Tuesday, March 24, 2009

West #1: Denver

University of Denver Pioneers

1 seed vs. Miami, West Regional (Minneapolis, MN)
4:30 CDT, Friday, March 27, ESPN2
Record: 23-11-5
Coach: George Gwozdecky (496-340-67)

Scoring Summary:
3.33 2.36 +0.97

Leading Scorers:
# Player G-A--Pts
16 Anthony Maiani 11-30--41
9 Rhett Rakhshani 15-21--36
28 Patrick Wiercioch 12-21--33

# Player Sv % GAA W-L-T
1 Marc Cheverie .923 2.30 23-11-5

Stats via CollegeHockeyNews.com

I don't know exactly what to make of Denver. The only game I've seen them play was a home game against Alaska-Anchorage that went to overtime. The Seawolves tied the game on a shorthanded goal with 2:27 left in the game, then won it in the waning seconds of OT when Denver basically stopped playing, allowing a horrible giveaway and a perfectly executed 2-on-1 from Anchorage.

That's not the Denver team that's played most of the season. The Pioneers have been up around the top of the WCHA for much of the year, and were only eclipsed by a red-hot North Dakota team at the very end of the season. The WCHA is down and a team that was dead in the water team in January just passed them for the regular-season title. But Denver thrashed Notre Dame to open the season, and other than a 3-game skid in November, they haven't lost back-to-back games. And they followed that up with a 7-game winning streak. They've cooled recently, playing a lot of OT games (8) since January and got pasted 4-0 by Minnesota-Duluth in the WCHA final.

The big worry is that the Denver Post is reporting that the Pioneers have lost top goal-scorer Tyler Ruegsegger for the remainder of the season and that another big cog, Jason Tyler Bozak, has had his return from a December knee injury pushed back to the opening round of the NCAA tournament. But it's the tournament, and you just have to manage four in a row. Denver has a tough row to hoe, but it's possible.

Quick Hits:

  • Coach: DNC (School's Decision). Coach George Gwozdecky was suspended by DU for one game earlier this season. Gwozdecky had been ejected during a January 24 game against North Dakota after jumping up on a dasher board to yell at the officials, then walking across the ice to confront referee Todd Anderson. After his ejection, he watched the game from the press box and communicated with his assistants on the bench via headset, a violation of NCAA rules.

  • A Change In Direction The University of Denver was originally founded in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary by one John Evans. Evans is better known as the namesake of Evanston, Illinois, as he had previously founded Northwestern in 1851.


Unknown said...

Not to nitpick too much, but it's Tyler Bozak, not Jason.

Loving the previews though. Keep it up.

Craig Barker said...

Cheerfully corrected! Thanks guys!