DU's Freshman Class Lead Team
From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Brooks Kirchheimer

(click on photo to enlarge)

It is another DU hockey season and another successful and potent freshman class is making themselves known not just to the Denver community, but to the hockey world. Peter Mannino, Paul Stastny, Chris Butler and now Rhett Rakhshani, Tyler Ruegesser, Brock Trotter and others are the next class of freshman to take the stage.

"This year they have really stepped up to the plate and taken a big role as freshman, so they have done well," said senior Steven Cook, who has seen year after year of freshman.

Red shirt freshman Brock Trotter is second in the WCHA in points amongst freshman with 32 and fifth overall. Ruegsegger is fifth with 27 points and Rakhshani seventh with 26 points. Along with junior Ryan Dingle the three freshman help make up the top four point getters for DU this season. A season that has Denver currently ranked No. 5 in division one hockey, third place in the WCHA and a 19-9-2 record overall.

"I think the biggest part has been the opportunity that the coach has given us. He has put us in some tight, tough situations and helped us build our confidence. Also the support from the upperclassmen has been really key," said California native Rakhshani.

Brian Gifford and Keith Seabrook with 11 points each, Brandon Vossberg with three points, Cody Brookwell with a point and Matt Glasser who has yet to be tallied in the scorer's book round out the 2006-2007 freshman class.

"Definitely offensively they have put up a lot of big points and they have played really hard," said Cook.

The seven freshmen have combined for 113 points this season on 37 goals and 76 assists out of the Pioneers 223 points on 81 goals and 142 assists. All this success occured while the seven players are making a transition from playing junior to college hockey.

"It's a completely different game when you actually go to college. Competition is way higher. Every weekend, the pressure is on you to win a game or two," said Rakhshani about his college experience. "It has been awesome; I have been having a great time; its pretty much everything I expected."

One of the challenges of being a freshman is not only being successful on the ice, but also in the classroom.

"Some nights you have to be up late doing homework, figuring out time management during the week and getting my rest and getting ready to play every single weekend," said Rakhshani about the challenges of being a student and athlete.

Seabrook has also gained confidence at the college level. "Everyone is a lot faster. Guys are a lot bigger and stronger, the more and more you play, the more you gain confidence; I feel I have adjusted and am playing successful," he said.

The success hasn't been without the help of the coaching staff and fellow older players.

"They [the coaching staff] are helping a lot. I go out with coach Laatsch every day before practice and work on my skating. It has been really good here, they wanted me to come in right away and play and play well, and I feel I struggled a little bit at the beginning of the season, but I am starting to come on now," said Seabrook.

Denver has had year after year of contributing and exciting freshman classes and none of this would be possible without the work and recruiting of the coaching staff. DU assistant coach Steve Miller is the head recruiting coordinator and spends hours on the phone and road recruiting some of the best young hockey players in the country, getting those young players to come to Denver and continue the success of the program and the freshman class.

"From their program and past success, I watched both times when they won NCAA's on television, and it has been the place I have wanted to go to every since I talked to them back at age 16," said Seabrook as to why he choose to attend DU.

Being a freshman can have its challenges, but year-in and year-out the DU freshman class has made it a routine of being an integral part of the squad.

"You are going to have ups and downs, you are going to have good games and bad games," said Seabrook.
DU Recruit Recognized

(left) #11 Tyler Bozak leads the BCHL in scoring

British Columbia Hockey League scoring leader Tyler Bozak added 11 points to his total this past week as the Grizzlies Captain continues his fine play. He was the first BCHL player to eclipse the 100 mark this season. Bozak will join the Pioneers next season as a Freshman.
NCAA in no rush to play like NHL

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

(left) DU plays Minnesota Duluth this weekend at Magness Arena

From a penalties standpoint, attending a University of Denver hockey game one night and an Avalanche game the next is like watching two different sports.

The NCAA still allows many of the hooks and holds the NHL has barred.

Although the 2005 NHL crackdown on obstruction penalties occurred a year after the NCAA tightened its rules, the NCAA is in no hurry to revise its rules to match the new NHL standard.

"We tightened up the obstruction penalties before the NHL, and certainly the NHL has gone beyond that - and way past us," said Bruce McLeod, commissioner of the Denver-based Western Collegiate Hockey Association. "We haven't done it in a quantum jump like the NHL, and I think we'll probably continue with that. Some people think the NHL has gone too far, and others love the way it is. We'll just have to wait and see."

A hooking minor in the NHL typically is called if a defending player's stick touches a puck-controlling opposing player from the waist up. In the NCAA, hooking typically is called only if a player falls because of being hooked. Holding and interference calls differ in the same manner.

"We're probably going to try to find a little bit of the middle ground at some point," McLeod said. "We'll wait and see how it continues to go in the NHL. If they probably stick with it, I wouldn't doubt that we will head towards their standard."

DU on defense

Two weeks after sophomore T.J. Fast quit the team, DU could be short on trusted defensemen. The Pioneers, who played without injured freshman Cody Brookwell last weekend, went with five defensemen and 13 forwards in Saturday's 2-0 victory over No. 4 St. Cloud State.

Sophomore Julian Marcuzzi was a healthy scratch, and junior Zach Blom played sparingly.

Brookwell, who suffered a knee injury Jan. 20 at Minnesota, might return in this weekend's two- game series against Minnesota- Duluth. If the big blue-liner can't play, Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky won't hesitate to go with five again.

"I thought our defense played very well," Gwozdecky said after DU pinned St. Cloud State with just its second loss in its past 21 games. "The big three - (Chris) Butler, (Adrian) Veideman and (Andrew) Thomas - were very strong. They got a lot of ice time and played very smart."

Freshman Keith Seabrook also plays regularly and captains the No. 2 power play. DU also could put sophomore wing J.P. Testwuide on the blue line, where he played most of last season.

Postseason picture

DU, fifth in the all-important Pairwise Rankings (PWR), remains in terrific shape to play in the NCAA Tournament's West Regional at the Pepsi Center. But Colorado College is on the bad end of the bubble in making the 16-team field. The Tigers, who host Wisconsin for a two-game set this weekend, are 14th in the PWR with the .003 bonus. After automatic bids are given to the six conference tournament champions, only the top 12 or 13 PWR teams will receive at-large berths.

DU Hockey Legends - DOUG BERRY

While playing in junior hockey in British Columbia, Doug Berry showed the ability to put the puck in the net, but it was his playmaking skills that was the strength of his game. He was known for his pinpoint passing and ability to find linemates open along the wings. In his last year in the BCJHL he led the league with 103 assists along with 37 goals.

In 1975-76 Berry enrolled at the University of Denver where he played for three years. In the summer of 1977 he was selected in the third round, 38th overall in the NHL Amateur Draft by the Colorado Rockies. Doug centered players such as Mark Davidson, Tom Zajac and Perry Schnarr while at DU. He was the #1 centerman on DU's 1977-78 team which went 33-6-1 and won the WCHA Championship. Upon leaving school, Berry decided to play professionally in the World Hockey Association, having also been selected by the Calgary Cowboys. However, when the Calgary franchise folded, Berry signed with the Edmonton Oilers. After a year in Edmonton the WHA merged with the NHL.

Berry was re-claimed by Colorado in the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft where he played for a year-and-a-half.
In 1981-82 Berry was presented with the opportunity to play in Germany, With the exception of one year in Switzerland, Berry played ten of his last eleven years in Germany, retiring after the 1991-92 season. Berry's younger brother Ken also played at DU and in the NHL with Edmonton and Vancouver. His youngest brother, Dave, also played at DU.


BCJHL MVP: 1974-75 (Kelowna)
BCJHL Rookie of Year: 1974-75 (Kelowna)
BCJHL All-Star Game: 1975 (Kelowna)
BCJHL Assists Leader: 1974-75 (Kelowna) (103 assists)

NCAA West All-America First Team: 1977-78 (Denver)
WCHA All-Star First Team: 1977-78 (Denver)
Denver Masterton Award (MVP): 1977-78
Denver University Male Athlete of Year: 1977-78
NHL Draft Pick: 1977 (by Colorado, No. 38 overall in Round 3)
WHA Draft Pick: 1977 (by Calgary, No. 17 overall in Round 2)
Denver Records: Most goals in a game (5 vs. Air Force on Feb. 14, 1978, shares record)
Miscellaneous: Rated in The Hockey News draft preview issue as U.S. college hockey's No. 1 prospect for the 1977 NHL draft.

CHL Adams Cup: 1979 (Dallas)
West German Championship: 1986, 1987, 1988 (Cologne)

Compiled by du78 from The Legends of Hockey and Hockey Draft Central
Gopher Goalie Gives Up Unbelievable Goal
(left) Minnesota sieve Jeff Frazee is tough to score against up close. But start dropping 120...150...180 foot bombs on him and watch the lamp light up like a Christmas Tree.

YouTube Video of Goal

Originally Posted by SoCalSiouxFan View Post
Top 10 Frazee Excuses for Missing the Save

1. Didn't think he could shoot that far.
2. I was screened by Lameraux.
3. I thought the defenseman waived me off.
4. I didn't have time to react.
5. My skate was untied.
6. Hey I'm just the backup goalie.
7. Campion was supposed to call a penalty.
8. Someone put a Long Island Iced Tea in my water bottle.
9. At least I didn't jump over it like that loser Bill Buckner.
10. No one can bend it like Bina.
Mannino Serves Up A Shutout

(left) Geoff Paukovich has been the key contributor to the Pioneers over the past month


DENVER — In a must-win situation, the fifth ranked Denver Pioneers responded from their lackluster Friday effort to defeat No. 4 St. Cloud State Huskies, 2-0. In earning his third shutout of the season, Pioneers’ netminder Peter Mannino extended his mastery of the Huskies, improving to 4-0 against them in his career.

In the interviews after last night’s game, both the players and coach George Gwozdecky stressed how lacking their mental preparation was at the start of the game. The Pioneers came out tonight intent on imposing themselves on the Huskies early. They aggressively forechecked and clogged the neutral zone, preventing the Huskies from using their speed to transition on the attack.

“We needed this game badly,” said Gwozdecky. “There was a real sense of urgency to our game.”

When the Huskies did manage to penetrate the offensive zone, the Pioneers blocked shots and passes. The tactic was very successful, as the Pioneers held the Huskies without a shot for the first seven minutes of the game.

“We knew it was a very big game for us, and we tried to prepare ourselves and we came out in the first period and took it to them,” said Pioneers’ freshman Tyler Ruegsegger. “We settled down, played our game and made tape-to-tape passes and when you do that it makes it easy on yourself.”

The Pioneers meanwhile, looked to shoot as often as possible, and tested Huskies’ goalie Bobby Goepfert frequently, drawing the first power play of the game at 9:14. The number one unit of Brock Trotter, Ryan Dingle, Rhett Rakhshani, Chris Butler and Tyler Ruegsegger buzzed the net, generating several excellent chances, and Ruegsegger’s speed drew a second penalty for hooking on Andreas Nodl with 20 seconds left in the first penalty.

Just as the 5-on-3 was ending at 11:14, Keith Seabrook’s slap shot hit Geoff Paukovich’s foot in front of the net, and Paukovich picked up the puck and made a beautiful spinning backhand shot that beat Goepfert through the five hole, giving the Pioneers the important first goal.

“There certainly was a difference in our start to the game, our approach to how we wanted to play,” said Gwozdecky. “Last night was very embarrassing for our team. It had nothing to do with the loss; it had more to do with our effort and our performance. All those things we struggled with last night, we did pretty well tonight.”

The Pioneers outshot the Huskies 18-4 in the period.

The Pioneers quickly opened a two goal lead early in the second period on a play that started with a sensational effort from Ruegsegger, who has possibly been the Pioneers most consistent performer over the last month. Ruegsegger picked up the puck near the left circle, started forward, and then spun back towards the boards to create room before backhanding the puck to Butler at the point. Butler unloaded a slap shot hat hit the right post, and the rebound came out to Trotter at the bottom of the left circle, whose shot squirted under Goepfert’s body and just trickled over the goal line.

“I just raced for the puck and I was able to get it to “Buts” and he made a great shot and Trotter was in the right position at the right time and put it in for us,” said Ruegsegger.

The Pioneers continued their strong forechecking, often keeping the puck bottled up in the Huskies’ zone. On two separate penalty kills, the Pioneers were diving to clear pucks and block shots, and even generated chances of their own.

“We just couldn’t get through the neutral zone,” said Huskies’ coach Bob Motzko. “I think in the second period we turned it over 30 times. They played that trap. Third period we finally decided to get it deep and go to work. We only got the puck below the goal line twice in that second period.”

The Huskies came out aggressively in the third period, playing a more physical game along the boards and working the puck down low to generate scoring chances. The Pioneers had trouble adjusting and made several turnovers the led to shots.

“Anytime a team’s down going into the third period you know they’re going to come hard, and we knew that and I think we did a good job playing defensive zone hockey, making the simple plays,” said Ruegsegger.

Mannino made several key stops. His best save came midway through the period when Andrew Gordon skated down the left side boards and slid a perfect pass to Nodl streaking to the slot. Nodl fired a beautiful wrist shot that Mannino just managed to slide over and glove.

”I like the resolve we showed in that third period, because we were really frustrated in the second period with our play and what we were doing and what Denver was doing to us,” said Motzko.

The Pioneers started to get some chances late in the period. Trotter and Ruegsegger almost made it 3-0 when Trotter slid a pass from the left corner to Ruegsegger as he came down the slot. Ruegsegger shot five hole, and Goepfert just got enough on it that the puck slid through his pads and rolled into the right post, where it was cleared.

“Our strategy was not to press,” said Gwozdecky. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t going to get caught up ice in the offensive zone, although it happened once or twice. We changed our strategy in the third period, knowing we were going to give up a little bit more to them. When we made mistakes, we were able to have someone else in support.”

Nodl continued his impressive performance this weekend, almost cutting the lead to one with under a minute to play when he streaked around behind the net and shot for a bit of open net, but Mannino managed to get his left pad down.

Next weekend, the Pioneers host Minnesota-Duluth, while the Huskies are off. “It’s a big challenge,” said Gwozdecky. “We’ll be working to hard to make sure we’re ready to play at the level we are capable of playing. After last night, we’re on alert.”
DU Lineup vs. St Cloud
Mullen - Dingle - Rakhshani
Trotter - Ruegsegger - Gifford
Helgason - Paukovich - May
Cook - Handza - Testwuide - Vossberg
Veideman - Seabrook
Butler - Blom
Gwozdecky Not A Happy Camper

by Candace Horgan/USCHO Arena Reporter

A series of quotes from Coach Gwozdecky (left) post-game interview following DU's 3-2 loss to SCSU.

“Their first goal was just a typical example of how out to lunch we were at times tonight,” said Pioneers’ coach George Gwozdecky.

“A comedy of errors,” said Gwozdecky of the first period. “They jammed us in the zone, hemmed us in, and we made bad decision after bad decision with the puck along the wall and turned it over.”

“When you’re not mentally prepared to execute like you’ve worked on and are trained to do, you’re going to make mistakes, and that game was a series of mental errors after mental errors after mental errors,” said Gwozdecky.

“As bad as it’s been all year long,” said Gwozdecky of the power play. “There were times even in the third period when we had two great power play opportunities and we couldn’t get possession of the puck in the offensive zone.”

DU Falls To Cloudy 3-2
From: Denver Post
by Associated Press

(left) Ryan Dingle introduces himself to St. Cloud's Garrett Raboin

Denver - Andreas Nodl scored two goals and added an assist as St. Cloud State beat Denver 3-2 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action Friday night.

Andrew Gordon added a goal and an assist for No. 4 St. Cloud State (17-4-4, 11-4-4 WCHA).

St. Cloud scored twice in the first period with a power-play goal by Gordon at the 4:39 mark and Nodl's goal with just under four minutes remaining. Nodl made it a three goal lead with his goal early in the second.

No. 5 Denver (18-9-2, 10-7-2) got on the board with a power-play goal by Tyler Ruegsegger, off a feed from Brock Trotter at the 12:32 mark of the second period. Geoff Paukovich dropped a pass to Ryan Helgason, who beat St. Cloud goaltender Bobby Goepfert to pull within a goal.

Denver outshot the Huskies 32-19 for the game, including nine shots in a scoreless third period. Denver finished 1-for-7 on the power-play.

"St. Cloud took everything we gave them, and we gave them a lot," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. "Their power-play was real good. That game was a series of mental errors."

Ryan Lasch had two assists for the St. Cloud.

DU Lineup vs. St. Cloud State

Cook - Handza - Vossberg
Helgason - Dingle - Rakhshani
Trotter - Ruesegger - Gifford
Mullen - Paukovich - May

Thomas - Veideman
Butler - Blom
Marcuzzi - Seabrook


5 questions for Glenn Fisher and Peter Mannino

From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney

1 Who was your biggest coaching influence before DU?

Fisher: When I was younger, I had one coach who coached me for four years in a row, Dan Hauchenburg. He was great with kids and really helped me and the guys on that team love the game.

Mannino: I really can't pinpoint one person. I just have to thank all of them in general because at some point in my life there was always something a coach said that rubbed off on me, whether it was in juniors or when I just started out in pee-wees. I think they all had some kind of influence in my career.

2 Who is the guy on the team no one wants to sit next to on flights?

Fisher: (Matt) Glasser. He twitches while he's sleeping.

Mannino: Either (Geoff) Paukovich or (Tyler) Ruegsegger. They're scared of flying, so they're kind of grabbing your hand and stuff like that. It gets a little scary.

3 Do you have a pregame ritual?

Fisher: I do the same thing every day. I take my nap at the same time, eat the same amount of food and wear the same thing when things are going well.

Mannino: It's a pretty repetitive schedule. Pregame skate. Pregame meal. I get about an hour and 15-minute nap. Then I get up and find the right shirt-and-tie combo for the night. It's a little detailed to get into.

4 What's your favorite sports movie?

Fisher: Tin Cup.

Mannino: I guess Miracle because it's a hockey movie, but there are a lot of good football movies.

5 What's the toughest venue in college hockey?

Fisher: Maine.

Mannino: Either Minnesota or Maine. I'll say it's Minnesota because it's the WCHA.

Dynamic Duo Lead DU In Goal

From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney

(left) Peter Mannino is expected back this weekend

Glenn Fisher and Peter Mannino weren't looking forward to it.

Yet each trudged dutifully into the office of University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky about nine months ago, bracing for the one-on-one meetings he conducts with each of his players at the end of a season.

Like their coach, Fisher and Mannino were ruing the dreary end to what had been a promising season. For the first time in three years, and the first time in Fisher's DU career, the offseason did not begin with the celebration of another national championship.

Though no one said it out loud, Fisher and Mannino were feeling the heat as a team with offensive firepower was unable to secure a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Each expected his performance during the 2005-06 season to be dissected during the respective meetings with Gwozdecky.

Mannino, coming off his Most Outstanding Player performance at the 2005 Frozen Four, suffered a precipitous rise in his goals- against average and a disturbing drop in his saves percentage.

And while Fisher's numbers actually improved slightly, his frustrating penchant for allowing soft goals never allowed him to reach any sort of consistency.

Gwozdecky's solution? Take away his goalies' usually secure playing time by opening the competition for the job.

It was a shrewd decision and one that could have caused disharmony on a team that would have to rely more heavily on depth and defense after the loss of three of its top four scorers.

Two of DU's top offensive performers, Paul Stastny, now an Avalanche forward, and Hobey Baker Award winner Matt Carle, now with the San Jose Sharks, became sensations in the NHL.

Months later, the competition clearly has brought out the best in Fisher and Mannino, who have emerged as perhaps the top goaltending tandem in the nation, one that is quite capable of leading the Pioneers back to college hockey's Promised Land.

"The past few years, it has been split, but with coach saying in the offseason that (competition) was going to happen, both goalies knew they had to be ready for the season," DU captain Adrian Veideman said. "The difference between this year and last year is that both of our goalies are ready to play. It has definitely worked out well for us."

The resurgent play of Fisher and Mannino is the biggest reason DU will take the nation's No. 5 ranking into tonight's series opener against fourth-ranked St. Cloud State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association showdown at Magness Arena.

On the surface, it is easy for pundits to point out Gwozdecky still is playing two goalies regularly, but he has stuck with his vow to leave the competition open.

Gwozdecky has not shied away from bestowing consecutive starts upon the goalie with the hot hand, and opponents have been unable to plot which goalie will open any given series.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the continued goalie competition is not how the veterans have accepted the challenge but how their play on the ice has pushed each other to new peaks. Led by the duo, DU has limited its opponents to two goals or fewer in nine of its past 11 games.

"We weren't as good as we needed to be last year," Fisher said. "(Gwozdecky) wanted us to feed off each other and not just know that we are going to play a certain night, no matter what happens. He wanted us to really work, and that's why we've improved so much this year."

Though Mannino has missed the past two series because of a groin injury - he hopes to return this weekend - the junior has shown flashes of regaining the form he displayed during the 2005 postseason.

He has gone 6-1-1 in his past eight starts, a stretch that includes consecutive shutouts against Alaska Anchorage and Mercyhurst, and his 1.99 goals- against average ranks second in the league and fifth in the nation.

Both goalies' saves percentages - Mannino's is .932, Fisher's .930 - would trail only Wade Dubielewicz's single-season DU record of .943 (2001-02) if the season ended today.

Fisher's turnaround has been more dramatic. In the first 57 games of his career, the senior from Edmonton, Alberta, recorded one shutout. He has posted three in his past 13 games, including dominating efforts at defending national champion Wisconsin and top-ranked Minnesota, and narrowly missed a fourth Dec. 30, when Massachusetts Lowell scored a meaningless goal with 4.3 seconds remaining.

After watching Adam Berkbrohoel lead DU through the stretch run in 2004, then sitting out the 2005 Frozen Four as Mannino took over, Fisher wants to prove his mettle in the postseason. It'll mean more if DU plays in the West Regional in Denver.

Gwozdecky hopes to face a dilemma any coach would crave during the postseason. The competitive platoon has worked to perfection, but riding a hot hand was a big factor in DU's two national championship runs.

"Both have proven they can handle it and both are supportive of each other," he said. "There is no reason to believe that can't happen with both guys carrying the load."

Notes: DU's depth will be tested, particularly tonight. Freshman defenseman Cody Brookwell will miss two to three weeks because of a sprained knee he suffered Saturday at Minnesota and forward J.P. Testwuide will serve a one-game suspension tonight because of a game disqualification penalty he received in the same game. . . . Senior wing J.D. Corbin suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from ankle surgery and is not expected to return until February at the earliest. . . . DU is in third place in the WCHA, two points behind St. Cloud State. . . . Ruegsegger led DU with two goals and one assist during a split at St. Cloud State in the first league series of the season in October. . . . Nodl, Trotter and Lasch are ranked among the top four freshman scorers in the WCHA.

Corbin To Miss St. Cloud Series

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

(left) DU speedster JD Corbin had screws removed from his ankle last Friday

The University of Denver hockey team won't meet its goal of getting co-captain J.D. Corbin back in the lineup this month.

Corbin, who broke his right leg and had ankle surgery in October, said he probably wouldn't be ready until the Feb. 9-10 series at Michigan Tech.

The senior wing from Littleton will miss his 25th and 26th consecutive games tonight and Saturday when the No. 5 Pioneers host No. 4 St. Cloud State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association showdown at Magness Arena.

Corbin last played Oct. 15 at St. Cloud State, and was hoping to return against the Huskies, who have lost just once in their past 19 games (14-1-4).

"I'm in shape, but that kind of shape is not the same as hockey shape," said Corbin, whose primary exercise has been swimming. "I could be back earlier than Michigan Tech, but not this weekend."

Corbin, the first Colorado native to be drafted by the Avalanche, began skating two weeks ago with screws in his ankle. Doctors removed the screws last Friday, and Corbin said he would resume skating after his stitches are removed Monday.

Corbin has considered applying for a medical redshirt, but said he would rather try to help the team in the final six regular-season games and playoffs. Corbin is 20, young for a college-hockey senior, and if he completes his eligibility this season, he likely would spend next season in the minor leagues.

"The team is in the hunt; we're doing awesome this year, and we got a chance to do great things," said Corbin, who won NCAA titles as a freshman and sophomore. "Plus, this is my senior year, and I want to play with my senior class and make one more run at (a third NCAA title)."

DU could get another key player back this weekend. Junior goalie Peter Mannino, who has missed two scheduled starts in the past four games because of a groin injury, is close to 100 percent.

"He's too valuable to our team to risk throwing him in there if he's not 100 percent," coach George Gwozdecky said.

Mannino has a 1.99 goals-against average and has allowed just two goals in his past four starts. He said he's "feeling good and waiting for Coach to give me the signal."

Senior goalie Glenn Fisher (2.09 GAA) has led the Pioneers to victories in three of their past four games, allowing no more than two goals in each of the three wins.

St. Cloud likely will pepper whatever goalie DU goes with this weekend. The Huskies, who produced a school-record 15-game unbeaten streak (12-0-3) from Nov. 4 to Jan. 6, are No. 8 nationally in scoring (3.67 goals).

DU, tied for 35th in scoring (2.75), isn't worried about a letdown after playing perhaps its best hockey of the season last weekend in an emotional two-game split at No. 1 Minnesota.

"The key is intensity, whether we're playing the Gophers at their place or St. Cloud here," DU junior Geoff Paukovich said. "It's a big confidence boost for us that we had a good crack at Minnesota and judged ourselves against the best."

St. Cloud Series Looms Large This Weekend
From: USCHO.com
by Eric Schmoldt/WCHA Correspondent

So the Denver Pioneers are taking on a ranked opponent? Tell me something new.

That's pretty much all they've done since the calendar changed over to the year 2007. They opened the year against Wisconsin, which is only receiving votes, but have since faced off with Niagara and Minnesota, and now have a date with St. Cloud State.

Denver coach George Gwozdecky puts his team's schedule into pretty good perspective.

"It almost seems like once you finish one tough opponent, the following weekend you've got another tough assignment," Gwozdecky told the Rocky Mountain News this week. "I think it's what makes this league so difficult. And yet, if you are able to survive this regular season in decent physical and positional shape, it makes you really ready for the postseason. That's the benefit, but while you're doing it, it's extremely difficult and challenging."

It's a challenge that the Pioneers seem to be embracing to its fullest. After sweeping away upstart Niagara, they took an attitude with them to the Twin Cities this past weekend and came away with a split — a pretty good outcome considering the top-ranked Gophers had lost just twice all season and were riding a school-record home unbeaten streak.

And they've passed those tests thanks to the power play, or as I like to compare, after the teacher tells you that you are allowed a cheatsheet.

Eight of the Pioneers' 12 goals in their last two series combined have come on the man-advantage, and they are a solid 33.3 percent in that span. Furthermore, all three DU goals scored against Wisconsin came on the power play, and the game it lost, the Pioneers were 0-for-7.

Translation: Stay out of the box against Denver.

But of course it will not be that simple for St. Cloud State this weekend, where there are huge implications on the line.

Not only is this a battle for second place in the WCHA, but if all goes right for both teams down the stretch, this could be the series that decides which team winds up with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

St. Cloud is tied for first in the latest edition of the PairWise Rankings and Denver sits at fifth.
Oh, and by the way, while Denver will get a bit of a vacation from ranked opponents after this, the third straight weekend against them, it's not all downhill from here. The Pioneers still have to close out the season with North Dakota and Colorado College.
Colorado College Sells Spot In Hall Of Fame
Times must be tough financially for college hockeys smallest school. In an unbelievable move, our buddies down south have named a family to the schools Athletics Hall Of Fame, for no other reason than they "splashed" some cash around campus for an Aquatic Facility. Colorado College had room in their Hall, since no hockey players have played on a national championship team since 1957 and Ultimate Frisbee isn't a Division I sport.

The Schlessman Family, longtime benefactors of the Colorado College athletics program and for whom the school's state-of-the-art aquatics facility is named, will make history this spring as the first family ever to be inducted into the CC Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Schlessmans' contributions support everything from facility improvements and renovations to financial aid. Schlessman Pool, built in 1963 thanks to their vision and generosity, remains one of the finest and most attractive swimming and diving facilities in the state.
Testwuide Named WCHA Light Heavyweight Champion
DU Sophmore J.P. Testwuide (J.P. stands for Justice of the Peace) won the WCHA Light Heavyweight Championship last Saturday after his stunning knockout of previously undefeated Ben "The Hammer" Gordon. LetsGoDU has found the YouTube video of the Mangle In Minneapolis and its a doozie.

Testwuide will look to unify the titles in the NCAA Playoffs against the CCHA and Hockey East Champions.
Lets Go DU
Down Goes Fisher, Down Goes Fisher

When Glenn "Golden Globes" Fisher was on the receiving end of a vicious elbow by Jim "Pretty Boy" O'Brian, Gopher Nation fell into a tizzy. Not helping matters in the State of Hockey was Bad Boy Geoff Paukovich scoring on the ensuing power play.

The 1-0 advantage held up and the Gophers 21 game home unbeaten streak was history.
Vote Dingle, Fisher & Trotter For Hobey
If its January, it means only one thing. Its time to crank up the DU Political Machine and start Ballot Stuffing for our local boys to win the Hobey.
Last year the LetsGoDU-Matt Carle for Hobey Campaign won a surprising victory, when we sabotaged Colorado College player Brett Sterling.

This year the morons who run the Hobey Baker Fan Ballot have omitted our favorite son Danny King in his Senior season. This obvious slap in the face must be avenged.

Vote for Ryan Dingle, Glenn Fisher & Brock Trotter. Vote early and vote often.
DU Student Reporter Hits The Road With Pioneers
From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Brooks Kirchheimer

MINNEAPOLIS- The road can often take athletes to interesting places, but no matter how fun a city is, playing on the road is never an easy task. This past weekend, I followed the DU hockey team to Minnesota to not only watch two amazing college hockey games, but to also follow the routines and actions of the players on the road.

"I think I sleep more on the road, nice hotel rooms. Our main focus is on the game at hand. I think when we come on the road it is a bit more secluded for us and allows us to prepare for the big games," said senior Adrian Veideman.

The Pioneers at the minimum will play at least 16 road games this season, traveling everywhere from Madison, Wisconsin to Anchorage, Alaska to Oxford, Ohio. DU currently has an 8-5 road record on the season and finished 11-7-1 on the road last season.

"You are stuck in a hotel most of the time when you are on the road. That is the only difference. You got a little freedom to do what you want, watch a lot of movies in the hotel," said senior goaltender Glenn Fisher on the difference between home and the road.

Most trips require the Pioneers to fly, in which case they usually fly out the day before the game and fly back to Denver the morning after their final game. This past weekend, DU left on Thursday morning, arrived at the hotel around 3 p.m. and had a quick snack before a 5 p.m. practice.

This past weekend the hotel was within walking distance of the arena and allowed the players to walk over when they wanted to before the scheduled time of practice or game. Friday and Saturday were similar as both days, there was an hour practice in the morning and lunch at the hotel before the game in the evening.

"The biggest thing we notice like coming into a place like Minnesota is the crowd, the atmosphere, a different feel, a lot louder," said Veideman.

Marucci Arena, where the Gopher's play, seats over 10,000 and has two student sections on opposite ends of the ice close to triple the size of Denver's student section.

"I like going to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its fun playing in their barns. There is big attendance when you go to those places. It is different than playing in front of just 7,000 like Magness. The student sections are a lot larger and they get the fans into it and it is a lot of fun," said Fisher.

During both games over the weekend ,especially on Saturday when the Gopher's won 5-4, there were numerous chants during the game celebrating not only goals, but power-play opportunities and Denver mistakes.

Also as you can imagine, there is lots of equipment to transfer from city to city and that is why head equipment manager Lee Greseth uses a truck to transfer the sticks, skates and bags from Magness to DIA. Each player has their own duffle bag to put their skates, pads and jerseys in, while there is a bigger bag to put all the players sticks in. Also equipment like a skate sharpener, blade tape, pucks, clipboard's and extra jerseys are also brought on every road trip.

Sports information director Erich Bacher noted that their game at Michigan Tech has to be their most difficult travel day of the season coming up in a couple weeks. DU has to fly to Minneapolis and then take a short flight to Green Bay, Wisconsin and then bus up to Houghton, Michigan where the school is located.

When asked where his favorite place to play is, Veideman responded with, "I think Wisconsin is one of the team's favorites. It is a great place to play in and they got great people up there."

And asked about his all-time favorite road trip, "Boston and Columbus because of the Frozen Four obviously, but other than that every time we play a WCHA team it is very competitive and always something to look forward to."

The road is not always fun, but Denver has made it a habit of doing quite well away from the comfy confines of Magness Arena.
Seabrook Named WCHA Rookie Of The Week
MADISON, Wis. - University of Denver freshman defenseman Keith Seabrook, who turned in a strong performance at both ends of the ice in the Pioneers' two-game conference road series against No. 1-ranked Minnesota last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week.
A 6-0, 200-pound draftee of the NHL's Washington Capitals, Seabrook produced three scoring points, added seven hits and blocked three shots as Denver earned a split at Mariucci Arena. He assisted on teammate Geoff Paukovich's game-winning power-play goal in a 1-0 shutout victory over the Golden Gophers last Friday night, ending UM's 21-game home unbeaten streak. The shutout was Denver's first in 77 career games at Minnesota.
Then in a 5-4 setback at Minnesota last Saturday evening, Seabrook scored his first collegiate goal on a second period power-play that pulled DU to within one at 3-2 and assisted on a third period power-play goal that again pulled the Pioneers to within one score. He also had four shots on goal in that game.
SCSU Fans Ready To Sweep DU & Win MacNaughton

The always engaging USCHO.com Message Board is buzzing this week as St. Cloud fans gear up for their big matchup with the Gophers in a couple of weeks. All that seperates Cloudy from MacNaughton Glory are tilts with WCHA lightweights Denver, CC, Wisconsin, Minnesota & North Dakota.
National Polls Screw Over DU Again
DU stuck At #5 for second week in a row

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers
(left) No Respect
It's time to relegate college hockey's subjective media polls below the unbiased computer.

Much like football's Bowl Championship Series formula, hockey's PairWise Ranking (PWR) is the primary tool to determine what teams are in position to play for the national championship.

The PWR is not sanctioned by the NCAA, but it mimics how the NCAA Tournament selection committee seeds its 16-team field. The PWR made its season debut last week and is available on U.S. College Hockey Online (uscho.com) and College Hockey News (collegehockeynews.com).

The University of Denver (18-8-2) and Colorado College (14-9-1) are fifth and tied for 10th, respectively, in the "generic" PWR. Users should input .003 in the "bonus" field to get a more accurate list.

The bonus-point amount for quality road wins is the only element the NCAA keeps secret, but a USCHO executive said the .003 is what the NCAA has used in previous years. The final PWR produced by USCHO has predicted every NCAA Tournament field since its mid-1990s inception.

Coming home happy

DU outplayed Minnesota for much of last weekend's two-game split in Minneapolis, but the Gophers remained No. 1 in both media polls. The Pioneers fell from No. 4 to No. 5 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and remained fifth in the USCHO.com/CSTV poll. Minnesota is No. 2 behind New Hampshire in the PWR.

The Pioneers have another big Western Collegiate Hockey Association series this weekend against visiting St. Cloud State.

The Huskies (16-4-4) are third in the PWR and second in the rugged WCHA, two points ahead of DU.

"I think it's awesome how we're playing," DU captain Adrian Veideman said after last weekend's 1-0 win and 5-4 loss at Minnesota. "It's all about getting better every day, and (last) weekend was a big step for us. We proved to ourselves that we can play with anybody, especially after dealing with a number of things, including a lot of bad bounces."

The Pioneers ended Minnesota's school-record, 21-game home unbeaten streak Friday before producing 45 shots in Saturday's finale, in which they got within a goal twice after 3-0 and 5-2 deficits. Veideman and goalie Glenn Fisher said the loss felt like a win.

"We faced a lot of adversity and didn't back down," Fisher said.


DU's J.P. Testwuide will serve a one-game suspension Friday for fighting Minnesota's Ben Gordon last Saturday. Gordon will serve the same penalty in Minnesota's series opener against North Dakota.
USCHO.com/CSTV National D-I Ice Hockey Poll
1). Minnesota (36) 21-3-3
2). New Hampshire (4) 18-4-1
3). Notre Dame 20-5-1
4). St. Cloud State 16-4-4
5). Denver 18-8-2
6). Maine 15-6-2
8). Miami 18-8-2
9). Michigan State 16-8-1
10). Clarkson 14-6-3
11). Vermont 14-8-2
12). Michigan 17-9-0
13). Boston College 12-8-1
14). Colorado College 14-9-1
15). North Dakota 13-11-2
16). Niagara 15-8-3
17). St. Lawrence 12-9-2
18). Cornell 9-7-3
19). Lake Superior 13-10-3
20). Quinnipiac 11-8-4
DU Faces St. Cloud State This Weekend
From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney

Test No. 1 has been passed impressively.

But the University of Denver hockey team certainly cannot rest on either its laurels or momentum this week as it prepares for its third consecutive series against a ranked opponent.

After recording a split at No. 1 Minnesota, the Pioneers will return to Magness Arena on Friday and Saturday to play St. Cloud State, which began the weekend ranked sixth in both national polls.

The series will have significant impact on the national scene and in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, as the Pioneers trail the second-place Huskies by two points.

"It almost seems like once you finish one tough opponent, the following weekend you've got another tough assignment," DU coach George Gwozdecky said. "I think it's what makes this league so difficult. And yet, if you are able to survive this regular season in decent physical and positional shape, it makes you really ready for the postseason. That's the benefit, but while you're doing it, it's extremely difficult and challenging."

The effort at Minnesota kept the Pioneers in fifth place in the all-important PairWise rankings, but they will pick up valuable points for Friday's 1-0 victory when bonuses for quality road wins are added to the PairWise points equation.

DU (18-8-2, 10-6-2 WCHA) can further cement its credentials for the West Regional at the Pepsi Center with a quality performance against the Huskies. DU, which already recorded a split at St. Cloud in the first league series of the season in October, has gone 8-2-0 in its past 10 games against the Huskies.

The Pioneers should expect to move forward when both national polls are released today. Three of the teams ranked ahead of DU - Notre Dame, Maine and New Hampshire - suffered splits against unranked opponents.

ETC.: DU goalie Peter Mannino did not play at Minnesota because of a strained groin but is expected to be ready for the St. Cloud series . . . DU's Ryan Dingle is fourth in the nation with 18 goals despite scoring only two in the past nine games . . . Air Force's Eric Ehn leads the nation with 45 points . . . Mannino (.932) and DU senior Glenn Fisher (.930) are ranked fifth and eighth, respectively, in the nation in saves percentage . . . Three of the five goals scored by DU junior Geoff Paukovich have been game winners.

Notes & Quotes From The Gopher Series

(left) DU freshman defenseman Cody Brookwell asks Minnesota winger Brian Schack for a dance with his date after the game. (AP / Paul Battaglia)

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Minneapolis - DU played well enough to win both games, but in Saturday's chippy and fight-marred affair, one of its 18 penalties proved to be the difference in Minnesota's 5-4 victory before a sellout crowd of 10,189.

Goalie Glenn Fisher, the hero in the Pioneers' 1-0 win Friday that snapped Minnesota's 21-game home unbeaten streak, took a slashing minor at 17:26 of the second period to give the Gophers a two-man advantage. Minnesota captain Mike Vannelli scored twice during Fisher's penalty, first on a 5-on-3, to give the defending WCHA champions a 5-2 lead.

Fisher said a Gophers forward "was skating by and I gave him a little tap on the shins, barely touched the guy. No ref has ever called me on it, and he puts us down 5-on-3 at that point in the game. I thought it was a horrible call."

But DU wasn't done. The Pioneers, who trailed 3-0 early, got power-play goals from Chris Butler and Geoff Paukovich to battle back from its second three-goal deficit, and it remained 5-4 for the final 9:57 of a series from which both teams came away proudly bruised.

"It was two teams that went after each other toe-to-toe and really battled for points," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "The split was a pretty just outcome. Both one-goal games, both right down to the wire with chances to send it in overtime."

DU's J.P. Testwuide and Minnesota's Ben Gordon were ejected for fighting long before it was over. Testwuide, from Vail, pummeled Gordon in a wild first-period fracas that developed after Fisher was bowled over for the second time. Referee Todd Anderson called a combined 37 penalties for 115 minutes.

Vannelli, who had three goals, could have been ejected before his second and third goals for checking-from-behind. His dangerous, against-the-boards hit on Tom May is typically whistled as a five-minute major and game misconduct, but Anderson deemed it a minor.

DU coach George Gwozdecky blamed most of the penalties on player pride between programs that have combined to win four of the past five NCAA titles.

"When we're battling like this, there is no love lost," Gwozdecky said. "Both teams felt an urgency and need to establish their game and presence on the ice. It wasn't easy, but I think both teams will probably take positive things out of this series."


1. Mike Vannelli - The Gophers captain took three penalties but scored three goals in the second period.

2. Steven Cook - The unsung DU senior and Denver native was perhaps the toughest player in the physical series.

3. Jeff Frazee - Stopped 41 shots for the Gophers.

Gwozdecky Post Game Interview

Thanks to our friends over at Gopher Puck Live, here's a video link of Coach Gwozdecky's post game comments. (6 minutes)
Damn, We Split With The Gophers
Hockey Day In Minnesota Turns Into Fight Night

Box Score

After obtaining a crutial win on Friday, the Pioneers decided to crack the whip to gain a little "street cred" with the Gophers. Who better than the Cookie Monster Line to show the "Pretty Boys from Dinkytown," how hockey is played in the western outreaches of the conference. DU might have spent a little time in the penalty box, but how much fun was it watch J.P. Testwuide gave Ben Gordon a refresher course on "Running-Into-Fish-May-Be-Hazardous-To-Your-Health."
Some might say "Why Gordon?" when it was Jim O'Brian who ran into Fisher. The answer of course is, "Thats the way we roll."
Gordon deserved to get his ass kicked by Testwuide for all the big goals he's scored against the Pioneers in the past three years. He was actually the Gopher player I was most worried about this weekend. Glad to see Gwoz shared my concern, and took him out early tonight. Solid coaching.
Now onto the game recap...
Minnesota senior defenseman Mike Vannelli recorded his first career hat trick as the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers held off the #4 Denver Pioneers 5-4 in a wild, penalty-filled WCHA contest before 10,189 fans tonight at Mariucci Arena. Freshmen Brock Trotter and Keith Seabrook led DU with one goal and one assist each and senior Glenn Fisher stopped 31 shots in the loss. DU also received goals from Chris Butler and Geoff Paukovich, but it wasn't enough as the Golden Gophers improve to 21-3-2 with the win, while the Pioneers fall to 18-8-2.

The Pioneers fell behind 3-0 and 5-2, but their comeback fell short as Minnesota earned the series split. Kyle Okposo and Justin Bostrom added goals for the Golden Gophers and Jeff Frazee got the win with 41 saves. The Pioneers outshot Minnesota 45-36 and converted 3-of-9 power plays, while the Golden Gophers finished 2-for-7 with the man-advantage. A total of 34 penalties were whistled for 115 minutes in the physical contest.

"I am proud of the way our team battled back several different times," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "Minnesota has a great hockey team, but our team showed a lot tonight. We should be proud of effort this weekend, getting two points in a hostile environment."

Minnesota held a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal from freshman Okposo. A total of 23 penalties were called for 89 minutes between the teams in the period. DU's J.P. Testwuide and Minnesota's Ben Gordon were ejected for fighting and assessed game disqualifications as the Golden Gophers outshot the Pioneers 13-6 in the opening frame.
The Golden Gophers took a 5-3 lead in the second period. Bostrom scored at 6:58 and Vannelli scored at 7:39 to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead. The Pioneers battled back when Trotter scored less than a minute later and Seabrook netted his first career goal on the power play at 13:09 to cut the lead to 3-2. Vannelli scored his second on the night on a 5-on-3 advantage at 17:46 and earned the hat trick moments later on the same power play at 18:22. Butler made it a 5-3 game with a power-play tally at 19:56. The Pioneers outshot Minnesota 23-8 in the period.
Paukovich cut the deficit to 5-4 with a power-play goal at 10:03 of the third period, but DU couldn't find the equalizer after pulling Fisher two times near the end of the game.

DU's Lineup vs. Minnsesota
Cook - Handza - Testwuide
Trotter - Ruegsegger - Gifford
Helgason - Dingle - Rakhshani
Mullen - Paukovich - May

Butler - Brookwell
Thomas - Marcuzzi
Veideman - Seabrook

Sweep The Gophers Week

The Puck Stops Here
Fisher Admits Thinking About Shutout

From: Rocky Mountian News
by Jess Meyers

MINNEAPOLIS - Some goaltenders claim to never think about getting a shutout when a game is in progress.

But University of Denver goalie Glenn Fisher admits blanking the opponent weighed heavily on his mind, even in the frantic final seconds of his team's 1-0 upset of top-ranked Minnesota on Friday.

While Golden Gophers forward Blake Wheeler was preparing a last-second shot that Fisher eventually deflected over the net, preserving the win, the goalie was taking an unpleasant trip down memory lane.

"There was a game we played a few weeks ago where they scored with 4.3 (seconds) left to ruin a shutout for me, so that's all that was going through my head," Fisher said, recalling the Pioneers' 2-1 win against Massachusetts-Lowell on Dec. 30.

Fisher stopped Wheeler's shot, and 30 more, for his third shutout of the season and the fourth of his career, as the Pioneers boldly inserted themselves back into the race for the WCHA title.
The Pioneers entered the contest having held opponents to two goals or fewer in each of their past eight wins. They proved early in Friday's game that defense would hold the key again, keeping Minnesota off the scoreboard in a frantic first period.

The Gophers' best early chance to get the sellout crowd involved came less than five minutes into the game when Ben Gordon caught a long lead pass, split the Denver defense and came in alone on Fisher. Gordon's move had the goaltender fooled, but after the Minnesota winger's shot slid under Fisher's left leg pad, the puck hit the goal post and slid harmlessly away.

"He faked to his backhand and shot as I was coming across," Fisher said. "It went off my knee and I thought I had it underneath me. I crept back and still thought I had it and then I heard everyone go nuts. I turned around and it wasn't in, so I got lucky."
Minnesota's Jim O'Brien was whistled for goaltender interference after skating through the Denver crease and causing Fisher to fall. On the ensuing power play Geoff Paukovich tipped a shot by Keith Seabrook, directing the puck low and past Minnesota goalie Kellen Briggs. It was Paukovich's fourth goal of the season and his third game-winner.

The play was controversial in that Minnesota fans thought Fisher might have embellished his fall.

"They could've called a dive too, but it is what it is," Gopher coach Don Lucia said. The goalie claimed his tumble was caused when the contact with O'Brien caught him unprepared.

The Pioneers became the first visitors to win at Mariucci Arena in more than a year, snapping a school-record streak in which Minnesota had gone 19-0-2 at home. The Pioneers' troubles at Minnesota went back further, having last won a game here Nov. 1, 2003.
Sweep The Gophers Week
Paukovich's Lone Goal Stops Gophers
(left) DU center Geoff Paukovich scores a power-play goal against Minnesota sieve Kellen Briggs during the second period on Friday night, in Minneapolis. Minnesota's David Fischer is at lower right. Denver won 1-0. (AP / Paul Battaglia)
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

DU Junior Geoff Paukovich scored the winner with a power-play goal 10:04 into the second period. From atop the crease, the Englewood native redirected a snap shot from freshman Keith Seabrook past Gophers goalie and Colorado Springs native Kellen Briggs.

Paukovich's fourth goal of the season was his third game-winner.

"All we try to do on the second power play is lob pucks in on net, and I was lucky enough to get a stick on it," Paukovich said. "It was a great shot by Seabs."

DU Goaltender Glenn Fisher, who will likely play in today's finale of the two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series because of the groin injury suffered by junior Peter Mannino, is probably one of the few goalies to produce shutouts at Wisconsin and at Minnesota in the same season. He got the 2-0 win against the Badgers on Nov. 10.

"The crowd is great here, just like Wisconsin," Fisher said. "I feed off it. It's a fun atmosphere to play in. Tonight, the guys blocked a lot of shots, and the other ones I was able to see. And we got lucky off a couple posts."

Minnesota enters today's game having scored just three goals in its past four games. But Gophers coach Don Lucia said that has more to do with playing tough goalies than being in an offensive funk.

"It was a hard-fought game. Both goaltenders were very good, and the difference was that they got one on the power play," Lucia said. "It was the type of game I expected. Denver is a good hockey team; they're good defensively and when they have the lead they're hard to play against."
Sweep The Gophers Week
Gophers Choke On Fish Dinner

Fisher and Paukovich star in 1-0 road win over Golden Gophers

MINNEAPOLIS - Senior netminder Glenn Fisher stopped 31 shots and junior forward Geoff Paukovich tallied his third game-winning goal as the No. 4 Denver Pioneers ended No. 1 Minnesota's 21-game home unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win before a sellout crowd of 10,119 fans in WCHA action tonight at Mariucci Arena. The shutout was the third of the season for Fisher as Denver improves to 18-7-2 overall and 10-5-2 in league play with its third consecutive win. The top-ranked Gophers fall to 20-3-3, 12-2-3 with its first home loss of the season.

"We played a really strong road game and Fisher was outstanding in net," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "We made some mistakes in a tough environment, but got a big goal from Paukovich in a nice road win."

Paukovich scored the game's lone goal at 11:04 of the second period when he redirected a Keith Seabrook wrist shot past Kellen Briggs (22 saves). Andrew Thomas added the second assist for the Pioneers, who were outshot 31-23 in the contest.

DU's penalty-kill unit turned in a 4-for-4 effort and the Pioneers preserved Fisher's fourth career shutout by holding off the Golden Gophers for the final 55 seconds when Briggs was pulled to create a 6-on-5 advantage. The Pioneers killed a crucial Minnesota power play late in the third period to record their first win at Mariucci Arena since Nov. 1, 2003.

Briggs kept the Golden Gophers in the game when he stopped a Ryan Dingle breakaway near the 9-minute mark of the final stanza. Minnesota had several good looks to tie the game after Briggs was pulled, but Fisher and the Pioneers held the home team off the scoreboard to improve to 8-4-0 away from Magness Arena.

The teams played a scoreless first period. The Golden Gophers outshot the Pioneers 14-9, but missed a golden opportunity to score when Fisher thwarted a Ben Gordon breakaway opportunity near the 16-minute mark.

DU went 1-for-6 with the man-advantage to remain tied for second place in the WCHA with 22 points. Minnesota leads the WCHA with 27 points.

The teams play the series finale tomorrow night at 4:37 p.m.

Notes: Seabrook's second period assist snapped a nine-game pointless streak. DU improved to 16-0-0 when leading after two periods. The Pioneers improved to 5-9-1 in their last 15 games against top-ranked opponents. The Pioneers have held opponents to two goals or less in eight of their last nine games. Fisher has shut out Wisconsin, Michigan Tech and Minnesota this season. Fisher improved his record to 12-4-1 with a 1.92 GAA and .935 Sv%.

DU's Lineup vs. Minnsesota
Cook - Handza - Testwuide
Trotter - Ruegsegger - Gifford
Helgason - Dingle - Rakhshani
Mullen - Paukovich - Vossberg

Butler - Brookwell
Thomas - Blom
Veideman - Seabrook

Beat The Gophers Week
Fish To Start In Goal Tonight

From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney

(left) Minnesota Play-By-Play hack Doug Woog predicts a Gopher sweep this weekend

The University of Denver hockey team has successfully positioned itself for a run at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title and a berth in the NCAA tournament, which would mean a chance to compete in the West Regional at the Pepsi Center.

With 12 games remaining in the regular season, the Pioneers are preparing to battle head-to-head against the teams that likely will create yet another thrilling conclusion to the always demanding WCHA race.

Of DU's six remaining league series, four will be against the other top five teams in the league. The rugged stretch run begins tonight with perhaps the toughest challenge of all, the beginning of a two-game series against top-ranked Minnesota.

"It's always fun and exciting to play against a team like Minnesota," DU coach George Gwozdecky said. "Obviously they have been very, very impressive over the course of the season so far. We're looking forward to it. I think we're playing better right now. In any series in this league, it always boils down to your goaltending and special teams, especially in the second half of the season."

Indeed, the series will feature perhaps the top two goaltending tandems in the nation, although DU's combination of senior Glenn Fisher and junior Peter Mannino might still be spinning on one wheel.

Mannino missed last week's series against Niagara because of a strained groin and likely will not play tonight, but he could be ready for Saturday's finale. Fisher has allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of 16 starts and ranks seventh in the nation with a .931 saves percentage.

Minnesota's tandem of Colorado Springs native Kellen Briggs and sophomore Jeff Frazee have posted the top two goals-against averages during WCHA games.

Mannino took shots before practice this week but did not participate in the full workout. He is expected to be in uniform for both games.

"It's a day-by-day thing," Mannino said. "I'm feeling a lot better than I did last weekend. It's getting better every day."

While a split still would make it difficult for the Pioneers to catch Minnesota in the WCHA - the Golden Gophers lead DU, Colorado College and St. Cloud State by seven points - such a result would bolster DU's postseason credentials.

In the initial PairWise poll, the computer system that accurately predicts the field for the NCAA tournament, that was released this week, Minnesota is ranked second and the Pioneers fifth. That does not include bonus points added for quality road wins, which DU is seeking this weekend.

"Every weekend is going to be a challenge, so we definitely got to bring our best game and keep rolling so when we do come into tournament time we're on our top game," said DU senior Ryan Helgason, a native of Woodbury, Minn., who attended many Golden Gophers games as a child. "We want to keep that frame of mind going into this weekend."
Beat The Gophers Week
Lucia's Favorite Hobby - Looking In The Mirror

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

When Minnesota coach Don Lucia watches his team, he sees college hockey's top-ranked club, which has lost just twice in 25 games and recently had its program-record 22-game unbeaten streak end.

When Lucia studies the Gophers' upcoming opponent, No. 5 Denver, he said, "I feel like I'm looking in the mirror."

That's quite a (backhanded) compliment to the Pioneers, but certainly one DU coach George Gwozdecky won't let go to his players' heads.

DU enters its two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series tonight against the Gophers as the underdog, even though Lucia's comments have merit.

Both teams possess gifted freshman forwards and rely on opportunistic scoring, and each has a stingy, young defense that features one of the country's top-rated goalies. The big disadvantage for the Pioneers is their young stars will have more than 10,000 boisterous (loser) Gophers fans against them in one of college hockey's premier settings.

Minnesota is on a 21-game unbeaten streak (19-0-2) at its on-campus home.

"Outside of our national championship games (2004 and 2005), going into Minnesota will be the highlight of my career, and a lot of the guys' careers here," DU captain Adrian Veideman said. "When you get put into an environment like that, it makes you really feel like you're a part of something."

As many as seven DU skaters will play on the Olympic-size ice sheet at Mariucci Arena for the first time.

"Those people are so loud, and they're all over you about everything," DU sophomore defenseman Chris Butler said of Minnesota fans. "It's 10 times worse than (Colorado College) and very similar to Wisconsin. The best thing we can do is keep reminding our freshmen to get used to it, that it's not going to change."

Freshman Kyle Okposo and Jay Barriball are Minnesota's top goal-scorers, and Gophers goalies Kellen Briggs (1.77) and Jeff Frazee (1.80) are first and second in the WCHA goals-against average.

Freshmen Brock Trotter, Rhett Rakhshani and Tyler Ruegsegger are three of the Pioneers' top four point producers, and goalies Peter Mannino (.932) and Glenn Fisher (.931) are second and third in WCHA save percentage.

"I don't know of any other team in the country that could continue to win as they have, especially during the holiday break, when they have five of their top players out of the lineup," Gwozdecky said. "That tells you the depth of their team."

During the holiday break, Minnesota went 2-0 as five players were missing from the squad to play with the U.S. world junior team.

Lucia, who was Colorado College's coach in the 1990s when the Tigers returned to national prominence, expects to see two tight games.

"Maybe the difference of a bounce of a puck," he said.