Chamber's Blog Covers Trotter's Absence

From: Mike Chambers Blog

(left) Brock Trotter

Mike Chambers dropped a bombshell tonight when he disclosed that Brock Trotter will be missing this weekend for the series with Minnesota State. The lowlights include the following...

The University of Denver hockey team will be without leading scorer Brock Trotter for undisclosed reasons during this weekend’s two-game series at Minnesota State, and no timetable has been announced for his return.

Trotter, who is not on the trip, leads the Pioneers with 13 goals, 18 assists and 31 points. He is the third-leading scorer in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and 11th nationally. DU coach George Gwozdecky declined to reveal why the sophomore winger is absent, and when he might return.

“It’s a decision that’s been made internally, and he will not be with us this weekend,” Gwozdecky said from Minnesota. “Each of our players have private lives and I hope people respect their privacy.” (
read rest of story)

Well thats all fine and dandy, but DU is ranked fourth nationally, Trotter is the leading scorer and whatever he did will probably come out in the wash sooner than later.

DU Recruit Named Defensive Player Of The Week

Last week DU recruit Matt Donovan was named the USHL's Defensive Player of the Week.

Donovan was a bright spot in an otherwise tough week for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. He had a goal in a 4-2 loss to Chicago, then had an assist in a 5-3 loss on Friday, also to Chicago. He scored the Rough Riders only goal in a 2-1 loss to Sioux Falls on Saturday. He was +2 for the week. This is the second time this season Donovan has been recognized with this award.

Donovan will be attending DU in 2009.

This Week In Mike Chamber's Blog

This week our favorite scribe has an in depth piece on DU's uber reliable captain and defenseman Andrew Thomas. The article talks about leadership, Zach Blom's return as a regular and DU's push for the MacNaughton Cup. As always its a good read for Pioneer fans.

LetsGoDU Odds and Ends

(left) Slow news day to say the least

Mannino got a little bit of love in the Hobey Baker Poll but his stock is falling faster than mortgage backed securities in Colorado Springs.

Traffic has also slowed at the "Vote Mannino For Hobey" Facebook page.

Amy over at LetsGoMavs Blog has taken the liberty of ranking the DU players by "attractiveness." The good news for Mannino is that he still is scoring well with the ladies.

LetsGoDU2 has a list of the best articles we've stolen in the past year. We'll keep adding articles to LetsGoDU2 from time to time.

Clarion Looks At DU Hockey Down The Stretch

From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Brooks Kirchheimer

(left) DU captain Andy Thomas hopes the "closed door meeting" after the Air Force loss reverses DU recent poor form

With just 12 regular-season games remaining for the DU hockey team, now is the time to prove that it is a legitimate 5th-ranked national squad and WCHA Red Baron Title contender. And if the Pioneers can make it to the WCHA Final Five, let alone make it to the title game, then Denver hockey fans can start dreaming about a possible berth in the NCAA Championships Frozen Four, to be hosted in Denver.

Die-hard Pioneer fans are hoping that the third time is the charm, as the university's hockey program seeks a return to national glory after two consecutive years of one-and-out playoff flameouts abruptly ending seasons that had started strongly. Last year the Pioneers raced out to an 18-7-2 start before going 3-6-2 in the final 11 games of the season and then getting swept at home in the first round of the WCHA playoffs by Wisconsin to knock DU out of any chance at the NCAA tournament.

Two years ago Denver started 18-10-2 before going 2-3-1 in the final six games of the regular season, and then losing at home to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the WCHA playoffs and missing the NCAA tournament.

Those two disappointing spring experiences followed the memorable pair of seasons when the Pioneers were the best of the best, capturing back-to-back national championships.

In case you assume that two championships, followed by two years not in the NCAA tournament, mean that now is the time for DU to return to the championship round, the outlook is far from certain.

"Having the past two years under our belt is kind of a reminder, but I think it is a learning experience. We have enough guys on the roster now that were a part of it that never want to feel that way again," said senior captain Andrew Thomas about battle scars from the past two frustrating results.

Denver has a very young team, with six freshmen making regular appearances in the lineup and eight sophomores. The youth showed a bit in the last couple weeks when the Pioneers got thrashed 7-2 at home by Wisconsin, followed by a 5-2 loss at Air Force, their first to the Falcons since 1980. The Pioneers called a much-needed team meeting after the game to re-group and to identify what they want to accomplish this season.

"We talked about what guys want to get out of the season and all the work that we had put in so far this year," said Thomas.

Peter Mannino has proven to be one of the best goalies in the country this season, but the two games against Wisconsin and Air Force revealed how his skill sometimes can make his teammates complacent on defense. Too often, Pioneer defenders seemed to count on Mannino making the save, at the cost of helping him out on defense.

As Head Coach George Gwozdecky said after the win last week against Bemidji, guys were getting too lazy, thinking that they could relax and Mannino would back them up. Mannino is ridiculously good at times, but neither he nor any goalie is good enough to carry the team on his back night in and night out.

In order for the Pioneers to be successful down the stretch, they will have to continue to maintain one of the best team chemistries that DU hockey has had in as many years, play solid defense in front of Mannino and fully exploit their considerable speed.

The final 12 regular-season games will include a tough road date this weekend at Minnesota State, followed by a home series versus an off-year but still very solid University of Minnesota squad.

Then the Pioneers will face a stiff challenge at perennial powerhouse North Dakota before hosting league-worst Alaska Anchorage and then heading back out for their final "real" road games at Michigan Tech. The final weekend of WCHA play for the Pioneers could prove to be one to remember as they will play a home-and-away series with arch-rival and No. 3 Colorado College.

Fans will have to wait until Friday if this bye week has helped the Pioneers focus on areas of improvement or if the time off will cause the Pioneers to be rusty again. Mankato has not proven to be a friendly host to the Pioneers in recent years. In the last six meetings there, DU is 1-3-2, with the one win coming during the 2004-05 campaign.

As the Frozen Four in Denver continues to creep closer and closer, so does the reality that this year's hockey team has the talent and mindset to compete in it. As if the home venue of the national championships isn't sufficient motivation, surely the quest to replace memories of two disappointing seasons promises to inspire the Pioneers to use the challenging closing weeks of the regular season to prepare to reclaim the trophy of hockey superiority.

If The Season Ended Today...

Each week Jason Moy of breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field based on the current Pairwise rankings. Its a rather pointless exercise because the rankings fluctuate wildly from week to week. But its fun for fans to speculate and there's no question that if the season ended today DU fans would be doing cartwheels in celebration.

West Regional - Colorado Springs
Northeastern vs. Denver
Providence vs. Colorado College

Midwest Regional - Madison, WI
Wisconsin vs. New Hampshire
Minn.-Duluth vs. Michigan State

East Regional - Worchester, MA
RIT vs. Miami
Clarkson vs. Notre Dame

Northeast Regional - Albany, NY
Bemidji State vs. Michigan
Boston College vs. North Dakota

DU Defenseman Back In The Rotation

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

(left) Zach Blom

Englewood native Zach Blom might have found his way back into the University of Denver lineup, Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said Monday.

Blom, a senior defenseman and son of former DU goalie Buddy Blom, played in just 26 games during his first three seasons, but had high hopes of becoming a regular this year.

An offseason suspension for undisclosed reasons cost Blom the first four games of the season, and put him behind freshmen Chris Nutini and John Ryder on the depth chart.

But Blom now is taking advantage of the season-ending wrist injury to Ryder and the position switch of junior Patrick Mullen, who might play wing the rest of the season.

Blom played in the Pioneers' past two games, his first action of the season.

He replaced junior J.P. Testwuide (illness) on Jan. 18 at Air Force and Mullen the following night against Bemidji State.

"He's played well, and he's going to be given, like all of our guys, a good opportunity to be in our lineup," Gwozdecky said of Blom, who turned 25 this month and is DU's oldest player. "If everything goes according to his plan, and our plan, he has a great shot of being there."

The Pioneers, idle last week, begin a two-game series Friday at Minnesota State. Mullen likely will play wing for the fourth time this season, and Blom will skate on the blue line.

"We know Pat can play both positions well," Gwozdecky said of Mullen, who played forward most of the time as a freshman and sophomore.

Mullen practiced at forward Monday.

Sickness spreads

Ryder's injury is the only significant setback the Pioneers have had this season, but illness remains a problem. Gwozdecky said forwards Tom May, Jesse Martin and Dustin Jackson are the latest to miss practice because of sickness.

Mankato Blogger Unveils dggoddard Interview

(above) The LetsGoMavs Blog is not as sexy or as informative as LetsGoDU, but it does serve the State of Hockey well by teaching rural Minnesotans how to read

As part of the unbelievable pregame hype of this weekend's DU vs. Minnesota State matchup the LetsGoMavs Blog asked me a few questions to stir up the Maverick faithful. Fearing a trap, I refrained from calling their team "cupcakes" or making fun of their fanbase.

It seems to have worked as LetsGoMavs lead blogger Amy, fell for my charm and wit.

Gauthier & Skinner Play In AHL All-Star Game

(above) Gabe Gauthier

Two former DU alums participated in the AHL All-Star game last night. Brent Skinner recorded an assist while Gabe Gauthier was held pointless but was +3 for the evening. The Canadian All-Stars defeated the Americans 9-8.

This Week's Polls & Rankings

DU remains at #3 in College Hockey News' Pairwise Rankings

DU moves up to #3 in College Hockey News' KRACH Rankings

DU remains at #1 in the LetsGoDU SuperPoll® (below)

DU is #4 in the INCH Power Rankings

DU is #4 in the Poll

DU is #5 in the USA Today Poll will come out at 3 PM.

LetsGoDU Top 10 SuperPoll®

1). Denver - Nothing feels as good as having a bye week and watching CC free fall in the polls
2). Michigan State - Big weekend against Michigan
3). North Dakota -
Now that they're winning again, a fresh batch of arrests are sure to follow
Miami - These boyz continue to feed on CCHA plankton
5). Michigan
- Michigan State showed UM what "Tourney Hockey" is going to look like
New Hampshire - Did we mention they swept CC this season?
7). Boston College -
No one is going to want BC in their bracket
8). Wisconsin -
Randy Schmidt woke up the slumbering Badgers
9). Michigan Tech -
Taking 3 points from CC will always get you props at LetsGoDU
Last). Colorado College - We told you that "CC sucked" but it took Michigan Tech to prove it.

Wisconsin Is Through Crying About Disputed Goal

by Dave Starman

MADISON, Wis. (Jan. 26) — The Debacle in Denver is two weeks old but still fresh in the minds of the Wisconsin Badgers.

They don’t dwell on it; it is in the past. This is a team fighting for its national playoff life, and the Badgers are living in the “is” and not the “was.” However, the “was” might be the rally cry to create a great “will be.”

Since being victimized at Magness Arena, the Badgers have found life. They have won or tied the close games in Alaska that they just played, and blew out Denver the night after legally scoring the game tying goal with under a second to go. They have found life with the return of three players from the World Junior Championships, and Kyle Turris’ return has electrified the squad.

Historically, it has been said that there is no more dangerous entity than a motivated man or group and a cause. In this case, the Badgers have a cause. The Who sang the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The Badgers are singing “Don’t Get Screwed Again.”

“We needed to get focused quickly after that happened and Coach Eaves did a great job of doing that and turning it into a rally cry for us,” said junior captain Ben Street. “He told us it won’t be the last time we get hosed in life and that we need the proper response. His message was don’t be in a position where we have to get that game tying goal in the last seconds. Have business taken care of by that point.”

Eaves is a great leader and has always been so. In recent years, he has overseen a dramatic comeback in a gold-medal game to win a World Junior Championship with Team USA, and he orchestrated a dramatic run to a national title two seasons ago.

“He really lit a fire under us,” said Street, a junior alternate captain and on-ice leader. “He did a great job of getting our minds focused on a proper response and we have responded with five points in three games.” (rest of article)

CC's Stumble Against Tech Opens The Door For DU

(above) Michigan Tech took Colorado College to the woodshed this weekend

From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney

The door remains open for the University of Denver hockey team to make a run at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season crown.

And while that title was not the most prominent goal on their list of preseason expectations, the Pioneers can thank Front Range rival Colorado College for the opening after the Tigers struggled during the weekend at Michigan Tech.

CC essentially could have put away the idle Pioneers but managed to earn only one point during its road series against the Huskies. The Tigers lead second-place North Dakota by five points and third-place DU by seven points, but the Pioneers have played four fewer WCHA contests than both squads.

DU also will play each of those opponents during the final 12- game stretch that begins Friday at Minnesota State Mankato.

"We've got 12 games left and a lot of things can happen," DU coach George Gwozdecky said. "I look back at what our goals were to start the season, and none of our goals were to win the WCHA regular season title. Obviously, we've put ourselves in position to do that, but there is a lot of time left.

"We really can't worry about CC or North Dakota or Wisconsin or anyone else. If we do what we're capable of doing, what we expect to do, I'm very confident good things will happen."

Gwozdecky admits the scattered schedule his team has endured lately might have taken the Pioneers out of the rhythm they forged during their impressive first half. DU has played only six games after Dec. 15, four of which were nonconference tilts.

"I'm not sure how much the schedule really influenced the past two (series)," said forward Tyler Ruegsegger, referring to DU's 2-2-0 mark in its past four games. "I think as a team we realize we've just been getting

Two DU Alums To Play In AHL All-Star Game

(photos) Skinner left & Gauthier right

From: AHL Website
DU alums Brett Skinner and Gabe Gauthier have been selected to play in the AHL Alll-Star game tonight in Binghamton, NY. Skinner plays for the Providence Bruins and Gauthier has spent the season with the Manchester Monarchs.

Last night in the skills competition Gauthier posted just the second 4-for-4 effort ever in the Rbk Sickick Stick Accuracy Shooting competition. He shattered four plates around the goal in just four shots.

The AHL All-Star game will be televised tonight on several stations and broadcast live on the internet.

Wisconsin Edges DU In Recruiting Battle

From: The Capital Times
by Todd Milewski

Wisconsin received a verbal commitment today when defenseman Patrick Wiercioch said he'll play for the Badgers.

Wiercioch, a 6-foot-2½, 178-pound 17-year-old from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, hasn't played for Omaha of the USHL since Nov. 30 because of a broken thumb, but he said he's close to returning to the lineup. In just 19 games he had 0 goals and just 3 assists before getting hurt.

Wiercioch is expected to join the Badgers either next season or in the fall of 2009. That likely will depend on whether Wisconsin loses any defensemen to early departures.

Wiercioch, who also visited Michigan and Denver, was ranked 119th among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings for the 2008 entry draft.

WCHA Standings

Team Pts. WCHA Overall
Colorado College 31 15-4-1 18-7-1
North Dakota 26 13-7-0 16-8-1
Denver 24 12-4-0 18-6-0
Minnesota Duluth 17 6-7-5 10-8-6
Wisconsin 17 7-8-3 11-10-5
Minnesota 15 6-9-3 12-11-5
Michigan Tech 14 6-8-2 10-11-3
Minnesota State 14 5-9-4 11-10-4
St. Cloud State 14 6-10-2 11-12-3
Alaska Anchorage 8 2-12-4 6-12-6

Hockey's Future Radio Interviews DU Recruit

(above) Joe Colborne

DU recruit Joe Colborne was interviewed by Hockey's Future Radio. Colborne talks about heading to the University of Denver, his World Junior A Tournament experience and playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Last night Colborne and DU recruit Shawn Ostrow played in the AJHL All-Star game and their South All-Stars lost 14-7. Ostrow had an assist while Colborne was held pointless.

Hockey's Future Profiles Rakhshani

From: Hockey's Future
by Jeffrey Bausch

Rhett Rakhshani, RW

University of Denver
New York Islanders
Drafted 2006 4th round (100th overall)

Rhett Rakhshani, now in his second year with the University of Denver, is right on pace to match last season's efforts, in which he scored 36 points and 38 penalty minutes in 40 games. This year, through 20 games played, Rakhshani has scored eight goals, nine assists for 17 points and 30 penalty minutes.

Rakhshani continues to develop at a steady pace. He is also seeing some significant time on the special team units, which is enhancing his abilities as a playmaker. Rakhshani is also coming through for his teammates when it matters most - he's tied for third on the team in game-winning goals. He's third on the team in shots on goal.

Right now, at this stage in his career, Rakhshani is a solid college-level player. He will have to continue working hard in developing his weaknesses, particularly his speed at being able to read plays, both offensively and defensively.

North Dakota Edges DU In Recruiting Battle

From: Grand Forks Herald
by Brad Schlossman

Andrew MacWilliam (left), a physical, stay-at-home defenseman, gave a verbal commitment to UND this week. He will join the Sioux in fall 2008 or 2009. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman from Calgary is a team mate of current DU recruits Joe Colborne and Shawn Ostrow with the Camrose Kodiaks.

The 17-year-old from Calgary had offers from Colorado College, Denver, Boston University and Boston College. He ultimately chose UND over Denver.

MacWilliam plays for the top-ranked Junior A team in Canada, the Camrose Kodiaks. Despite not racking up a lot of points (no goals, 11 assists in 43 games), he was selected to participate in this weekend’s Alberta Junior Hockey League All-Star game in Grand Prairie along with Colborne and Ostrow.

He’s also ranked as the No. 59 North American skater prospect for this summer’s NHL draft by the Central Scouting Bureau. That means he’s projected to be a second- or third-round pick.

DU has been linked to two other highly regarded defensemen this recruiting season, David Carle and Patrick Wiercioch. Neither has made their collegiate decision known at this time.

Stastny Featured On HDNet's "Inside The NHL"

Last night Paul Stastny appeared on the premier edition of HDNet's "Inside The NHL." Stastny returned to the University of Denver for the interview and showed the film crew around campus. While we are trying to locate the 5 minute clip on YouTube, we'll give you an abbreviated play-by-play.

Stastny begins the interview in the DU Locker Room and they talked about his DU career and his name on the locker room wall listing all of DU's All-American hockey players.

Next it was off to the Driscoll Center for a soda and the cup he was drinking out of had a picture of Stastny from his sophomore season.

Stastny showed where we went to class and it was obviously a glorious day in Denver. He mentioned that he made a deal with his father to finish his real estate degree when he signed with the Avs. Stastny noted, "DU had great weather, lots of sunshine and attractive girls."

Finally they ended up in front of his old apartment building and he told how he started with the Avalanche but still lived with his DU teammates [Mannino & Mullen].

All in all a nice piece on DU and Stastny. We'll try and get it up on YouTube next week. The program will be rebroadcast on Sat, Jan 26 (6:30 PM ET, 4:30 PM MST) on HDNet.

This Week In Mike Chamber's Blog

This week Chamber's Blog has three stories. A good piece on Avalanche rookie T.J. Hensick and his association with this year's University of Michigan team, an update on Air Force's Eric Ern and the injury sustained while playing Colorado College & an update on former DU player Mark Rycroft and his trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.

WCHA Ref Officially Suspended

College Hockey News is reporting that WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod has acknowledged that league referee Randy Schmidt has been removed from his assignment for this weekend's game, and is currently on official suspension. Schmidt is the referee that disallowed Wisconsin's apparent goal against DU last week as time expired.

Speculation began because Schmidt did not officiate any games last weekend, following a pair of incidents for which the WCHA sent out letters of apology for mistakes made by the officials during games Schmidt was involved in.

"He wasn't scheduled to work last week, but he was scheduled to work this week," McLeod said. "He's under a suspension right now, and now we deal with it and make a final decision on the long term. ... He was taken off this weekend's series. (read the rest of the story)

LetsGoDU Boss Named "Godfather" On Facebook

The "Vote Peter Mannino For Hobey Baker" site on named DG Goddard "The Godfather" of their site. Its obviously a huge honor and I just want to say the following to the students before I accept.

DG: I understand. You found paradise at DU. You made good grades, had fun at the hockey games, the professors protected you and there were frat parties and you didn't need a friend like me. But, now you come to me and you say "Don Goddard, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather until now. Instead, you come into my home in the month that Peter Mannino needs to win the Hobey Baker and you ask me to rig the election.

DU Student Section: Be my friend... Godfather.
[kisses Don Goddard's ring]

DG: Good. Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But, until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my behalf.

LetsGoDU Odds and Ends

DU Alum Adrian Veideman was credited with an assist last night in the ECHL All-Star game in Stockton, California. His American Conference team lost 10-7
Another DU Alum, Paul Stastny is supposed to appear on the premier edition on "Inside The NHL" tonight (Thursday) on the cable TV network HDNet. Supposedly he's walking around the University of Denver campus talking about his college days. It will be broadcast twice at 4:30 PM MST & 6:30 PM MST just before the Avs-Wild game in High-Def on HDNet (the Dan Rather Reports station on Direct TV)
The Camrose Kodiaks released a press release on DU's newest recruit Shawn Ostrow and his expected arrival at DU in 2009.
LetsGoDU had over 5,000 visitors last week for our biggest week ever. Thanks must go out to WCHA referee Randy Schmidt for all the blog hits
Don't forget to vote for Peter Mannino for Hobey a few times. The fan votes don't mean much, but hey you're helping the cause.
2009 will mark the 60th year of varsity hockey at the University of Denver. A Committee is being formed by former hockey captain Bruce Hill (1985-88) to orchestrate various events. The Committee will work with the Athletic Department to host a massive reunion sometime next year. LetsGoDU will be working with the Committee to publicize the events and drum up interest. Stay tuned for more details.

DU Alumus Recalls "Hockey Streaker" in '70s

From: DU Today by Doug McPherson

(left) DU Alum Jay Frank is the president of the Corpus Christi Rayz in the CHL

Sometimes a college student’s career path can take a slippery turn. Take Doug Frank (BA ’76), for example.

He chose the University of Denver back in the 1970s planning to attend the DU law school after his undergraduate work.

He didn’t know it then, but there was something outside of law and his bachelor’s degree that would influence his future career: DU hockey.

“I had some interest in ice skating and in hockey before I came to DU, but that interest took a huge jump once I came to Denver,” Frank says. “The student body was an important component of the Pioneer games then, and I was swept up in the excitement.”

Swept so hard that hockey ultimately took a front and center role in his life. Today he’s president of the Corpus Christi Rayz, a minor league professional hockey team in the Texas town.

“I love the physicality of the game, and the athletic skill it takes to play at the professional level is amazing,” he explains.

Frank says his DU education prepared him perfectly for the job because of the different kinds of people he met from around the country and the globe.

“I felt engaged academically at DU, and I grew tremendously as a result of interaction with the diverse student body,” he says.

His memories of DU are fond, he says. One sticks out: “I even remember the errant streaker who made it across the ice between periods one night.”

He says he’s very impressed with today’s DU hockey program. “Just like the school … it has continued to grow in strength since my time in the ’70s.”

He says several players he’s coached in youth hockey have gone on to attend DU and that he has at least three more who are hoping to be admitted later this year.

“We have more professional hockey teams in Texas than any other state in the country, and at least with regards to Corpus Christi, our community has DU to thank for that.”

ECHL All-Star Adrian Veideman Talks About DU

(above) DU alum Adrian Veideman will play in the ECHL All-Star game tonight. It will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast at 8:30 MST

Q & A with Adrian Veideman

D.J. Powers of Hockey's caught up with former Pioneer Adrian Veideman at the ECHL All-Star game in Stockton, California. She has written articles for LetsGoDU in the past including the outstanding series about the 1960's era DU hockey alums that compete in the Snoopy Old Timers Hockey Tournament in California every summer. We can't thank D.J. enough, and make sure to check out Hockey Future's Website for the best coverage of tomorrow's NHL stars.

Special to Let’s Go DU
By DJ Powers

The former University of Denver Pioneer is off to a strong start to his pro career as a member of the ECHL’s Augusta Lynx. In 35 appearances this season, Veideman has posted 23 points (four goals, 19 assists). He recently was called up by the Portland Pirates and during his brief stint helped guide the Pirates to their fourth straight win.

I caught up with Adrian Veideman after the Skills Competition portion of the ECHL All-Game festivities on Tuesday in Stockton to chat about both the pros and his days at the University of Denver.

Q: So how does it feel to be here at the ECHL All-Star Game?

AV: It’s definitely an honor to be here. I’m just happy to be representing the Augusta Lynx and the ECHL at this awesome event.

Q: You scored a goal in the rapid fire competition against Daniel Manzato from the Las Vegas Wranglers. Take me through how it happened.

AV: It’s definitely a new thing for me. I’d never done anything like that before. (Laughs) It’s definitely a fun experience out there. It was kind of cool just to be out there with another guy (Tomas Kudelka of the Elmira Jackals) that I don’t even know, but we’re teammates for now and tomorrow. I just closed my eyes, took a shot and it went into the net.

Q: You recently had a stint with the Portland Pirates (AHL). What was the experience like there for you?

AV: It’s a great experience as a hockey player to get the call to go to the next level. The players at the next level are definitely bigger, stronger and faster. It’s one of the best leagues in the world. I’m just happy to get the opportunity to be up there and show them what I have to offer.

Q: When you played up in Portland, you actually had one of your former Denver teammates, Matt Laatsch, as one of your coaches. So what was that like for you?

AV: Well Matt and I are great friends and we’ve always been great friends from our Denver days. It’s great seeing him progressing his coaching career up in Portland. Our relationship up there is strictly professional, obviously. He helps me tremendously. In the summertime we hang out quite a bit. It’s definitely a neat experience to play for somebody that you’ve played with and just knowing where he came from.

Q: With Portland being the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, have you had any contact with them and have they been watching you to perhaps offer you a contract or maybe Portland offering you a contract?

AV: I’m currently under contract with Portland. I went to Anaheim’s rookie camp this summer, so they know what I offer and hopefully the future is strong.

Q: Hopefully we’ll be seeing you back up in Portland again in the near future.

AV: Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back up there and they’ll give me the call soon. But they wanted me here and I wanted to represent the Augusta Lynx for having a strong first half of the season.

Q: What are some of the specific areas, skill-wise, have you been working on since playing with Augusta?

AV: Just coming from the confidence factor. In college, I wasn’t the go-to guy. Now that I’m a professional, I’m looked to being a leader and be a go-to guy on the ice. It’s just maintaining my confidence out there as well as to continue to progress my skills.

Q: One of the things that I noticed that you did when you played at the University of Denver, was that you had played at both the forward and defense positions. In the ECHL media guide, they list you as a defenseman. Have you played up front at all this season with either Augusta or Portland?

AV: It’s interesting that you’d ask that question because usually two or three times in a game (with Augusta), I’ll go for a shift at forward, depending on how we’re doing. Up in Portland, I played a game at forward. Being a versatile player is definitely something that I think teams like. I’ll continue to maintain both aspects of the game.

Q: Do you have a preference of which position that you like playing better?

AV: Right now, I think I’m more comfortable playing back on defense. I’m still a young defenseman and I’ve only been playing defense for two years. It’s definitely something that I need to keep working at as well as maintaining my forward skills.

Q: Obviously, you came from a great program at the University of Denver. What were some of the adjustments that you had to make going from the college game to the pro game?

AV: I think the biggest adjustment that anyone has to make from the college game to the pro game is just the lifestyle within the rink. You don’t have to go to school. You don’t have to worry about studying, preparing for tests or things like that. With the pro game, you definitely play more games and you have to be mentally more ready. As far as college, it was a great experience and the pro game is too.

Q: If there were one or two things that Coach Gwozdecky has taught you that really prepared you for the pro game, what would they be and why?

AV: I think the main thing that Coach Gwozdecky has taught me was to be a leader in all aspects, not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. He has taught me to just always be helping people and to make sure that you’re seen in the community as a guy that is good on and off the ice.

Q: With your pro schedule the way it is, I realize that it’s difficult, but do you keep up with the Pioneers?

AV: I think I keep track of the Pioneers more than I do myself sometimes. Those are my roots and they gave me great opportunities there, so I’ll definitely be a Pioneer for life.

Q: What do you feel are some of the greatest memories that you have of your time with the Denver Pioneers, would say winning the national championships?

AV: Well, those are always the best and obvious memories. I think the most profound personal memory that I have of Denver is getting my degree. They gave me that opportunity and it’s something that nobody can take away from me as well the rings that I got for the national championships. Along, with those good memories, there were some bad memories. The last couple of years we fell short. Those are things that make you a stronger person and a stronger hockey player.

Q: With the Pioneers doing so well this season, that has to feel pretty good to you.

AV: It does feel great. The guys that I’ve played with the last couple of years that haven’t had as much success in their college careers as I have, it’s good to see them having some success and it makes me feel good that maybe there was something along the way that I did to help them progress and become better players and better persons.

Q: Do you miss it?

AV: Of course, I miss it. College was a very unique experience and I think every hockey player should have to go through that. Just the schooling aspect and getting that degree is something that I think everybody needs to go through. It’s definitely true.

Q: Finally, something that is very unique to Denver Pioneers hockey that I have to ask you. In your career, how many oranges and how many lemons did you win?

AV: ooh. I’m pretty sure that I only had three or four max in the orange department, but lemon-wise, I had a stint in my sophomore year where I had it for four weeks straight, but that was only because we had a bye week in there. It’s kind of neat that you would ask that question. So I definitely had more lemons than oranges.
by D.J. Powers of Hockey's

"Vote Peter Mannino For Hobey" On Facebook

Those sneaky students at the University of Denver have gone into cyberspace to drum up support for our favorite goaltender Peter Mannino.

The group "Peter Mannino for Hobey Baker" was recently initiated and gaining momentum. You have to be a Facebook member to join, so sign up today.

If you want to cut out the middleman vote for Mannino at...

Woody Paige "Denver Deserves Outdoor Hockey"

From: Denver Post
by Woody Paige

(left) Denver Post & ESPN funnyman Woody Paige in on board for outdoor hockey games at Mile High Stadium

The Mile High Icextravaganza & Winter Festival ought to become a reality for New Year's Eve, 2008 or '09.

Denver could set the record for the biggest hockey crowd in the world and establish a terrific annual holiday event.

"It's an intriguing possibility," says Jon Schmieder, executive director of the Metro Denver Sports Commission.

The Buffalo Sabres-Pittsburgh Penguins game Jan. 1 — outdoors in the Bills' football stadium — attracted 71,217, an NHL record, and was the highest-rated network game for the league in more than a decade. The largest percentage of viewers resides, obviously, in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Denver, surprisingly, was fourth.

There is serious hockey interest here. The Avalanche produced the longest sellout streak in NHL history — and owns two Stanley Cup titles — and the DU Pioneers have won seven national championships, the last in 2004-05, and are ranked in the top five again this season.

The Frozen Four, the NCAA's Division I men's hockey finals, will be held at The Can on April 10-12, and all tickets are long gone. This is Denver's first college hockey championship since 1976 (when it was held at the old DU Arena).

Denver was the host of the rare and well-done 2001 NHL All-Star Game, and junior and high school hockey programs are growing in Colorado. The Detroit Red Red Wings alumni participated again last weekend in the annual Rocky Mountain Pond Championships in the Vail Valley.

So, why not a big-time "pond" game in Denver?

The Metro Denver Sports Commission, management of the Avalanche and DU coach George Gwozdecky discussed the idea of an outdoor game years ago after a Michigan State-Michigan game at Spartan Stadium brought out a (still-standing) hockey record audience of 74,544 on Oct. 6, 2001.

But the plan melted away because of cost and a variety of other issues. "We just didn't have the assets and the commitment to do it at the time," Schmieder said.

The success and popularity of the Buffalo-Pittsburgh game renewed fascination with the outdoor game here and elsewhere. The NHL, which puts on its All-Star Game in Atlanta this weekend, is pondering more stadium games in other "winter" locales.

(Miami and Phoenix don't seem logical, although Las Vegas was the site once for an outdoor NHL exhibition.)

The Post's Terry Frei wrote about the Sabres-Penguins game in Orchard Park, N.Y., and raised the question: "Why not an Avs-Red Wings game outdoors in Denver?"

So, again, why not?

The Broncos have put as many as 76,775 bodies in their stadium. An audience of 75,000 would break the world record.

"A lot of pieces would be involved," said Schmieder, whose organization has originated and overseen myriad sports events in Denver, including the most prominent, the Rocky Mountain Showdown between the Colorado and Colorado State football teams. "Our board has asked me where we stand (on an outdoor game). The genesis started with the Avs when we first talked about it, and it's really up to the Avs. If they and the NHL wanted to back it and get it going, it would be worth investigating."

Schmieder said the earlier brainstorming discussions a few years back "brought out a range of" suggestions — games involving the Avs, the Pioneers and the U.S. and Canadian women's hockey teams, figure skating competition and a national junior hockey tournament.

All are excellent proposals.

Conceivably, an entire winter festival, somewhat in the tradition of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, could be staged up to the New Year, with the games at the football stadium, the New Year's Eve celebration downtown, ice sculptures, skating clinics, an international ice show, a parade, shops, markets, food bonanzas and a mini-Olympics (figure skating, speedskating, curling, sled racing, etc., etc.) in cooperation with the USOC in Colorado Springs.

As long as Dick Lamm doesn't try to fight it and John Hickenlooper climbs on board.

"Of course, the Avs and the Pioneers would be the big ticket," Schmieder said.

I'm envisioning a nationally televised doubleheader extravaganza featuring the University of Denver and Colorado College in the first game, followed by the Avalanche against the Red Wings. Ice, Nice, Baby.

The Avs and the Wings would get a monetary bonanza (and the league the attention it continues to crave), and both college athletic programs would receive major financial assistance. Plus, with ticket sales and corporate sponsorships (with a title sponsor) the Sports Commission and local charities would be beneficiaries.

What about the Broncos? Schmieder said the setup of the ice-making equipment, which is very expensive, and the rink would take seven to 10 days before Dec. 31 (a Wednesday this year). The Broncos could schedule a road game on the 28th. Or the hockey games could be played at the baseball park (no record, but 50,000 and a LoDo bash).

If we can invite the Democrats to town for a few days, we can endure the Puckheads, too.

And the temperature (Monday notwithstanding) on Dec. 31 probably would be 70 — a perfect night for a hockey game. Let's play two.

Denver Post Columnist Rips WCHA

From: Denver Post 1/13/2008
by Mark Kiszla

We're not sure how LetsGoDU's Quality Control Coordinator missed this article last week, but better late than never...

Sorry. But an apology doesn't cut it.
The premier college hockey league in America looked stupid, the integrity of an important WCHA game was compromised and referee Randy Schmidt was put in a no-win situation.
The Denver Pioneers lost 7-2 to Wisconsin on Saturday night.
From the start, this game was such a joke it felt like one big make-up call by the red-faced Schmidt, who handed DU a victory it didn't deserve one night earlier.
Hey, Schmidt happens.
What was a humiliated ref doing on the ice 24 hours after such a bad mistake that the WCHA issued an apology?
That is precisely what angry Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves wanted to know.
Before the puck dropped in the second game of this weekend series, the league made Schmidt look like a buffoon and destroyed his credibility by admitting a 3-2 DU victory on Friday evening was one big blunder.
"It was a complete fiasco," Eaves said.
In a statement, the WCHA acknowledged "an error occurred on a Wisconsin goal that was disallowed" as time expired.
The league was forced to confess that the apparent tying score by Wisconsin's Matthew Ford was incorrectly waved off by Schmidt when the video he looked at showed the puck in the crease as the game clock struck zero "but the game tape showed the puck was in the net and back out of the net prior to 0:00."
This is why I find the proliferation and reliance on instant replay throughout sports a waste of everyone's time as a ref stares endlessly at a television monitor. What good is technology without the brains to harness it?
A bad official doesn't acquire good judgment no matter how many times you show him he's wrong.
"People can say the official had a rough night. But I think our league office put that official in a no-win situation, especially having released that press release apologizing for his error (Friday) night, then putting him right back into the spotlight. That's just not fair. I apologize on behalf of our league office for doing that, because that wasn't right. I was shocked," said DU coach George Gwozdecky, who didn't expect to see Schmidt, after originally being told by the WCHA he would not work Saturday as the ref.
How bankrupt Schmidt was of credibility became evident early in the opening period, when Wisconsin's Podge Turnbull broke a 1-1 tie by poking the puck past sprawling DU goalie Peter Mannino after the play had clearly been whistled dead.
But, after consulting the replay, it was ruled a goal.
Can you say make-up call?
And, thereafter, the game went from sad to worse.
Things got so out of hand as DU's frustration bubbled over with a scrum late in the second period that Schmidt could not hand out penalties to the Pioneers and Badgers fast enough.
The home team's penalty box was as crammed full of mischief as a clown car at the circus. How did six Denver players squeeze in there? It was the most trouble one team has been in since the movie "Slap Shot." This was pure slapstick.
The lopsided loss could eventually be a good lesson in adversity for the Pioneers, ranked No. 2 in the nation but painfully young and maybe a little too full of themselves.
They will face tougher circumstances than a bungling referee if DU wants to reach the Frozen Four, scheduled for the school's hometown in April. The Pioneers should be embarrassed.
But not nearly as ashamed as Schmidt, who should wonder if he has the authority to ever make a critical call in a game involving Denver and Wisconsin again.
Schmidt will get cracked for being incompetent.
It's the WCHA, however, that has egg on its face.

David Carle Ranked By NHL's Central Scouting

From: Anchorage Daily News
by Doyle Woody

Note: Article originally appeared in ADN on Jan. 9, 2008

Defenseman David Carle of Anchorage, the younger brother of DU Alum and San Jose Sharks blueliner Matt Carle, is ranked 74th among 210 North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Service in its mid-term rankings.

David, 18, who is a senior at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prep school in Faribault, Minn., that annually develops some of the best young players in the country, has not yet committed to a Division I college team. It's not for lack of suitors -- he's just wisely taking his time. At last report he was considering DU, Michigan State, Boston College & Boston University.

David is listed by Central Scouting as just shy of 5-11, and is 180 pounds. Shattuck hasn't updated its web site stats in about a month, but Carle produced 8-15--23 totals in his first 25 games this season.

What that No. 74 ranking means for next summer's NHL draft in open to interpretation. The North American rankings don't take into account European players, who are ranked on another list. And where a skater is ranked in the final ratings released in late spring or early summer doesn't necessarily indicate which round the player will be selected.

Matt Carle is a good example. In 2003, Central Scouting rated him 66th among skaters in its final North American rankings. That prompted Matt to guess that he would be a fifth-round pick. But the Sharks took Carle in the second round, 47th overall. Turned out to be a steal -- Carle won two Division I national championships at Denver and as a junior won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's best player before turning pro and scoring a goal in his first NHL game.

David is the middle son of Bob and Karen Carle's three boys. Matt, 23, is the oldest, and the youngest is Alex, 13, who plays defense for the Alaska All Stars Bantam B team.

DU Defensive Recruits Man Blueline In USHL

(photos) Future Pioneers Matt Donovan (left) & Paul Phillips (right) are teammates with Cedar Rapids in the USHL and will attend DU in 2009

When Matt Donovan committed to the University of Denver from Edmond, Oklahoma eyebrows were raised about finding prospects in the heart of "Sooner Country." That was until Donovan was selected in the first round of the USHL draft by the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders and soon thereafter given a "B Grade" by the NHL's Central Scouting Service.

Donovan is fitting in quite nicely with the Rough Riders this season. He's leading the team in +/- at +20 (the second leading player is +11). He has also chipped in 5 goals and 12 assists and has recently ratcheted up the scoring, with 2 goals and 3 assists in the past four games.

Donovan is eligible for the 2008 NHL Draft and has been projected as a possible "middle round" draft choice by the Central Scouting Service. But if his recent play in the USHL is any indication he might be "moving on up."

Joining Donovan on the Rough Riders is fellow defenseman and future Pioneer Paul Phillips. Phillips, who grew up playing hockey in the Chicago area, has one goal and one assist and is +7 for the season. Phillips is one of the younger players in the USHL and is a year and two months younger than Donovan. He will be eligible for the 2009 NHL Draft.

Heisenberg's website has reported that both players are expected to join DU in 2009.

DU Recruiting Classes

F Nate Dewhurst (Des Moines, USHL)
F Joe Colborne (Camrose, AJHL)
D John Lee (Waterloo, USHL)
F Stepan Novotny (Indiana, USHL)

D William Wrenn (U.S. Under-17)
D Matt Donovan (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
D Paul Phillips (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
G Adam Murray (U.S. under-17)
F Drew Shore (U.S. Under-17)
F Shawn Ostrow (Camose, AJHL)*

*Could be either a 2009 or 2010 recruit

Colorado College Knocks Ehn Out Till Playoffs

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

(left) Air Force captain Eric Ehn

Air Force captain Eric Ehn will miss the rest of the regular season with a serious leg injury, it was confirmed Monday.

Ehn, who was one of three finalists last season for the Hobey Baker Award as NCAA player of the year last season, suffered ligament damage in his ankle after sliding into the boards during Saturday's 2-1 loss at Colorado College.

"It's a tough break; I feel horrible for him," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said Monday. "This is a violent, collision-heavy sport and these things happen. I feel bad for any young man to have this happen as a senior."

This Week In Mike Chamber's Blog

Mike Chambers Air Force Hockey Blog has a few postings over the weekend. Needless to say an anxious nation awaits the status of Mike's injured finger damaged in a freak hockey injury. We hope recovers in time for the LetsGoDU Posters All Star Hockey Classic. The game will be played in Magness Arena on Friday of the Frozen Four.

Chamber's second article is an inflammatory fluff piece entitled, "No Doubt About It, Air Force Better Than DU." I'm sure both Air Force hockey fans who live in the Denver Metro area will enjoy it.

DU Falls to #6 In USA Today Poll

DU remains tied at #3 in College Hockey News' Pairwise Rankings

DU falls to #4 in College Hockey News' KRACH Rankings

DU remains at #1 in the LetsGoDU SuperPoll® (below)

DU drops to #5 in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings

DU is #5 in the Poll.

DU falls to #6 in the USA Today Poll.

LetsGoDU Top 10 SuperPoll®

1). Denver - Non-conference road games in Colorado aren't recognized by the crack LetsGoDU SuperPoll® staff
2). Michigan - King of the CCHA minnows
Miami - These boyz know how to beat up CCHA minnows as well
North Dakota - We knew the Bad Boyz of the WCHA would wake up
New Hampshire - Did we mention they swept CC this season?
6). Boston College -
Season ending injury to Brock Bradford is gonna hurt
7). Michigan State -
Defending champs have some work to do
8). Clarkson -
The NCAA under Title IX made us rank an ECAC team
9). Air Force -
After shocking DU, CC broke Eric Ern's leg.
Last). Colorado College - CC is #1 in the country in suspensions and injuring Hobey Baker candidates

WCHA Fan Of The Week

DU's Minister Of Information Analyses AF Loss

(above) Some quotes from DU's Minister of Information Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf after Air Force shocked DU 5-2 in Colorado Springs.

"DU is totally focused on winning the WCHA MacNaughton Trophy and used the non-conference game as a tune up."

"DU's Mathematics Department ran the figures before the game and realized that the game had zero Pairwise ramifications." Sure enough DU is still at #3.

Peter Mannino had lasik eye surgery in the locker room before the game and still managed to make a few saves.

"DU thought the game was a scrimmage since there were less than 1,000 fans in the barn. Most DU players haven't played in front of a crowd that small since junior high."

Colorado College Breaks Air Force Player's Leg

(left) Colorado College players celebrate their epic victory over Air Force

On the heels of one of the biggest victories in Air Force's history, a 5-2 win against DU on Friday, the Falcons took aim at another Front Range power Saturday but suffered their second consecutive 2-1 loss to crosstown rival Colorado College.

More discouraging to AFA than the narrow setback was the loss of senior center Eric Ehn, a Hobey Baker Award finalist last season who suffered a lower leg injury when he crashed feet-first into the boards early in the third period. Ehn, went for X-rays on a right leg injury above the ankle after a nasty collision behind CC’s net with Sweatt just 73 seconds into the third period.

“They had a 3-on-2 rush and I took him,” Sweatt said. “I tried to lift up his stick and he fell. His body twisted around. . . . It was just a freak accident.”

Ehn was carried off the ice on a stretcher, and his status will be re-evaluated early this week. Ehn hasn't quite produced at the prolific pace he did last season, yet the Falcons' improved balance on offense can be attributed largely to the attention Ehn garners from defenses.