The Denver Pioneers hockey team has a chance to win the Gold Pan for the third straight year after winning the 2010 Cup with a 2-1-1 season series victory and retaining it in 2011 with a 2-2-0 split. The season series between the two teams currently stands 1-1, meaning the Pioneers need just one victory to retain the Gold Pan for another year.
In the first contest, the Pioneers picked up a 5-4 victory over the Tigers to end a four-game winless streak. The Pioneers scored four goals in the second to take a 5-3 lead into the final period. On Dec. 2, the Tigers defeated the Pioneers on an overtime penalty shot to pick up the 4-3 victory.
The Pioneers, however, will be without several players. Freshman Ty Loney, who has scored six goals and totaled 12 points over the last seven games, was suspended indefinitely and will not play on Friday. He could be back on Saturday, but there is no indication how long the suspension will last. Beau Bennett and David Makowski will be out for the Pioneers while goalie Sam Brittain, who recently came back from June knee surgery, is likely to play in only Friday's game.
Drew Shore leads the Pioneers with 16 goals and 39 points while Jason Zucker comes in second with 14 goals and 32 points.
The Tigers split a series with the Minnesota Gophers two weeks ago and had last weekend off. They will make the trip to Magness Arena despite the heavy snow in the area. Brothers Rylan and Jaden Schwartz lead the team with 28 and 25 points, respectively. Rylan leads the team with 18 goals while Jaden leads with 17 assists. Josh Thorimbert and Joe Howe have split time in net this season, the former posting a 2.21 goals against average in 15 games.
Game time/date: 7:37 p.m. MT, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012
Location: Magness Arena, Denver, CO
TV: ROOT Sports
Radio: 102.3 ESPN
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