Tag Archives: Hockey

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

DU to Host Free Pre-Game Party in Buffalo + TV Watch Parties Around the USA

The University of Denver is sponsoring a pre-game party in Buffalo, New York prior to Thursday’s NCAA Semi-Final between DU and the University of Massachusetts.  DU is also sponsoring free TV watch Parties in selected large cities around the nation:

Pre-game reception:
Buffalo, NY

TV Watch Parties:
Denver
Chicago
San Francisco
Portland, Ore.
Seattle
Los Angeles
San Diego
Phoenix
New York City
Boston,
Old Greenwich, Conn.
Philadelphia
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta

For more information on party times and city TV party locations, and to register to attend, please follow this link:

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

DU Takes Five of Six NCHC Points in Omaha, Clinches Home Ice for NCHC Playoffs

DU’s Colin Staub (#24 at left) battles in the UNO crease during DU’s five-point weekend in Omaha. Photo: Omaha World Herald

The Denver Pioneers got some solid results in the last full road weekend of the NCHC regular season, defeating the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4-1 on Friday night, and tying the Mavericks 3-3 on Saturday night, with a bonus standings point for an NCHC overtime 3-on-3 winning goal at Baxter Arena in Omaha. The win and tie extended DU’s undefeated streak against Omaha to 16 games, dating back to 2015.

The #6-ranked Pioneers (19-8-5 overall, 11-8-3 NCHC) were outshot (and often outplayed) in both games by a more desperate Omaha team (9-20-3), ranked #44 in Pairwise. That said, the Pioneers were able to take more advantage of their higher skill level on scoring chances to secure the five-point weekend, putting seven regulation goals behind Omaha netminder Evan Weninger, plus the extra NCHC overtime winner, over the two games. Continue reading DU Takes Five of Six NCHC Points in Omaha, Clinches Home Ice for NCHC Playoffs

Pioneers Squeeze-Out Road Split With Minnesota-Duluth Behind Cooley’s 1-0 Shutout

UMD  forward Nick Swaney (23) of Minnesota Duluth controls the puck near defenseman Ian Mitchell (15) of Denver during Friday’s game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. — Clint Austin /Duluth News

DULUTH, Minn. — DU Goaltender Devin Cooley returned to the Denver lineup after missing 10 games for an injury, just in time to turn away all 27 shots he faced from the fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs for a 1-0 shutout in Saturday’s second game of the two-game NCHC series, before over 6,400 fans at Amsoil Arena.

The No. #7 Pioneers were able to get just 16 shots on goal in the game, but were able to ride a single first-period goal from Slava Demin and held on to salvage an important split in a hostile road environment.

The Saturday night DU win over UMD avenged a 5-2 loss to the Bulldogs on Friday night, when DU was badly outplayed in the third period.

With the road victory, the Pioneers vaulted into fourth place in the National Pairwise ranking system, which mimics the process used to select teams for the NCAA tournament next month, and also moved the Pioneers into fourth place in the NCHC standings.

“I’m really proud of our guys’ effort and their resilience to be able to stick together and gut out a tough road win,” said DU Coach David Carle said after the game. “It hasn’t been easy as of late. We’ve been in a lot of wars and a lot of low scoring games. We haven’t had success on the road and to be able to come into this building is a feather in our cap.”

The Pioneers lone marker of the game came at the 8:04 mark of the first period, when DU’s Emilio Peterson passed the puck to Slava Demin, who launched a 50-foot point shot through traffic to beat UMD net minder Hunter Shepard for Demin’s fourth goal of the season.

The Pioneers then survived a furious Minnesota-Duluth comeback when the Bulldogs outshot Denver 13-2 in the third period, but Cooley remained steadfast for his third shutout of the season as the Pioneers won only their second road conference game of the season. Cooley’s shutout was his second over UMD this season, with the first one coming back in November at Magness Arena in Denver.

The Pioneers (16-7-4, 8-7-2-2) will face Miami (Ohio) next weekend in a two game series at Magness Arena.

 

 

 

Trevor Moore Scores First NHL Goal and it’s a Beauty

They don’t come much prettier for an NHL first goal, and former Denver Pioneer Trevor Moore made himself a very memorable moment on January 5, 2019.

In his fifth NHL game, playing limited minutes on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fourth line, Moore took a puck deep in his own zone, charged up the boards with a capacity Saturday night crowd of 19,000+ home crowd in Toronto roaring in his ears, with millions more nationwide watching on “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast.

Moore blew by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Benoit Puliot and then cruised in alone on Jacob Markstrom, one of the better goalies in the NHL. Moore fired the puck five-hole between Markstrom’s pads for a goal that brought the Toronto crowd to its feet.

For an undrafted California-to-DU player who has spent the last two years working his butt off in the AHL with his high work ethic (and no hype) to make it to the NHL, this was a moment that the knowledgeable fans of Toronto really appreciated.  Watch the whole 80 second video at full size and crank up your sound  to enjoy this moment – look into his eyes and just imagine how living your childhood hockey dream must feel…Bravo Trevor!

Pioneers, Cooley Shutout No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 2-0

Photo courtesy of DenverPioneers.com

In a highly anticipated match up in college hockey, the Denver Pioneers and Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs didn’t disappoint fans who were in attendance at Magness Arena Friday night.  Although the game started a bit slow, the second and third periods resembled a nail-biting playoff game.

It was expected that the last two National Champions would put up some offense, but it was a tightly checked game.  Let’s get right into it.

First period

The game started on a bad note for the Pioneers when Brett Stapley checked Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich awkwardly into the boards just 40 seconds into the 1st period.  After review, it was determined that it was a major penalty and Stapley was ejected from the game.  But this was far from the last penalty called in the first period.  Duluth had their own major boarding call but Louie Roehl was not ejected.  There was a total of eight penalties called in the first 20 minutes of the game between both teams.

There seemed to be no control of the puck by either team throughout the period.  Pucks were being chipped in deep and there was little space to skate.  The Pioneers had a few good chances including a breakaway by Cole Guttman and an odd man rush by Colin Staub and Jakko Heikkinen, but Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard kept everything out of the net.

The Bulldogs defense didn’t let many pucks through all night.  They held the Pioneers to just two shots on goal in the first period.  Led by St. Louis Blues 2018 2nd-round pick Scott Perunovich, the Bulldogs played a low risk game by chipping pucks out of their zone and moving it quickly up the ice out of danger.

The period ended with Duluth leading in shots 7-2.

Second period

The pace started to pick up in the second period.  It seemed like Duluth skated even harder when they were on the penalty kill.  But halfway through the period, the Pioneers went on the powerplay and Ian Mitchell finally got the Pioneers on the board.

After the goal, Duluth started putting the pressure on.  The Pioneers were in prevent mode, shooting pucks off the glass just to keep it out of their zone.  The Bulldogs had several chances, shooting from almost everywhere on the ice.

Devin Cooley stood tall and made some very difficult saves.  After the end of the second, the Bulldogs put 25 shots on Cooley but with no goals.  That’s a pretty significant feat for a backup goaltender to shutout the No. 1 team in the country through two periods.

Third period

In the third period, Duluth came even harder.  They put on another 13 shots on Devin Cooley who had to make save after save to keep the Pioneers in the game.  He was great positionally and really saw the puck well.

David Carle understood what it meant to host the top team in the nation and be up by one goal going into the 3rd period.  He started mixing up lines in the second half of the game, putting a huge emphasis on defense.  The Pioneers got the puck deep and began cycling deep in Duluth’s zone to kill the clock.

We saw several close plays right in front of the Pioneers net, but players were sacrificing their bodies left and right to keep the puck out.  In the last few minutes of the game, Duluth pulled their goalie and put a lot of pressure on the Pioneers.  But with 36 seconds left in the game, Jarid Lukosevicius scored an empty net goal to seal the game.

What we learned

This game was huge for the Pioneers.  It had to be difficult coming home after being swept by the St. Cloud State Huskies, but David Carle had his players focused on what was in front of them.  The Pioneers skated hard and battled through adversity in the form of a ton of penalties.  They didn’t get many shots on net, but they made the best of what they were given.  In games like these, you need your best players to step up, and Ian Mitchell did just that.

Up next

The Pioneers and Bulldogs play again Saturday night in what will be another exciting game.  The Bulldogs can’t be happy after their long winning streak was broken by the Pioneers, and there is no question they will come out hard tomorrow.  The Pioneers will need to do a better job suppressing shots and getting better control of the puck.  Both teams forechecked extremely well so moving the puck quickly will be important.  The Pios will have to shoot more tomorrow night if they want a chance at sweeping the Bulldogs.

DU Men’s Soccer Selected to Host NCAA Tourney Pod, will face Air Force or Central Arkansas this Sunday

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Andre Shinyashiki (#9), who leads the nation in goals with 28, will lead DU into the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

The University of Denver Men’s Soccer team has been not only selected for the NCAA tournament, but rewarded with a #15 seed, a bye in the first round, and will host the winner of Air Force and Central Arkansas at DU on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm MT. 

If the Pioneers should win that home game, they will face the winner of #2 seed Indiana University’s pod of Indiana, University of Connecticut or the University of Rhode Island in the third round.   The full NCAA bracket is here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2018

There was certainly some concern last night that DU might not get to host an NCAA tourney game this season, as its RPI had fallen to #17 on the evening of tournament selection (only 16 teams are seeded, the other 32 at-large teams play each other for the right to advance to one of the 16 seeded home sites), but fortunately for DU, the NCAA tournament committee did not use straight RPI to seed the tournament.

In looking ahead, Air Force, with an at large bid, is the far better of the two teams (RPI#26) when compared with Central Arkansas (#67). However, Air Force is not playing well right now, having lost its last two games to Grand Canyon (#53 RPI).  That said, Air Force being only an hour from the DU campus would likely bring more fans to DU for the game than Central Arkansas, the Champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.

For the Pioneers, it is likely that Sunday’s game will be the last home field opportunity to watch Senior Andre Shinyashiki play for DU.  Shinyashiki’s 28 goals this season leads the nation by wide margin, and he may be enjoying the finest season ever for a DU athlete in any sport.  He is one of the favorites for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s national equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football or the Hobey Baker award in college hockey.  Should Andre win that award, he could be considered DU’s finest athlete in the modern era, given that there are only 60 teams playing D-I hockey, where DU has two Hobey Baker Winners, Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017, the only two DU team sports athletes to win a national MVP trophy. Since there are 206 teams playing D-I soccer, Shinyshiki’s achievement would be arguably greater than Carle or Butcher.  DU has also had individual NCAA D-I champions in gymnastics (Nina McGee in 2016), swimming (Jack Kelso in 1962) and many in skiing over the years, but it could be argued that individual national MVP awards in team sports are greater achievements, since there are opponents directly trying to physically stop an athlete from achieving them, versus individual sports where the clock or judges’ scoring determines win or loss status.

While Shinyashiki’s achievements are spectacular this year, detractors argue that most of his goals have come against lower level opponents, and that against top-25 teams, Andre’s goal scoring is much rarer. Let’s hope Andre and DU score more goals in the coming weeks, and that DU can advance deep into the tournament.

In any event, all DU fans should come to the soccer game this Sunday to cheer on Andre and the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament.

Pios Roar Back from 3-0 Deficit to Tie UAF 3-3, on Lancaster’s goal in Final Minute

44442114_1967476963290813_3960080458183606272_oIn college hockey, fans should never leave a game early, as you just never know what you might miss. Denver graduate transfer Les Lancaster’s blast from the top of the left face-off circle found its way through traffic and into the Alaska Fairbanks net with just 35 seconds left in regulation time to complete a three-goal comeback for #9 Denver to tie the UAF Nanooks, 3-3.

While the tie kept DU undefeated at 3-0-1 on the young season, it was game where UAF probably deserved a better fate, as the Nanooks had mostly out-worked, out-hustled and outscored the Pioneers for most of the first two periods of the game, building a 3-0 lead on DU’s ice.

“Our guys didn’t give up in the third period,” said DU Coach David Carle in the postgame release. “It was nice to see them not give up. It was a gutsy effort to get the tie and get it to overtime. We’re certainly not happy with the result, but Fairbanks played a really good game and we were fortunate to get it tied up and get it to overtime.”

Indeed, the final two goals of the DU comeback were scored in the final two minutes of regulation with the goalie pulled for the extra skater, as DU’s Cole Guttman camped out down low to score on a cross-crease feed to make the game 3-2 with 1:52 left, setting the stage for Lancaster’s game-tying goal, as the ensuing five-minute overtime ended scoreless.

Quite honestly, DU came out painfully flat for the first 35 minutes of the game as the Nanooks built a 3-0 lead that lasted well into the second period, on goals by Kylar Hope, Ryker Leer, and Colton Leiter, the latter two coming on the power play.

The Pioneers were able to cut the UAF lead to 3-1 on a Jarid Lukosevicius rebound goal at 6:45 of the second, but after that, Tyson’s McLellan’s five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding stalled DU’s momentum. DU had also suffered an additional five minute major penalty in the first when Ryan Barrow was sent off for boarding, emblematic of a young team taking too many penalties.

DU will have the next week off, and will open NCHC league play against Western Michigan on Nov. 2.

NOTES: The game was played before 4, 314 fans at Magness Arena, one of whom was Golden State Warrior star Steph Curry, who was in town to play the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Curry had earlier addressed the DU basketball team after the Warriors had practiced at DU on Saturday afternoon….DU has added a third goalie to the roster while projected starter Filip Larsson rehabs a lower-body injury that may keep him out until Christmas or longer. Bryan Sharp, a freshman from British Columbia, who came to DU to play on the DU Club Hockey team, will wear #40.  He played junior hockey in the NAHL.

 

 

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