Tag Archives: NCHC

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.

Denver Hockey Weekend Preview: Air Force & Alabama-Huntsville

Photo courtesy of DenverPioneers.com

The Denver Pioneers start the 2018-19 season on the road with a tough game against the Air Force Falcons

Welcome back Pioneers fans!  After a long summer, college hockey is finally back and it couldn’t have come any sooner.  There have been several questions surrounding the Denver Pioneers this offseason regarding their new leadership behind the bench and on the ice, but only time will tell how the young group transitions.

In the first USCHO poll of the season, the Pioneers are ranked #10 in the country.  They are joined in the top 20 by fellow NCHC members #3 Minnesota-Duluth, #5 St. Cloud State, #13 North Dakota, and #18 Western Michigan.  It’s safe to say the NCHC will be uber-competitive yet again this year. Continue reading Denver Hockey Weekend Preview: Air Force & Alabama-Huntsville

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: 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

Will Butcher to wait until August to sign NHL deal, will test free agency

Photo credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Our friends at BSN Denver have reported that 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher has decided to wait until August 15th, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, to sign with an NHL team. DU’s prized defenseman and captain for the 2016-17 National Championship winning team was drafted by Denver’s own Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Continue reading Will Butcher to wait until August to sign NHL deal, will test free agency

Denver hockey roster update: 2017-18 Pioneers poised to dominate once again

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

If you thought that the University of Denver hockey team’s run to their eighth national title a few months ago was a wild ride, come this October, buckle up. The 2017-18 Pioneers might be even better than the 2017 National Champions. Crazy? Sure. Implausible? Absolutely not. Continue reading Denver hockey roster update: 2017-18 Pioneers poised to dominate once again

More than just some good jokes: DU Whiteboard redefining Denver’s school spirit and passion

Every great student section in college hockey has something unique that makes it great. Whether it’s a creative chant or throwing a fish on the ice after a goal, each and every one of them has something different. Until the 2016-17 season, Denver lacked it. Sure, when CC and North Dakota came to town, the students showed up in force, but that was it. This year, though, despite the on-campus turmoil surrounding what the definition of acceptable school spirit is, Denver’s student section finally found that bit of uniqueness, that which set them apart: the DU Whiteboard. Continue reading More than just some good jokes: DU Whiteboard redefining Denver’s school spirit and passion

Denver Hockey releases 2017-18 regular season schedule

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

In case you missed it, the University of Denver hockey program officially announced its full regular season schedule for their 2017-18 campaign. The defending national champions will be hoping for a repeat performance next season to tie Michigan for the most all-time national titles with nine. Continue reading Denver Hockey releases 2017-18 regular season schedule

Lukosevicius and Jaillet shine as Denver wins eighth National Title

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

CHICAGO – They did it. The University of Denver Pioneers are back on top of the college hockey world. Sophomore forward Jarid Lukosevicius scored a second period hat trick and junior goalie Tanner Jaillet made 38 saves as the Pioneers beat the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs 3-2 in the National Championship Game at the United Center. Continue reading Lukosevicius and Jaillet shine as Denver wins eighth National Title

Tanner Jaillet wins Mike Richter Award, named college hockey’s best goaltender

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

CHICAGO – After an outstanding junior season, one that will end tomorrow night in the National Championship Game, University of Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet has been named the 2017 recipient of the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the country’s best goaltender. Jaillet is the first DU goaltender to win the award. Continue reading Tanner Jaillet wins Mike Richter Award, named college hockey’s best goaltender