Thursday, March 24, 2011

Midwest #2: Denver

University of Denver Pioneers

2 seed vs. Western Michigan, Midwest Regional (Resch Center, Green Bay, WI)
Saturday, March 26, 2011
At-large bid from the WCHA

Coach: George Gwozdecky

Denver comes into the NCAA tournament having just taken North Dakota to double-overtime before falling in the WCHA championship game by a 3-2 score. They don't have a long unbeaten streak to their name, but they swept Minnesota State out of the playoffs and decisively handled Bemidji State, 6-2, in the Final Five semis before their own adventure with the Sioux, a game which may prove they own the best goaltender in the WCHA in freshman Sam Brittain (.923 SV%, 2.24 GAA). Brittain made a number of impressive saves, and the game only ended when Matt Frattin found a rebound on his stick from a Chay Genoway shot that died in traffic.

On offense, sophomore Drew Shore (23-22--45) leads the team in goals and points. Freshman Jason Zucker, a fellow alumnus of the NTDP, is #2 in points with a 21-20--41 line. Senior Anthony Maiani (8-28--36) leads the team in assists. Defensemen Matt Donovan (8-22--30) and David Makowski (6-22--28) also are good for a lot of helpers.

The Pioneers are also happy to report that they're healthy going into the tournament for the first time in several years. Injuries to star players have hampered Denver in recent years, but everyone should be ready to go on Saturday. And no, George Gwozdecky will not be heading to East Lansing any time soon.

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