Already struggling to produce shots without two of its top offensive performers, the University of Denver will have to overcome additional issues when it attempts to snap out of its annual late-season funk at home against Alaska Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.
Tempers flared throughout the Pioneers' 4-1 loss at North Dakota on Saturday - it was DU's sixth loss in nine games - and forward Brandon Vossberg was assessed a game disqualification penalty for fighting North Dakota's Kyle Radke, who also dropped gloves with DU's J.P. Testwuide earlier in the match.
Vossberg suffered a cut above his left eye and will serve an automatic one-game suspension in Friday's opener against the Seawolves. It is possible the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will assess more sanctions after the teams combined for 121 penalty minutes.
With former leading scorer Brock Trotter recently signing with the Montreal Canadiens and third-leading scorer Tyler Ruegsegger out of the lineup because of an abdominal injury, the Pioneers managed only 35 shots in the two losses against the Fighting Sioux.
"We're trying to move on and we can't keep looking back at it," freshman forward Dustin Jackson said.
"We have to go on without (Trotter) and keep going. Every weekend is going to be our biggest games of the year."
DU has dropped to sixth in the PairWise rankings and third in the WCHA, six points behind co- leaders North Dakota and Colorado College.
Denver native Jon Cook made his DU debut Saturday, replacing Julian Marcuzzi in the lineup. Marcuzzi suffered a concussion in Friday's game.