Saturday, April 2, 2016

Frozen Four Preview: Denver

In the second semifinal, the Denver Pioneers play against North Dakota Fighting Hawks. This semifinal is an all NCHC affair. The Denver Pioneers have not been to the Frozen Four since 2005.  I was at the game it was in Columbus, OH, and the Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the Frozen Four. I have the Frozen Four program framed on the wall, and I used to have a picture of the team celebrating on the wall, as well.  It looked a little tacky because I ripped it out of ESPN the magazine.  It was Denver's second championship in a row. Now the Pioneers are back for more, watch out Tampa!

The University of Denver was found in 1864.  It was originally founded as a Methodist institution but renamed University of Denver in 1880.  It was called Colorado Seminary and that is still the legal name of DU.  Also, the school was downtown Denver but was moved to land donated by a potato farmer, Rufus Clark, about 7 miles south of the city.  The school enrolls about 5,600 undergrads and 6,100 postgrads.  It is the only school in the Frozen Four this year, that has more postgrad students than undergrad students.
Magness Arena

The Pioneers play at Magness Arena.  Named after Bob Magness, a cable TV pioneer, that donated $10 million towards the construction of the building.  It was built from 1997 to 1999 and is part of the sports complex at the University of Denver.  The grand opening for the building was September 15, 1999. The capacity is listed at 6,315 for hockey.  The largest hockey crowd on record is 6,026; the Pioneers hosted Colorado College.  The building is shared by the basketball and hockey programs. On site is the Williams Tower, a 215 foot tower, that houses a 65 bell carillon.

The Pioneers started their season off against the Air Force in home and home series.  They lost the first game 5-4 in OT.  Denver bounced back in the second game with a 3-1 victory.  Next, they welcomed the Michigan State Spartans to Denver.  The Pioneers swept the Spartans 4-2 and 3-0.

After sweeping Michigan State, DU headed east.  They lost to Boston College 4-3.  Next, they played the Terriers of Boston University.  It was another loss, 5-4, but it was in overtime.

The Pioneers opened NCHC play with a home and home series against Colorado College.  DU got back to their winning ways with a sweep of Colorado College, 5-3 and 3-1.  NCHC play continued for Denver as they traveled to Minnesota Duluth.  They won the first game 3-0 but lost the second game in a shootout.

The Pioneers squeezed in a series against Wisconsin next in Madison.  The two teams skated to a 3-3 OT tie in the first game, and Denver handily won the second game 6-2. 

The road trip continued as DU made it way to Grand Forks to face North Dakota.  Things did not go so well for the Pioneers, getting beat badly 5-1 and 4-0 against the Fighting Hawks.  The woes continued for Denver as they opened a series against St. Cloud State.  The Huskies beat the Pioneers 5-2 and 6-2.

DU inched closer to a "W" with a pair of OT ties with Notre Dame.  The score of the first game was 1-1 and the second was 2-2.

Things got back on track for Denver with a trip to Omaha.  The Pioneers took the first game 3-0 and the second game 4-3.  The Pioneers success continued with a win over Western Michigan, 5-3.  In the second game against Western Michigan, Denver lost in a shootout.

The shootout loss was just a small bump in the road as DU took on Minnesota Duluth at home.  The Pioneers took the first game 3-2 and the second game 2-1 for the sweep.

After a home stand, Denver was on the road against Miami.  They lost the first game 3-1 but won the second game 5-3.  I was at the second game and you could tell Denver was the better team.  Miami looked a little bit tired during the game.  The Pioneers capitalized and got the split in the series.

Next, Denver got revenge on North Dakota for an early season sweep.  The Pioneers returned the favor with a sweep of their own, 6-4 and 4-1.  The sweeping continued as Denver played Colorado College, for the second time.  The Pioneers won both games 4-1, including the second game which was played outside.

Denver closed out the regular season with a couple of more sweeps.  First, in Kalamazoo, the Pioneers swept the Broncos, 5-1 and 4-1.  DU returned home to sweep Nebraska-Omaha 3-0 and 2-1.  Since the win at Miami, Denver had a 9 game winning streak.

The Pioneers opened the NCHC tournament against a team they just swept Nebraska-Omaha.  The first game Denver easily won 5-2 but the second game was a 4-3 double overtime thriller.  Denver advanced to play St. Cloud State.  St. Cloud won the game 4-2 and went on to win the tournament.  The Pioneers settled (no pun intended) for a 1-1 OT tie against North Dakota in the third place game.

DU was the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the NCAA tournament.  They exploded for seven goals and avenged a loss against Boston University in the first round.  In the second round, Denver played a tough Ferris State team.  It took a couple of quick goals in the third period to break a 3-3 tie, and put the Pioneers up for good in a 6-3 victory.  They will face North Dakota, Thursday, Apirl 7th at 8:30 PM.  It will be the sixth meeting between the two schools this year. Goodnight and tip your bartenders!

No comments:

Post a Comment