DU Clarion: DU Back On Top Of National Polls

(left) With Chris Nutini out with an injury, Senior Cody Brookwell will play a larger role for the Pioneers

From: DU Clarion
by Eddie Fischermann

With just four games left in the regular season, the Pioneers (16-4-4 WCHA, 22-6-4) are on the verge of clinching the WCHA regular season title. Currently three points ahead of St. Cloud State (15-8-3 WCHA, 20-10-4), they need just two more wins in their last four games to clinch.

Their first chance comes this weekend in Mankato, Minnesota. The team will travel there to play Minnesota State (8-15-1 WCHA, 14-6-2), who is coming off a sweep of Alaska-Anchorage. Earlier in the year, the Pioneers seemed to struggle against the Mavericks, winning the first game 4-3 then tying the second game 4-4.

Minnesota State is currently second to last in the conference.

However, being that it is late in the season, senior captain Rhett Rakhshani knows that every team has to be taken seriously.

“At this point in the season you are going to get your opponents best effort every game,” said Rakhshani. “We need to be ready to play the game simply and intensely if we are going to have success this coming weekend.”

Denver is coming into the weekend on a high note. After previously top-ranked Miami of Ohio lost to the University of Nebraska-Omaha over the weekend, the Pioneers moved up to No. 1 in the nation.

Winning both games against last place Michigan Tech over the weekend, the Pioneers have some momentum coming into these games.

The Pioneers won the games 5-2 and 5-3. Although they let Michigan Tech hang around for most of the game both times, they still got the wins.

DU had a lot of diversity in scoring though.

Eight different goal scorers had goals on the weekend. The only Pioneer to score multiple goals was junior assistant captain Kyle Ostrow.

Junior Anthony Maiani had a five-point weekend, scoring one goal and contributing four assists.

Other Pioneer players who had a big weekend were junior defenseman Cody Brookwell (1 G, 2 A) and senior Brandon Vossberg (1 G, 2 A).

DU did encounter one problem over the weekend.

Junior defenseman Chris Nutini was injured on a play in the DU zone during the second period of the game on Saturday. He needed to be helped off the ice and went straight to the locker room. He did not return to the game, and according to Fox Sports Network, he left the rink on crutches.

He is doubtful for this weekend’s games.

Junior goaltender and Hobey Baker candidate Marc Cheverie made 53 saves on 58 shots over the weekend to get two more wins on the season. This brings his total number of wins on the season to 19, tying him for No. 1 in the nation. He still leads the nation in shutouts with six and is tied for the best save percentage in the nation (.937).

That makes eight straight wins for the Pioneers who have a record of 11-1-2 over their last 14 games.

“We have started to bring the necessary effort to win on a consistent basis,” said sophomore forward Joe Colborne. “The coaches have been preaching it all year and we are now seeing the results.”

The team puts that streak on the line this weekend against Minnesota State.

“We can’t look past a single game because every team we play can beat us if we don’t bring our best effort,” said Colborne.

Minnesota State proved that earlier this year, tying one of the games against DU and giving them a scare in the other.

The games are Friday and Saturday night at 6:37 p.m. MST and 6:07 p.m., respectively.

1 comment:

dggoddard said...

"DU had a lot of diversity in scoring though."

- Classic :-)