The Denver Pioneers hockey team drops the puck on the regular season with a two-game tilt in Massachusetts. On Friday evening, the Pioneers will face the No. 1 Boston College Eagles at Chestnut Hill, Mass. This will be a nationally televised game on CBS Sports Network at 5:35 p.m. MT.
The Pioneers played two exhibition games to warm up for the season. Jason Tucker scored two goals against McGill University to end that game in a 2-2 tie. Then just last week, the Pioneers stayed at home and hosted the U.S. Under-18 team and defeated them, 3-0. Beau Bennett scored twice in the contest.
Though not having played a regular season game yet this season, the Pioneers moved up to No. 3 in both polls while we saw Miami University drop down in the rankings. Conceivably, the Pioneers could emerge at the end of this weekend as the No. 1 team if they beat Boston College and Boston University.
The Pioneers will need a strong performance in net from Adam Murray, who is taking over the starting spot for the team while Sam Brittain works his way back from offseason knee surgery. Murray is confident in his ability and knows he has the team behind him, as he recently told the Denver Post. Sophomore defenseman David Makowski and freshmen Joey LaLeggia and Scott Mayfield are two players to watch in help of Murray.
The Boston College Eagles won the 2011 Ice Breaker Tournament last weekend with victories over Michigan State and North Dakota, 5-2 and 6-2. It was enough to propel them to No. 1 in the polls. With the explosion of goals in the first two games, multiple players have multiple points. Sophomore forward Bill Arnold leads the team with five points (one goal, four assists) while Chris Kreider, Pat Mullane and Steven Whitney each have two goals. Junior goaltender Parker Milner has 39 saves and a 2.00 GAA so far this season.
In 2010, the Eagles swept a two-game series against the Pioneers in Denver, 6-2 and 3-0. Time to turn the tables around.