Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CNN Televises DU Student At Mascot Boot Camp


(above) DU student Scott Fuson was seen in a CNN Newscast today attending Mascot Boot Camp over the weekend

WFMZ photojournalist Zachary Dewever headed to Kutztown University to see exactly what mascots go through before performing at sporting events. The newscast covered Dave Raymond's Mascot Boot Camp last weekend.

The story was rebroadcast on CNN Headline News this morning.

DU's own Scott Fuson received a little facetime during the telecast. He's the blond guy with the grey sweatshirt and was Lighthouse Pete the Pirate in character.

DU Hockey Alums Support Team In Minneapolis

(above) DU Alum Pete LoPresti played goaltender for the Minnesota North Stars & Edmonton Oilers between 1974-81

LetsGoDU Sideline Reporter Jim Glabman was in Minneapolis last weekend and caught up with many of the DU hockey alums in attendance. Although DU was unable to come away with a victory on Friday afternoon, Glabman tells us that it was great to catch up with everyone.

Robert Graiziger (73-76) , Pete LoPresti (73-74), Dan Vlaiselejevich (80-83), Mark Luger (91-94) , Bryan Schoen (90-93), Chris Paradise (99-02), Brad Podiak, (90-91) Jay Moore (88-91), Jesse Cook (99-02), Ryan Helgason (03-07) and Jeff Lamb (84-87).

Dan Vlaiselevich's nephew Eli Vlaiselevich is a Junior defenseman for Michigan Tech.

Jeff Lamb told the famous "Audi Story" and it was good laugh, "No one remembers the goals I fricking scored, just that my dad won an Audi."

Mr. Lamb famously shot a puck from the far blue line through a small opening in the goal between periods in the mid-Eighties. He won a brand new 1985 Audi 4000. It certainly is one of the most famous goals ever scored in the old DU Arena and wasn't even scored by a player.

Tom May's dad, Matty Laatsch's parents and the Testwuide's were all cornered during the course of the weekend.

News & Notes From Around Pioneer Nation

(above) DU Clarion talks about Tyler Bozak's impending departure

Tyler Bozak's advisers in Toronto have narrowed down the list of teams to 5 or 6 this week. There has been some mention that the deal could be done by the end of the week. The Ottawa Senators & Toronto Maple Leafs are both very interested.

The DU Clarion has an excellent article on Bozak and confirm the Colorado Avalanche are still on the "short list." Check it out.

NHL.com has a feature story on DU recruit Drew Shore. Shore is getting ready for the Under 18 World Championships in April. NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee said, "Shore gets chances and creates chances from all his hard work. He's very unselfish and smart, and he's quick to make the transition from offense to defense. He's not a speedster, but he's got a long stride and he's got good speed. He's also very strong on the puck, with good strength in his arms and hands, and makes good passes."

Monday, March 30, 2009

NCAA Hockey Tournament Chaos Rattles Status Quo

(above) Several hundred fans welcomed home Bemidji State's hockey team at 2 a.m. after they upset Notre Dame and Cornell to make the Frozen Four

NCAA Frozen Four
Boston University vs. Vermont
Bemidji State vs. Miami-Ohio


From: Wall Street Journal
by Darren Everson

As it turns out, March Madness still exists. This manic sports month is still full of heroes and goats, of comebacks and chokes. We've just been looking for them in the wrong place. They're not in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, of course. But there was another playing field on which powers were being sent home by peons: the ice, where three of the top seeds at the NCAA hockey tournament went home.

There is arguably no major event in sports more chaotic than the Division I hockey tournament. By its nature, hockey is more capricious than basketball and football, since one player (the goalie) can have an outsized impact -- for better or worse -- on a single game's outcome.

Result: Three of the four No. 1 seeds in this year's tournament didn't even survive their first games over the weekend. Michigan fell to Air Force, 2-0, due almost entirely to the play of Falcons goaltender Andrew Volkening (Michigan took 43 shots to Air Force's 13); Denver lost to Miami University, 4-2; and Notre Dame was buried by Bemidji State, 5-1.

Denver's loss and even Michigan's actually weren't that shocking -- Air Force, which subsequently was eliminated Saturday by Vermont, came within an eyelash of first-round upsets the previous two years -- but Notre Dame's defeat was the equivalent of Radford dismissing North Carolina by double digits.

Notre Dame, which led the nation in winning percentage and goals-against average, was facing the country's 37th-best team, according to the Ratings Percentage Index ranking system. There are only 58 teams in Division I. But Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce got rattled early, giving up the opening goal after a strange bounce off the boards, and the chaos was underway.

Scott Fuson Completes Mascot Boot Camp

(above) DU student Scott Fuson and the original Phillie Phanatic, Dave Raymond, at Mascot Boot Camp this weekend

Last Thursday, DU student Scott Fuson "escaped" Denver hours before a snowstorm swept through the city. After connecting in Cleveland, Scott arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania and caught a taxi to Kutztown State University to begin Mascot Boot Camp. The Camp is under the direction of Dave Raymond, the original "Phillie Phanatic," the mascot of the Philadelphia Phiilies major league baseball team.

Scott was selected by an alumni group to become the unofficial Pioneer Mascot and wear a newly designed Pioneer costume. Many DU alums feel its time the university embraced the Pioneer nickname and built a tradition of school spirit and camaraderie around the history of the school and the region.

For the last 10 years the University of Denver has been represented by Ruckus the Red-Tailed Hawk and DU alums grew weary of answering questions about why a school nicknamed the Pioneers would have a hawk as a mascot & logo.

At the Camp this weekend, Scott, along with a dozen other mascot performers, learned the fundamentals of becoming a mascot, including costume care, basic performance skills, working the crowd, the creative process, and the importance of performance fitness.

Mr. Raymond was aware of the situation with DU's "identity crisis" and worked with Scott to begin creating a character and brand image that will be popular with DU students, fans, children and alumni. Scott is going to work with DU's students to create a biography and personality profile of a "Denver Pioneer" and what that encompasses.

Sunday night Scott returned to Denver having completed his training. He wants to thank all the alums who donated to the Pioneer Mascot Fund, giving him the opportunity to attend the camp and bring our Pioneer Mascot to life.

In less than two weeks we expect to take delivery of the mascot costume in Washington D.C. and participate in activities related to the Frozen Four Hockey Championships. Then if everything is in order, Scott will fly back to Denver in time to introduce the mascot at the DU-Notre Dame lacrosse game at Invesco Field on Saturday, April 11th.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bozak Expected To Sign NHL Contract This Week

From: TSN.com


The Denver Pioneers are among the NCAA's early casualties as the top seeded team in the regional west bracket lost to Miami 4-2 on Friday and were eliminated from the tournament.

Denver's loss will spark frenzy this week in the NHL as league managers attempt to persuade highly touted Pioneers forward Tyler Bozak to sign his first pro contract.

All six Canadian NHL teams have significant interest in the 23 year old Regina, Saskatchewan native and his advisor, Wade Arnott of Newport Sports Management tells TSN there is a good chance Bozak will agree to terms and sign with an NHL team this week.

However, interest in Bozak is extensive with as many as 25 teams believed to be poised to make their pitch.

Four DU Recruits Will Anchor Team USA

(above) DU 2010 recruit Jason Zucker was a surprise selection to the USA roster for the Under-18 World Championships next month

From: USA Hockey

USA Hockey announced the 22-player roster for its 2009 U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team and four University of Denver recruits made the team. The squad will participate in the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men’s Under-18 Championship in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., April 9-19.
If the towns of Fargo and Moorhead sound familiar, they have been devastated by the Red River flooding this week.

Drew Shore, William Wrenn and Adam Murray were expected to make the team. One of the surprise selections was DU 2010 recruit Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, NV) who was called up from the USA Under 17-team. Zucker has been among the leading scorer for the Under 17 Team and is considered to be one of the best 17 year old recruits in the country.

In net, the U.S. will look to DU recruit Adam Murray (Anchorage, AK). Murray, who played on the U.S. National Under-18 Team within the NTDP in 2008-09, had a perfect 5-0-0-0 record in international play this season.

DU recruit Drew Shore (Denver, CO) has been projected by many scouts to be a potential first round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft this summer. Shore is a big play-making forward who is expected to make an immediate impact for the Pioneers next season.

Finally, defensive recruit William Wrenn (Anchorage, AK) is projected by many to be a 2nd round pick in the NHL Draft next summer. He is part of a highly touted trio of defensive recruits that will anchor DU's blueline next season.

DU Student Wraps Up Mascot Boot Camp Today

DU Student Scott Fuson has been attending Dave Raymonds Mascot Boot Camp in Kutztown, Pennsylvania this weekend. The trip, camp fees and expenses were entirely funded by alumni and fan donations raised by LetsGoDU.

Scott reports that the camp has been a huge success and that he has benefitted tremendously from the experience. We will have a full report on Scott's experience on Monday.

Scott was selected to wear the Pioneer Mascot Costume being designed in Toronto, Canada. The costume is expected to be delivered to Washington, D.C. in time for the Frozen Four Semi-Finals and will be flown to Denver for the DU-Notre Dame lacrosse game on April 11th at Invesco Field.

DU Fans Still Heading To DC Despite Team's Exit

(above) The Frozen Four will held in D.C. from April 9-11

A couple of dozen Denver fans will still be heading to the Frozen Four, despite the hockey teams' loss to Miami University. The Denver contingent will also receive a boost from DU alums that live on the East Coast. The Frozen Four is a terrific event and college hockey fans from all over the country attend with or without their teams.

Washington's Frozen Four promises to be unique because of the tourist attractions and history. Denver fans will also be on hand for the introduction of of the alumni sponsored "Pioneer Mascot," which will be making appearances throughout the city.

Hotel rooms are still available in a wide range of rates on Hotwire.com and other travel websites.

Video Replay Ends Air Force's Season In 2nd OT

(above) Officials spent 20 minutes reviewing the replay tape to see if a puck went through the net in the 2nd overtime.

After a stoppage of play with 4:01 left in the second overtime, referees reviewed on video replay a shot by Vermont's Dan Lawson with 5:50 left. They ruled it in fact had gone underneath the cross bar and through the net, even though play had continued.

The goal gave Vermont a 3-2 victory in the NCAA East Regional final on Saturday night in Brideport, CT. The Catamounts advanced to the Frozen Four, and on April 9 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., they will face either Boston University or New Hampshire, who meet today for the Northeast Regional title.

Air Force, meanwhile, had a season ended in heart-breaking fashion at the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. [read entire article]

UMD Fans Break Out The Togas Against Princeton

(above) The togas worked their magic against Princeton for Minnesota Duluth hockey fans in a miraculous comeback on Friday night. Sadly they did not do the trick on Saturday as UMD fell to Miami University 2-1.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Testwuide Played With Partially Torn Ligament

(above) The Denver Post reported that J.P Testwuide (left) played with a partially torn knee ligament yesterday

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers


Denver Coach George Gwozdecky just shook his head in disbelief when discussing his captain, senior defenseman J.P. Testwuide.

Testwuide, a non-scholarship recruit from Vail, played Friday with a partially torn ligament in his left knee.

"He shouldn't have played today," Gwozdecky said of Testwuide. "His knee is real bad, and that took unbelievable guts and determination. The pain threshold he has is incredible."

When told of Gwozdecky's comments, Testwuide said: "That's a big honor. Wow."

Testwuide, who entered the game with a team-high plus-17 rating, didn't practice with the team this week since he suffered the injury last Saturday in the WCHA playoff championship in St. Paul.

He called this season "a heck of a ride" and said "he wouldn't trade it for anything." [read entire article]

Air Force Shocks Michigan In NCAA Tourney

(above) Air Force won their first ever NCAA Tournament game over Michigan yesterday

From: Denver Post

Andrew Volkening made 43 saves, and Derrick Burnett and Jacques Lamoureux scored in Air Force's 2-0 victory over Michigan on Friday in the first round of the NCAA hockey East Regional.

Air Force (28-10-2) will face third-seeded Vermont — a 4-1 winner over Yale — in tonight's regional final. Michigan, the No. 1 seed in the region, finished 29-12-0. [read rest of article]

Friday, March 27, 2009


Miami 4 - DU 2 FINAL .... Air Force 2 Michigan 0 - FINAL .... DU vs. Miami in @ 3:30 PM MT .... DU Viewing Party at Stick-e-Star at 2070 S. University Ave. .... Game Televised Nationally on ESPN2 & Internet at ESPN360.com .... Beat the RedHawks .... Go DU

Miami Ends DU's Season 4-2 In NCAA Tourney

The University of Denver was eliminated by the Miami RedHawks this evening at the NCAA Regionals in Minneapolis. Miami jumped out to an early lead and never trailed in a 4-2 victory.

Denver seemed out of sync all evening drawing countless offsides penalties, giving up odd man rushes and committing early penalties.

Its a disappointing end to a very successful season that saw DU finish 2nd in the WCHA regular season, finish as runner-up in the WCHA playoffs and draw the overall #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Providing the pro defections are kept to a minimum DU should be one of the favorites in the WCHA next season.
Box Score

Denver Post game recap


USCHO.com game recap

Tyler Bozak - The 7th Samuri Video


It's "Cherry Blossom Season" in DC during the Frozen Four

DU Viewing Party At Stick-e-Star Near Campus

(above) DU Alums Mike Schettler (1983) and Ton Phairatphiboon (2001) merged Star Market and Stick-e-Rice to create STICK-E-STAR


Only one restaurant in Denver will have Friday's DU playoff game on every TV with the sound cranked up. Stick-e-Star at 2070 S. University Ave. will have special deals for DU fans and its proximity to campus will provide local atmosphere.

The event is being hosted by legendary DU hockey fans CO14ers & KScant so be prepared to sing the DU Fight Song and shout a few cheers during the game.

Stick-E-Star offers both American & Thai fusion along with full bar service.
.
Stick-e-Star
2070 S. University Ave.
3:30 PM - 6 PM
Friday, March 27th

Goaltenders Have Led DU To NCAA Success

(above) DU Alum Wade Dubielewicz is now with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers


Sophomore goalie Marc Cheverie follows in the skate marks of Wade Dubielewicz, Adam Berkhoel, Glenn Fisher and Peter Mannino. Combined, those goalies helped DU to two NCAA titles, three Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and two WCHA regular-season crowns over the past six seasons.

"When I was being recruited, I looked at the history of the goaltenders, and some of the schools I looked at had great programs, great teams, but their goaltenders hadn't been offered (NHL) contracts," Cheverie said. "When I looked at Denver, I saw that Dubielewicz and Berkhoel moved on and Mannino and Fisher were going to move on." [read rest of article]

CHN Breaks Down The NCAA West Regional

College Hockey News probably has the best breakdown of the two matchups on Friday.
This weekend's action out west features three of the top goaltenders in the country, including Princeton junior Zane Kalemba, Denver sophomore Marc Cheverie and Minnesota-Duluth junior Alex Stalock.

The fourth team in the bunch, Miami, has been rotating freshmen netminders Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard all season, but neither should be overlooked: Combined, they have a goals against just over two. [read entire article]

CC's Bachman About To Sign Contract With Stars

(above) Reports out of Dallas say CC's Richard Bachman will sign a professional contract and begin a long & productive minor league hockey career

From:
Dallas Morning News
by Mike Heika


Colorado College goaltender Richard Bachman is close to agreeing to terms on a standard three-year rookie contract. The 21-year-old Bachman was taken 120th overall in the 2006 entry draft and has spent the last two seasons at Colorado College.

He went 25-9-1 with a 1.95 GAA and was named a first-team All-Star for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association last season. This year, he played in front of a less experienced team and went 14-11-10 with a 2.63 GAA.

If Bachman signs, he will forego the final two years of college eligibility and will probably play in the AHL or the ECHL next season. Bachman will end his college career with a 2-5-0 record in the playoffs.

The Eagle Has Landed At Mascot Boot Camp

(above) Will Dave Raymond's Mascot Boot Camp be able to transform DU student Scott Fuson into a "Pioneer Mascot" this weekend

The eagle has landed or perhaps we should say the red tailed-hawk replacement has landed safely in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. DU student Scott Fuson was able to get out of Denver yesterday and make his connecting flight to Allentown without a hitch.

Today he begins Mascot Boot Camp under the tutelage of former Phillie Phanatic Dave Raymond. On the first day of camp the students don't wear costumes, but go through various drills to express degrees of emotion without using words or facial expressions.

They also learn character walks, dancing and miming on Day 1.

Scott has been selected to wear the unofficial Pioneer Mascot costume for the next year. The mascot is being purchased with alumni donations and upon delivery will be donated to the students at the University of Denver.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pat Rooney Profiles Kyle Ostrow For LetsGoDU

(above) Kyle Ostrow has four game winning goals this season

By Pat Rooney
Special to LetsGoDU


Yes, standout center Tyler Bozak will return to the lineup when the University of Denver begins the NCAA tournament on Friday against Miami (Ohio).

And junior forward Tyler Ruegsegger, the Pioneers’ leading power-play performer who had been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs when he suffered a knee injury against Alaska Anchorage two weeks ago, has provided encouraging signs that his season may not be over just yet.

Having Bozak on the ice undoubtedly boosts DU’s chances of capturing its eighth national championship, and any contribution Ruegsegger makes will be an unexpected bonus and surely would provide an inspirational lift.

Yet in the NCAA tournament, often it is the unsung heroes that turn in the game-changing plays. In that regard do not be surprised, if a Frozen Four berth is secured by DU, that it winds up being due in part to a clutch goal or key assist from Kyle Ostrow.

The sophomore forward built on his solid freshman campaign to become one of the Pioneers’ most consistent performers this year, particularly during the season’s stretch run. Brimming with confidence, Ostrow hopes to rekindle his recent hot streak when DU takes on the RedHawks in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon.

“Losing Bozak (at midseason) was a big blow to us, and I think we had to pick up our scoring pace,” Ostrow said. “I never wanted to go out of my role or anything. I was still conscious of my role, but I think I capitalized on a lot of my opportunities in the second half of the season and created a lot of opportunities with my linemates.

“Having Bozak back now is great. I’ll still try to play the same way, and to have another scoring threat like him is awesome.”

After producing 10 goals and 23 points as a freshman, Ostrow has compiled 14 goals and 28 points this season. Moreover, he has developed a knack for producing timely points in critical situations.

Four of Ostrow’s goals have counted as game-winners, trailing only the team-leading five recorded by freshman Luke Salazar, and prior to DU’s shutout loss against Minnesota Duluth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament final last week, Ostrow had posted points in six of the previous eight games, recording five goals and three assists during that span.

“I think he has been a consistent player since he got here,” junior forward Rhett Rakhshani said. “He does a lot of little things very well. He gets the puck on net, and drives to the net hard and wide. He uses his skating abilities, and I think it has paid off for us this year. He has gotten some really big goals for us and has consistently scored for us this year.”

Ostrow was limited to a lone assist in five games during the WCHA playoffs and NCAA tournament last year, but so far he already has contributed one goal and one assist to DU’s postseason run. Ostrow said his primary offseason focus was to hone his shot, and in the anything-can-happen atmosphere of the NCAA tournament, that work could pay big dividends for the Pioneers this weekend.

“You try to improve every year,” Ostrow said. “My numbers have improved a bit this year. I think I’m a lot more confident with the puck, a lot more confident shooting the puck this year. One thing I did in the offseason was I worked on my shot a lot. When I have the puck on my stick, I’m a lot more confident shooting on net.”

Denver Post: Bozak Will Assume All Roles For DU

(above) DU is planning on using Tyler Bozak in every possible situation on Friday against Miami

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

As the college hockey season rolls into the single-elimination format of the NCAA Tournament, Tyler Bozak's three-month, 21-game absence from the University of Denver's lineup ends.

By having their best player back, the Pioneers are treating it like Christmas in March, and hoping their late-arriving gift helps them all the way to the Frozen Four. Wasting no time, DU will use its All-America center in all key situations Friday during a West Regional semifinal against Miami (Ohio) at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. [read entire article]

News & Notes From Around Pioneer Nation

The Dayton Daily Times has an article about Coach Gwozdecky and Miami's Coach Blasi facing off for the fourth time.

Coach Gwozdecky was interviewed in a podcast in Minneapolis on the Minnesota Wild radio show.

ESPN.com's NHL writer Pierre LeBrun was asked about Tyler Bozak in his weekly online chat.

NHL.com has a full feature on DU recruit Drew Shore, who plays on the US National Development Team. NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee had this to say about Shore.
"He gets chances and creates chances from all his hard work," Barzee said. "He's very unselfish and smart, and he's quick to make the transition from offense to defense. He's not a speedster, but he's got a long stride and he's got good speed. He's also very strong on the puck, with good strength in his arms and hands, and makes good passes."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pat Rooney Profiles Marc Cheverie For LetsGoDU

(above) The Chevy is detailed and ready for the playoffs

By Pat Rooney
Special to LetsGoDU


This is the moment Marc Cheverie has been working towards since he arrived at the University of Denver.

The sophomore goaltender began the season as perhaps the Pioneers biggest question mark, a talented but untested quantity on a team that otherwise appeared solid at every other position.

Now, as DU embarks on a postseason road it hopes will end with the program's eighth national championship, Cheverie clearly has developed into one of the Pioneers strengths.

The arc Cheverie has traveled this season could not have evolved more fortuitously for DU. As the Pioneers begin play in the NCAA tournament, the top-seeded Pios open the West Regional in Minneapolis against Miami (Ohio) on Friday, Cheverie is primed to make his mark in what is commonly referred to as a "Goaltender's Tournament."

"I'm very pumped to get it going. I've been looking forward to it all year," Cheverie said. "You have to win everything from here on out to make or break the season. A hot goalie can win you games, and at some point you're always going to have to get through tough times."

"But I wouldn't totally agree that it is totally just a goaltender's tournament, because team defense tightens up and sometimes goalies will look better than they are playing at times. I've experienced that, where the team is really playing great in front of me and I get the first star when I probably don't deserve it. But in the playoffs, it happens that the goalie has to be hot at the right time. This year, there have been so many ups and downs with injuries that we're prepared for anything."

As Cheverie has grown more comfortable, the Pioneers defense has become much more formidable. Out of the gate, Cheverie and the DU defense surrendered at least four goals in three of the first five games of the season. The Pioneers have allowed at least four goals in just 4-of-20 games since the holidays, all of which occurred against eventual NCAA tournament teams (Boston, North Dakota, and twice against Minnesota Duluth).

Much of that improvement can be traced to Cheverie, who garnered second team All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association honors while morphing into the sort of back-line savior that inspires teammates and creates an added level of defensive confidence.

"Without a doubt, from the beginning of the season until now, it's like night and day," Junior defenseman Cody Brookwell said. "That was one of the question marks coming into the season, but he has progressed throughout the season. I don't think he's ever taken a step back. He has gotten better and better. That's a big part our job, having confidence in him, and I'm sure the same goes for him having confidence in us."

Cheverie ranks second in the WCHA in goals-against average (2.30) and save percentage (.923), trailing only Duluth's first-team All-WCHA selection (and DU's possible West Regional final opponent) Alex Stalock.

Cheverie's save percentage also ranks as the third-best single-season mark in the program's rich history, behind the record .943 mark compiled by Wade Dubielewicz during the 2001-02 season and Peter Mannino's .927 mark during the 2004-05 national championship season.

What is even more impressive about Cheverie's mark is that he did it as a full-time starter, while Dubielewicz and Mannino each toiled in a platoon system during those respective seasons.

Even after only one season as DU's starter, perhaps the only thing still lacking on Cheverie's resume is a proven postseason track record. One season after watching from the bench as Mannino's career ended with a first-round loss against Wisconsin, Cheverie is ready to cross that off his checklist while, hopefully, leading DU to the type of glory Mannino did in 2005.

"Realizing the pressure you face, and the importance of every game and every minute, that's what I saw at the tournament last year," Cheverie said. "There is no room for error, no room for complacency. Every playoff game last year, every game I watched, was a learning experience. I'm confident in my own abilities and the abilities of my teammates. I think it is a good combination. Everything has to be going. Everyone has to trust each other, and I think that's what we have right now."

Chambers Has Potential Scoop On Ruegsegger

Mike Chambers was at practice again on Tuesday and he has a potential bombshell in his blog about Tyler Ruegsegger. Does anyone doubt that Ruegsegger would cut off his own leg and play with a wooden peg if he had to?

Chambers has been at practice every day this week and the extra coverage has been awesome.

Colorado College To Drop Three Sports

(above) Colorado College is dropping its Division III football, softball & water polo programs in a cost cutting move

From: Denver Post

Colorado College will disband its 127-year-old football team and two other sports after budget problems forced the athletic department to make cuts.

The school will drop football, softball and water polo effective at the end of this spring season, athletic director Ken Ralph said Tuesday.

The CC board of trustees forced the athletic department to cut spending by $8 million to $12 million. "We went through dozens of budget scenarios before coming to the realization that we could no longer support 20 varsity sports," Ralph said.

The school estimated it will save more than $450,000 by dropping football. Softball was adopted as a varsity sport in 1996; water polo began in 2004. [read entire article]

Washington Post Profiles DU Alum Michelle Kwan

(above) DU Alums Condoleezza Rice (DU '74) & Michelle Kwan (DU '08). Believe it or not Condi was quite a figure skater back in the day

From: Washington Post
by Amy Shipley

Since her departure from figure skating three years ago, Michelle Kwan has meticulously laid the foundation for the rest of her life, lunching with heads of state, carrying out formal U.S. diplomatic missions in Ukraine, Russia, China and Argentina, and immersing herself in the study of international relations as a full-time student at the University of Denver.

Yet after finishing her degree last November, Kwan almost immediately resumed the serious on-ice training she had abandoned after withdrawing from the 2006 Winter Games because of an abdominal injury. Facing career questions any recent graduate faces, Kwan added an unusual one to the mix.

Should she try to earn a spot at the Winter Games in Vancouver next year? [read rest of article]

Gwozdecky Helped Turn Around Miami Hockey

(above) Before arriving at DU Coach Gwozdecky helped turn around Miami's hockey program

From: Dayton Daily News
by Pete Conrad


After four seasons and an overall record of 39-111-3, Steve Cady said, "I got called into the president's office" and was told the state of Miami hockey was "unacceptable." Cady insisted that the program could succeed if it had more resources.

Later that year Cady helped hire George Gwozdecky who replaced Bill Davidge as coach, and for the first time Miami's hockey program, Cady said, "was fully funded in terms of scholarships."

That was a major turning point. Following two more lean seasons, Miami hockey started to win and Gwozdecky guided the RedHawks to their first NCAA appearance in 1993. One of the captains of that team was Enrico Blasi, who has coached the RedHawks to five NCAA berths in the last six years.

As luck would have it, Cady, Gwozdecky and Blasi all will be together Friday, March 27, when Denver (coached by Gwozdecky) plays Miami in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional. Cady will oversee that regional and it has nothing to do with Miami's selection to play in Minneapolis, he said, noting that his role there was established prior to Selection Sunday.

Mason said it has been satisfying to see that Miami has become a national power, that the school's new arena is named after Cady and that the man who had to fight for Miami's hockey existence now plays such a prominent national role.

"He had to fight the battle back then," Mason said. "Now we can see the just rewards." [read entire article]

DU Swimmer Breaks School Record

(above) DU Swimmer Michele Lowry broke a school record in the 1,000 freestyle at the NCAA Championships last weekend

University of Denver women's swimmer Michele Lowry of Hailey, Idaho finished her collegiate career with record-setting performance in the 1650 freestyle event at the at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships Friday at the Student Rec Center Natatorium on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

A former swimming star for Hailey's Wood River High School, Lowry, 22, is a Dean's List senior at DU.

In Texas, Lowry finished 33rd with a time of 16:25.85, breaking her previous record which she set during the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Championships on Feb. 21. Lowry also set a new DU record in the 1000 freestyle with her split time of 9:55.80, breaking another record she set during the SBC Championships Feb. 21.

Michigan Not Taking Air Force Lightly

(above) Air Force star Jacques Lamoureux will lead Air Force against Michigan on Friday afternoon

From: MLive.com
by Kevin Ryan


Air Force might be an unfamiliar and seemingly inferior hockey opponent, but the University of Michigan doesn't need much proof to be convinced otherwise.

All the No. 3-ranked Wolverines (29-11), seeded first in the NCAA East Regional, need to do is look at the 15th-ranked and fourth-seeded Falcons' recent tournament results.

The teams, who met once before - in Flint in 1973 - will face off in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday at Bridgeport (Conn.) Arena at Harbor Yard. The winner will play the Yale-Vermont winner in Saturday's regional final.

The Falcons (27-10-2), on the tournament bubble before earning an automatic bid by winning the Atlantic Hockey Association, are perceived as a longshot to upset Michigan.

The Wolverines, however, aren't taking them lightly.

That's because Air Force nearly upended other No. 1 seeds. In its first tournament appearance in 2007, Air Force was a No. 4 seed in the NCAA West Regional in Denver as it led No. 1 overall seed Minnesota 3-1 with 8 minutes remaining.

The Golden Gophers needed all of those remaining minutes to win 4-3 and avoid the first-round upset.

Then, at last year's Northeast Regional, Miami (Ohio) came from behind and needed overtime to beat the fourth-seeded Falcons, 3-2. The RedHawks were that tournament's No. 2 overall seed.

"They've had good experiences in the tournament," Michigan coach Red Berenson said after practice Tuesday at Yost Ice Arena. "I watched the Minnesota game, the Miami game, and some games from this year, and they can score and they work hard. They're going to be a tough opponent."

And don't think Air Force racked up lofty statistics - five players with 35-plus points apiece (led by Jacques Lamoureux's 52 points and nation-best 32 goals), and offense (fourth nationally) and defense (seventh) that rivals Michigan's - against softer competition in the AHA.

Louie Caporusso, Michigan's leading goalscorer with 24 and a Hobey Baker Award finalist like Lamoureux, quickly dispelled that myth.

"I betcha Minnesota thought they had an advantage, too, and that didn't exactly work for them," Caporusso, a sophomore, said Tuesday. "So I don't really think it matters who you play during the year. I mean, at the end of the day, that's a good team. They beat Colorado College AND Denver in the past two seasons. They've proven themselves.

"And, they proved themselves last year and the year before. Now those guys are older and it's the same team, pretty much. So we're looking at a good team."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chambers Blog Has A Series Of Articles

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers has been busy this week obviously rounding into playoff form with four entries in his blog. We love the extra coverage, so keep it up.

Chambers was at practice on Tuesday and has the latest report.

The first posting deals with Miami University's connection to DU. Former Denver Captain Brian Vines is an assistant at Miami.

Chambers was at practice on Monday and has injury updates on Testwuide, Bozak & Ruegsegger.

Finally Chambers breaks down what Tyler Bozak brings to the table this weekend in the playoffs. Chambers notes that Bozak's enthusiasm breeds confidence, but I wonder if his confidence breeds enthusiasm? Either way its great to have him back.

Miami Plans To Make Most Of Second Chance

(above) Miami will be ready to meet Denver on Friday afternoon

From: Oxford Press
by Pete Conrad


More than once this season the Miami University hockey players decided it might be best to stare straight ahead, to stay focused on their next game, their next practice, their next breath.

Because if they let their eyes wander, they might see the buzzards circling overhead.

Miami is the team that refuses to go quietly. Forget the fact that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the RedHawks. Forget the five-game losing streak in January. Forget the injuries and illness. Forget the team's 8-9-2 record since the Christmas break. Forget their failure to get past the second round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

In their own minds, the 13th-ranked RedHawks are taking a full head of steam into this weekend's NCAA tournament first-round game against the fourth-ranked Denver Pioneers.

"That's our mentality," said senior forward Brian Kaufman, Miami's team captain. "We're good enough to have (an NCAA berth), let's not waste it."

"This time of year we can put the wins and losses behind us and focus on one game," said sophomore forward Carter Camper, Miami's leading scorer with 20 goals, 19 assists for 39 points.

The bad times for the 2008-09 RedHawks, according to Kaufman, serve only to make them stronger.

"This team definitely has been through the most adversity of any Miami team I've played on," he said. "It's something we pride ourselves on, dealing with adversity. I think that will help us in the long run.

"This year we've had some key injuries, and in some games we played hard and did not get good bounces," Kaufman noted. "We've seen it all."

The worst was Miami's 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan, at home, in the deciding game of their CCHA tournament quarterfinal series.

"We didn't end the season the way we wanted to, or the playoffs," Camper said. "It's definitely nice to get a second chance."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Here We Go Again: No Comcast TV On Saturday

If DU wins on Friday afternoon, Comcast subscribers in Denver will not be able to watch the Saturday night game against UMD or Princeton. Comcast and ESPN have been battling over this "ESPNU" dispute for over three years.

The game may be available on the internet at espn360.com

Calling Comcast probably won't do any good in this case, but as usual we'll give you the phone number to file a complaint. Try dropping the "I'll be switching to DirecTV Bomb."

COMCAST: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

FSN-Rocky Mountain can't pick up the games dues to ESPN contractual issues. In the past Altitude has picked up DU games in the NCAA playoffs as long as they don't conflict with the Nuggets or Avs.
Minneapolis, MN
Friday, March 27
DU vs. Miami (3:30 PM MT)* TV: ESPN2HD
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Princeton (7 PM MT)* TV: ESPNUHD
*Winners play Saturday (7 PM MT) TV: ESPNUHD

Testwuide's Mom, "J.P. Will Play On Friday"

(above) It may be time to bury the "unlucky half" of the hockey sweater

Confirmation that J.P. Testwuide might be ready to go on Friday afternoon against the University of Miami came from an unlike source according to the Denver Post.
"Gwozdecky said there was no medical update on DU defenseman and captain J.P. Testwuide, who left Saturday's game with a leg injury. However, Testwuide's mother, Janet, said from St. Paul on Sunday that her son 'is going to be fine' for Friday."

Denver Post: DU & Air Force Ready For NCAA's

(above) College Hockey News' NCAA Bracket

From: Denver Post

by Mike Chambers


Denver and Air Force will go back to where they were Saturday night, with the Pioneers poised to spend more time in Minnesota and the Falcons on the East Coast.

The NCAA Tournament pairings were announced Sunday, and Air Force, which captured its third consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association playoff championship Saturday in Rochester, N.Y., is in the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., opening Friday against No. 1-seeded Michigan.

DU obtained the West Regional's No. 1 seed at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and will open Friday against No. 4 Miami (Ohio). [read rest of article]

Pioneer Mascot Fundraising Project & Update

With just three weeks to go before the launch of the Pioneer Mascot we've had 18 donors step forward and contribute $5,000.

The deposit has been paid for the Mascot Costume. We've taken care of the camp fees and travel expenses ($1,350) to Mascot Boot Camp for DU student Scott Fuson & paid the airfare to Washington DC for Scott ($400) for the Frozen Four Mascot Unveiling.
The Expenses
Mascot Costume $5,100
Mascot Boot Camp $1,350
Frozen Four Mascot Introduction in D.C. $900
-----------------------------
Total Expenses $7,350
Any gift of $50 will be matched by LetsGoDU and we are also looking for $100 and $200 donors. We only have $2,350 more to go. All of our donors receive email updates on our fundraising efforts as well as mascot updates.
Mail Donations:
Damien Goddard
PO Box 866
Stafford, Texas 77497-0866

Questions: dggoddard@aol.com
The Pioneer Mascot will be ready by the Frozen Four and our team of volunteers & donors have worked hard to bring this project together. Please consider joining our team and bringing a Pioneer Mascot back to DU.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NCAA Announces Tournament Field

The University of Denver will be playing in Minneapolis next Friday facing Miami University (Ohio). Also in the Regional will be Minnesota-Duluth and Princeton.
Minneapolis, MN
Friday, March 27
DU vs. Miami (3:30 PM MT)* TV: ESPN2HD
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Princeton (7 PM MT)* TV: ESPNUHD
*Winners play Saturday (7 PM MT) TV: ESPNUHD

Grand Rapids, MI
Saturday, March 28
Notre Dame vs. Bemidji State (2 PM MT)* TV: ESPNU
Northeastern vs. Cornell (5:30 PM MT)* TV: ESPN Classic
*Winners play Sunday (6 PM MT) TV: ESPNU

Manchester, NH
Saturday, March 28
Boston University vs. Ohio State (Noon MT)* TV: ESPN2
North Dakota vs. New Hampshire (3:30 PM MT)* TV: ESPN2
*Winners play Sunday (3:30 PM) TV: ESPNU

Bridgeport, CT
Friday, March 27
Michigan vs. Air Force (1 PM MT)* TV: ESPNUHD
Yale vs. Vermont (4:30 PM)* TV: ESPNUHD
*Winners play Saturday (4:30 PM) TV: ESPNUHD

NCAA Tournament Selection Show @ 9:30 AM MT

The NCAA College Hockey Selection Show will be televised on ESPN2 and on the internet on ESPN360.com at 9:30 AM MT. The University of Denver is expected to be the overall #3 ranked team and most likely will be sent to Bridgeport or Minneapolis.

Its official. The field is set.
Minneapolis
DU vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Princeton

Grand Rapids
Notre Dame Vs. Bemidji State
Northeastern vs. Cornell

Manchester
Boston University vs. Ohio State
North Dakota vs. New Hampshire

Bridgeport
Michigan vs. Air Force
Yale vs. Vermont

Denver Post: Testwuide Has "Serious Leg Injury"

(above) JP Testwuide was injured against UMD last night

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers


After losing the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff championship Saturday — and possibly the services of senior defenseman and captain J.P. Testwuide — only one title remains for the University of Denver's taking.

Testwuide, who leads the WCHA with a plus-16 rating, left in the second period with what DU coach George Gwozdecky said is a serious leg injury. [read entire article]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Final NCAA Pairwise & Probable NCAA Field

1 [AQ] Boston University
2 [AQ] Notre Dame
3 Denver
4 Michigan
--------
5 [AQ] Yale
6t Northeastern
6t [AQ] Minnesota-Duluth
8 North Dakota
--------
9 Vermont
10 New Hampshire
11 Cornell
12 Princeton
--------
13 Miami
14 [AQ] Air Force
15t Ohio State
XX Bemidji State

WCHA Championship Game
Duluth 4 - Denver 0

The University of Minnesota-Duluth controlled the WCHA Championship Game to win their first playoff championship in 24 years. Duluth also became the first "play-in" game participant to win the Final 5.

Denver was never able to muster any serious offensive threat throughout the game. Duluth on the otherhand netted two power play goals and a beautiful back door goal in the 2nd Period.

Luckily for DU, Michigan lost to Notre Dame in the CCHA Championship Game and DU retained the #3 seeding in the Pairwise Rankings. Nonetheless the playoff field still has many issues and DU could be sent to Minneapolis or Bridgeport next week in the NCAA Tournament.

The tournament field will be announced on Sunday morning on ESPN2 at 9:30 AM MT.
Boxscore

Pairwise Rankings

Denver Post game recap


Duluth News Tribune game recap

DU To Play Minnesota-Duluth For WCHA Hardware

WCHA Playoff Championships
Saturday, March 21th

Minnesota-Duluth 4 - DU 0
Final

Wisconsin 4 - North Dakota 1
Final

The Broadmoor Trophy will be on the line as the University of Denver plays Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game of the WCHA Final Five on Saturday night. The festivities kick off at 6 PM MT at Xcel Energy Center. The game will be televised live on FSN-Rocky Mountain and broadcast live on AM 1510. Live stats are available on WCHA.com.

Denver advanced to the title game with a 3-0 win over Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, while Minnesota-Duluth advanced with a 3-0 upset over heavily favored North Dakota last night.

North Dakota will play Wisconsin in the consolation game at 1 PM MT.

Chambers Blog Has Latest News From St. Paul

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers is in St. Paul and has the latest news about the Pioneers, the Final 5 and DU's Tournament situation next week.

Chambers also has the latest news on Bozak & Ruegsegger. Finally he names Kyle Ostrow as DU's unsung hero.


Go DU .... Denver vs. Minnesota-Duluth 6 PM MT on FSN-Rocky Mountain .... Beat the Bulldogs .... Go DU

Toronto Maple Leafs Are Pushing To Land Bozak

(above) The Toronto Maple Leafs are after Tyler Bozak

From: Toronto Mail & Globe
by Tim Wharmsby


The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed prospect Alex Berry, in the first of what they hope to be a handful of U.S. College players in the next month.

The U.S. College hockey scene is down to its final four weekends and the Leafs not only want to lock up some of their own prospects like Berry, a senior right wing with the University of Massachusetts, but they expect to be an active in the free-agent market.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke refused to divulge his strategy, but it is known that his club is in the race to sign prominent free agents Tyler Bozak, Matt Gilroy, Christian Hanson and Paul Crowder.

"I don't want to publicly discuss our strategy," Burke said.

Berry, 23, signed a two-year entry level contract. While he is a long shot to become a full-time NHL player, Colorado College centre Chad Rau, 22, is a competitive player who would give the Leafs depth in the system.

"If the Leafs could sign Bozak, he could be a pretty good second liner one day," said a NHL scout this week.

Bozak, a University of Denver second-year center, was overlooked in his draft year because of his size. Now almost every team in the 30-club NHL is after him.

"He's clearly the best guy, a real dynamic player and well-coached by [University of Denver's] George Gwozdecky," said another scout. "We all missed this kid when he was playing for Victoria [in the British Columbia tier II junior loop]. He had 128 points in his final year there, but he was only 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds."

The native of Regina is now listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and before suffering a season-ending knee injury, he had seven goals and 21 points in 18 games this year. Because Bozak is 23 years old, he would be required to sign a two-year entry level contract like Berry.

The way the NHL's entry-level system works is that the length of a player's first contract is determined by age. Twenty-one or younger is a three-year entry level deal, 22 or 23 is two years, 24 requires a one-year contract, while 25 or older has no restrictions.

Friday, March 20, 2009

WCHA Playoff Semi-Finals
Friday, March 20th

DU 3 - Wisconsin 0
FINAL

Duluth 3 - North Dakota 0
FINAL

Go DU .... DU vs. Minnesota-Duluth on Sat. Night @ 6 PM .... WCHA Championship Game Will Be Televised Nationally On FSN-Rocky Mountain, FSN-North & FSN-Central .... Its Been 52 Years, 0 Months & 5 Days Since Colorado College Last Won A National Championship .... Go DU

Wiercioch's Amazing Season Against The Badgers

(above) Patrick Wiercioch celebrates his third period goal against the Badgers

Patrick Wiercioch wanted to play for the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team. So how did the 18-year-old defenseman from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, became the biggest "Badger Killer" since Woody Hayes?

A series of unforeseen developments last summer landed Wiercioch at Denver, where he's emerged as one of the best Freshmen in college hockey and pursues the National Championship with DU.

Wiercioch and the Pioneers eliminated the Badgers from NCAA consideration today and capped off DU's fifth straight victory against the Wisconsin this season. Remarkably Wiercioch recorded four goals and five assists in DU's five victories over the Badgers.

Game #1 (10/17/08) DU 6 - UW 5
Wiercioch scores two goals including the game winner with less than four minutes left in the game.

Game #2 (10/17/08) DU 7 - UW 4
Wiercioch
records an assist in DU's highest scoring game of the season.

Game #3 (2/20/09) DU 4 - UW 3 OT
Wiercioch assists the game winner in overtime as DU scores an improbable comeback.

Game #4 (2/21/09) DU 5 - UW 0
Wiercioch scores a goal and records three assists for his first four point night in college

Game #5 (3/20/09) DU 3 - UW 0
Wiercioch
scores a power play goal as DU rolls to a WCHA semi-final victory in the Xcel Center

Denver Traps Badgers In WCHA Semi-Finals

(above) DU celebrates the win over Wisconsin

ST. PAUL, MN. - The University of Denver hockey team was missing two of their best players, Tyler Ruegsegger & Tyler Bozak, but DU rolled to one of their most convincing victories of the season. The afternoon game at the Xcel Center's WCHA semi-finals featured DU's stifling defense and transition game featuring timely goals by Brian Gifford, Kyle Ostrow & Patrick Wiercioch.

The 3-0 victory came despite DU playing a defensive first strategy and giving up a significant shot advantage to the Badgers. Courageous shot blocking, keeping Wisconsin away from the goal crease and Marc Cheverie's timely goaltending was the difference.

DU now improves to 7-0-0 all-time in Xcel Center Final 5's. The Pioneers will face the winner of tonight's North Dakota vs. Minnesota Duluth game. Saturday night's WCHA Championship game will be televised by FSN-Rocky Mountain at 6 PM MDT.

At least a few of DU's Bracketologists will be keeping track of the AHA playoff game between Rochester Institute of Technology-Mercyhurst game. A Mercyhurst victory will assure DU of a #1 seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
Box Score

Pairwise Rankings

Denver Post game recap


USCHO.com game recap

Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal game recap