: Emily Rinesse

The University of Denver will deliver perhaps the slick tick-tack-toe goaltending move of the 2019 off-season. Out is Filip Larsson, the outstanding Swedish freshman goaltender for DU, who has signed a three-year entry level NHL contract on Monday, April 15th with the Detroit Red Wings, the team that drafted him in the sixth round  of the 2016 NHL Draft.  At DU, Larsson, 20, teamed with Devin Cooley to form one of the best goaltender tandems in College Hockey, leading Denver to the 2019 NCAA Frozen Four.

Without missing a beat, sources close to the DU program told LetsGoDU that the program anticipated Larsson’s early NHL signing and has lined up a replacement in the pipeline in 2018 5th-round Tampa Bay Lightning draftee, Magnus Chrona. He played in Northern Sweden for Skellefteå AIK J20 in the Swedish SuperElite Junior League. Outside one of the best names in hockey, the Pioneers landed the outstanding 6’4″, 209-lb Chrona, who also attended Tampa Bay’s Development Camp last year.  While  Chrona hasn’t yet officially signed with DU, it appears the Pioneers won’t miss a beat with the transition to next season. Continue reading DU Goaltending: Filip Larsson Out, Magnus Chrona In

Pioneer Offense Explodes for Tierney’s 400th Career Victory, 16-9 over Georgetown

The DU team applauds coach Bill Tierney (center, red jacket) for his 400th career victory after DU’s 16-9 win over Georgetown at Barton Stadium (Photo: Jason Evans)

After losing a one-goal heartbreaker in DU coach Bill Tierney’s emotional return to Princeton University last Tuesday, the #9-ranked Denver Pioneers desperately wanted to get head coach Bill Tierney his 400th win as a head coach on Saturday, March 30th.

Georgetown, the 19th ranked team in the nation and a team that beat DU 8-3 in last year’s Big East Tournament, was the big obstacle in front of Denver.

But the Pioneers left no doubts, exploding for a season-high 10 first-half goals and cruised to a 16-9 victory over Georgetown for the Pioneers’ most complete win of the season.

The win also guaranteed the 400th career victory in the 35-year head coaching career of coach Bill Tierney.  Tierney now joins his good friend, Duke Head Coach John Danowski, as the only two men in the history of Division One lacrosse to reach that 400 coaching win milestone.

The Pioneers (6-3) took the field in charged-up state of mind on this cold and snowy Barton Stadium morning, hooting and hollering more than usual in the warm-up – and that emotional advantage, coupled with a solid game plan on both sides of the ball, led to a 16-goal offensive output against a ranked team. This was the kind of potent offense DU fans were waiting for this season for a very solid opening win in Big East Conference play.

“Coming out of that game [last Tuesday] at Princeton, we were down-and-out,” said Coach Tierney after the win. “But the guys responded to coaching really well [this week] and the [assistant coaches} coaches put together a great game plan, and the [DU] players played extremely well today…When you lose a game [at Princeton] that you feel you could have won…you gotta get the next one – you’re so desperate…I’m proud of the guys today.”

The Pioneers responded to the desperation with crisp offensive execution, with very balanced scoring on the day, with five different Pioneers scoring multiple goals. Senior Austin French topped the DU scoresheet with a four-goal, two assist day, followed by hat tricks from Ethan Walker (3g 2a) and Colton Jackson (3g, 1a), and supplemented by two-goal performances by Teddy Sullivan and Jack Hanna. The Pioneers scoring machine was fed by a strong performance at the face-off X (Brett Boos went 17-26 on the day), a confident clearing effort (16-18) and good ball control, giving up only eight turnovers. DU led 10-5 at the half and never looked back.

“[DU Associate Head Coach] Matt Brown had a good game plan and the [team] followed it.” said Tierney. “We only only had one turnover in the first half…and the [Georgetown] goalie was playing well. We said to the guys in the locker room ‘Keep shooting. Don’t be afraid to shoot, don’t let your hands get too tight, just keep shooting’ and they [goals] will eventually fall – [we] got a bunch of shots and they did [fall] .”

Indeed, Georgetown goalie Owen McElroy was heroic for the Hoyas in the net, making 16 saves in a losing effort.

Denver also played solid defense on the day, holding a strong Georgetown offense, averaging 13+ goals per game to only nine goals.  DU’s star close defenseman Dylan Gaines had an excellent outing, containing Georgetown’s star attackman, Senior Daniel Buccaro, to only two goals in the game, while DU goalie Alex Ready chipped in with 12 saves to get the Pioneer victory.

DU will play #20th ranked Villanova Wildcats next Saturday at 3:30 pm MT in the second Big East game for the Pioneers.

Our thanks to Jason Evans for his photo and interview of Coach Tierney after the game.

Princeton Spoils Tierney’s Return in Wild, 14-13 upset over Denver

DU coach Bill Tierney (left) congratulates Princeton coach Matt Madalon after the wild 14-13 Princeton upset over Denver: Photo: Princeton University/Shelly Szwast

It was supposed to be a special homecoming to Princeton, New Jersey for DU lacrosse coaching legend Bill Tierney, but the Princeton Tigers had other ideas, winning a wild and emotional game full of scoring and lightning-fast counter punches over #8th ranked Denver, 14-13.

Tierney, who spent 22 years coaching the PrincetonTigers to six national titles before jumping to coach Denver in 2009, had to be excited to bring his DU Pioneers to Princeton for the first time ever, gunning for his 400th career win on national TV. Tierney returned to his coaching roots at Sherrerd Field Tuesday afternoon with admittedly mixed emotions, and the significance of the game could be heard in a pregame interview as Tierney’s voice cracked with emotion as he reminisced about his Princeton past. The interview was less about his six national championships and more about the people he met along the way. Continue reading Princeton Spoils Tierney’s Return in Wild, 14-13 upset over Denver

Denver to Face Ohio State in NCAA Regional Hockey Rematch

DU faces Ohio State in the West Regional, a rematch of last year’s DU NCAA 5-1 loss to the Buckeyes. Photo: DU athletics.

As expected, the NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Committee assigned the eighth-seeded University of Denver Pioneers with a trip to the West Regional in Fargo, North Dakota, where DU will host a first-round rematch with ninth-seeded Ohio State University from the Big 10, the school that ended DU’s 2018 season with a 5-1 NCAA second round regional drubbing in Allentown, Pa.  

DU, the third-place team in the NCHC, will face OSU at 2 pm MT on Friday, March 29th .  The game can be seen live on ESPNU. As the eighth-seed, DU will be the home team in Fargo and will have last line change. Continue reading Denver to Face Ohio State in NCAA Regional Hockey Rematch

Pioneers’ slumping offense threatens postseason hockey hopes

Denver’s Jarid Lukosevicius leads the nation in game-winning goals Photo: Carol Mackay, University of Denver

It’s not a secret.

The #7 University of Denver hockey team’s offensive production has slumped, from scoring 3.5 goals per game in first 18 games of the season to 2.0 goals per game in the last 16 games (all of the last 16 were vs. NCHC opponents).  In short, this is a bad time of year to be slumping, and the recent loss of the Gold Pan to rival Colorado College, getting swept with only a single goal to show for last weekend’s nearly 60 DU shots-on-goal, has brought the current DU offensive problems into high relief. Continue reading Pioneers’ slumping offense threatens postseason hockey hopes

Pioneer Lacrosse French-Fries North Carolina, 12-10 

DU ruined the debut of North Carolina’s new lacrosse stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. Photo: University of Denver

Senior attackman Austin French, who missed DU’s first four games of the season due to upper body injury, came back to the DU starting lineup with a vengeance to lift the eighth-ranked Pioneers (4-1) to 12-10 road victory over [15/20] North Carolina Tar Heels . The Pioneer road win ruined the christening of UNC’s brand new 4,000-seat Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday morning, Mar. 2.

French tied his career-high with a six point overall performance, and set a new career-high with five assists in the game to lead Denver. His ball distribution skills are critical to the flow of Denver’s offensive attack, and the Californian’s return to the lineup provided just the tonic DU needed to secure its first road win of the season. Continue reading Pioneer Lacrosse French-Fries North Carolina, 12-10