The fourth-ranked Denver Pioneers (17-6-5, 13-4-3 WCHA) travel to Minnesota (11-11-4, 8-9-3 WCHA) and will join in on the five year-old tradition, Hockey Day. Hockey Day Minnesota is a day in Minnesota run in cooperation with the Minnesota Wild and Fox Sports North that features at least two Minnesota high school boys hockey games, a Minnesota Gopher men's hockey game and a Minnesota Wild NHL game. Interestingly enough this is Denver's third time being involved in Hockey Day, the Pios lost in 2007 and won in 2008. This will be only time they will face off in the regular season this year. The Pios are tied with North Dakota a top the WCHA standing with 29 points, while the Gophers are in eighth with 19 points. The Pios have won their last four games at Mariucci Arena.
Last weekend Denver held on to the Gold Pan by splitting with CC, losing Friday night 2-3 but winning Saturday night at Magness 5-3. Jesse Martin spoke at the midway point of period one.
"What Jesse said during that break seemed to really give us some life," Denver head coach George Gwozdecky said. "All of the sudden the whole tide turned, we had energy and we had a great finish."
Denver has nine players with 14 points or more this season. The breakdown looks like this, two seniors, one junior, two sophomores and four freshmen. Just so we don't forget out the defense Sam Brittain, Denver's top goalie is also a freshman. While the backup Adam Murray is just a sophomore. Things look good for Denver's present and future.
Other Pioneer notes:
Kyle Ostrow (50-49=99) needs just one point to join the DU 100-point club.
Drew Shore took home some honors for his play last weekend.
Some links from around college hockey nation:
Another excellent preview from Mike Chambers at the Denver Post.
The Daily Gopher a SB Nation blog, gives us a Minnesota perspective.
The Pioneer Press has a write-up on DU Pioneer and Minnesota Wild draftee, Jason Zucker. The Star Tribune, the other Minnesota paper also weighs in on Jason.
Roman Augustoviz also has a preview of the weekend series.
Pio, John Lee is profiled in his hometown paper The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.