DU 7 - Air Force 1 FINAL

(above) It was a big night for the Shore brothers as they recorded two goals and four assists
 “When you can score early and score first like we did, it really helps you from a psychological standpoint and emotionally,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “We’ve made changes to be in better position defensively, play harder defensively and manage the puck better. They were little subtle adjustments, and you can see the guys start to buy into it more with every period we played this weekend."
-DU head coach George Gwozdecky
The University of Denver hockey team spent a week of practice concentrating on defensive intensity.  The result? A ten goal weekend.  The Pioneers scored early and often to defeat Air Force 7-1 in Colorado Springs.

For the second night in a row, DU jumped out to an early lead, but tonight, the goals kept ringing up on the scoreboard.  Drew Shore (2), The Goal Czar (2), Ty Loney, Chris Knowlton & Joey Lagglia scored for DU.

Juho Olkinuora was solid in goal once again.  Fourth-string goaltender Zack Hope notched a few minutes and three saves in mop up duty in the third period.

DU killed off almost four consecutive minutes of 5-on-3 penalty kill before Luke Salazar scored shorthanded on an empty net goal in the third period.

Longtime DU Hockey Fan Wins 50-50 Raffle

(above) Chris holds up his 50-50 Raffle check
Congrats to longtime DU hockey fan Chris Wilson who won $715 on Friday night at Magness Arena in the 50-50 Raffle.  Chris has been a season ticket holder for years and its great to see his support of the DU hockey program rewarded.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at every home game for $5 and all the proceeds benefit the DU hockey program.  Thanks go out to the many volunteers who sell the tickets each week and organize the Raffle.

DU 3 - Union 1 FINAL

(above) Nothing gets past the Finnish Line as Juho Olkinuora made 42 saves on Friday night
photo credit: Hyoung Chang, Denver Post

With Jason Zucker up in Canada and John Ryder, Beau Bennett, Sam Brittain and Adam Murray on the shelf with long-term injuries, the Denver Pioneers defeated the #10 ranked Union Dutchmen 3-1 on Friday night.

Denver scored on their first two power play shots in the game and the Union starting goaltender was lifted after giving up two goals on four shots.  Drew Shore & Joey LaLeggia started things off with power-play goals in the first eight minutes of play.  David Makowski assisted on both goals.

DU's makeshift lineup played very well defensively, which was a point of emphasis after Christmas Break.  Shawn Ostrow notched DU's final goal.

The Pioneers will face Air Force, who defeated Colorado College 2-1 on Friday night. It was the first win ever for the Falcons over CC in World Arena.

DU Lineup
Loney - D. Shore - Salazar
Knowlton - N. Shore - Doremus
Mermis - Ostrow - Jackson
Larraza - Tabrum - Olszewski

Phillips - Mayfield
Makowski - Didier
LaLeggia - Lee

Czech Republic 5 - USA 2 FINAL

Internet: NHL.com
TV: NHL Network
Friday @ 1:30 PM MT




News & Notes From Around PioNation-Game Day

(above) Kyle Ostrow and Anthony Maiani will be playing together again with the ECHL Chicago Express
"There's no way we're going to make any excuses. We have a lineup, the guys we have available, that if we play the way we can, we'll have a good chance. Our primary concern is playing better in our own end. Our team defense has got to improve. That's what we're talking about and working on. Our success is going to hinge on the success we have defensively."
-DU Coach George Gwozdecky
The Denver Post profiles the Air Force hockey team today.
The DU Mens basketball team opened up Sun Belt Conference play with a 79-62 victory over Troy at Magness Arena on Thursday night. Denver improved to 11-2, tying its best NCAA Division I start, originally set in 1942-43.
DU basketball is hanging in there at #31 in the Realtime RPI Rankings as of Thursday night.
DU Hockey returns to action against #10 Union on Friday night at Magness Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM against Union & and 6 PM MT at Air Force on New Year's Eve.
While most Denver fans are keeping an eye on Jason Zucker and the Under-20 World Championship, DU recruit Will Butcher recorded two assists as the U.S. National Under-17 Team defeated the Czech Republic, 5-1, at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Ontario.
Team USA faces the Czech Republic at 1:30 PM MT on Friday at the Junior World Championships.  The game can be seen for free on the internet at NHL.com or on TV on the NHL Network.

Finland 4 - USA 1 FINAL

Internet: NHL.com
TV: NHL Network

Joel Armia had two goals and an assist to lead Finland to a 4-1 win against the United States in a Pool B preliminary-round game Wednesday at the world junior hockey championship.

Finland and the U.S. are both 1-1 in Pool B behind Canada (2-0).

Armia, a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, paced the Finland offense. Mikael Granlund, a first-round selection of the Minnesota Wild, and Nashville Predators prospect Mikka Salomaki also scored.

The U.S. faces the Czechs on Friday.

Tyler Bozak Having Breakout Season In Toronto

(above) DU alum Tyler Bozak is back centering the first line in Toronto
From: TSN.com
by Jonas Siegel

The job that was supposed to belong to high-priced free agent signee Tim Connolly remains in the hands of  University of Denver alum Tyler Bozak.

The 25-year-old has registered 19 points in the last 20 games playing pivot for Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul on the Leafs first line. And with 24 points already this season, Bozak is just eight points from matching the total he had all of last season in an underwhelming sophomore campaign.

“I think the main thing for me is just confidence,” he told the Leaf Report. “I'm confident now that I can get the job done out there; I can get points, I can keep my own end clean and whenever you're playing with confidence you're a way better player.”

Several improvements have sparked the breakthrough third season, many of which stem from greater accountability in the defensive zone.

Struggling to put points on the board early last season, Bozak admittedly cheated in his own end, looking to jump-start the production expected of a first-line centre. “But you find out the hard way that that just results in more goals against and less goals for you,” he said. The minus-29 rating, which stuck like a scarlet letter to his name (and was amongst the worst in the NHL) was a source of real frustration and top priority for cleanup this fall. A plus-5 rating thus far demonstrates progress in that regard. “Obviously they're still going to be mishaps,” Bozak said. “We're an offensive line and we want to produce offensively and not spend a lot of time in our zone so there's going to be times where we give up some goals, but we're plus players this year which is nice.”

Offensively in the past, there was a strong tendency on Bozak's part to force-feed Kessel the puck. Running shotgun with a regular 30-goal man, he felt the need and obvious pressure to find his high-powered linemate as much as possible. “Early in my career I would force it to Phil all the time,” Bozak conceded, “and even he doesn't want me to do that; he wants me to take my shots when I have my opportunities.” Without a goal in the opening 14 games, Bozak has found twine seven times now in the last 20 games. “I'm more confident now that I can score goals. Obviously still a pass-first guy and I'm going to be looking to make the pass first, but I'm not going to force the stuff like I used to,” he said.

According to Bozak, the offensive pitfalls – which saw him post just 15 goals and 32 points in 2010-2011 despite logging over 19 minutes a game – tied back to what became a constant mental struggle in the defensive end, a circular effect considering the initial source of the miscues (cheating for offence). “I think last year wasn't [so much] confidence [that] I couldn't score,” he explained, “it was just every time I was on the ice I thought I was going to get scored on, more so than thinking I was going to score or our line was going to score. And this year every time we get a shift I think there's a good chance that we can get a goal between the three of us.”

Kessel (41 points) and Lupul (38) sit comfortably amongst the league leaders in scoring this season, primarily (and rather unexpectedly) with the third-year centre in the middle. Connolly was inked to a two-year contract this past summer, specifically to fill the first-line centre void, but with injuries and the line's continued success without him there's been little reason for Ron Wilson switch things up. He aimed ever so briefly last week to get “more the look of what we expected” with Connolly in between Kessel and Lupul, but after two periods reverted back to Bozak.

“I was able to get on [the line] at the right time when Loops and Phil got hot,” Bozak noted. “They obviously don't want to break up a line that's doing well so I think a lot of the credit goes out to the wingers for that.”

In addition to the flexibility he's provided down the middle, Bozak has also recently returned to the penalty-kill – a role he filled with some success last season – while remaining a quiet, but effective presence on the league's 3rd ranked powerplay (nine points).

Brian Burke claimed to have added a player of first-round caliber when he signed Bozak as a free agent from the University of Denver. With his performance so far this season, Bozak is beginning to justify that hype.

Zucker Scores As USA Defeats Denmark 11-3

(above) Jason Zucker, third from left, celebrates with USA teammates
EDMONTON - Jason Zucker scored a goal and had two assists as the United States dominated Denmark 11-3 to open the world junior men's hockey championship Monday.

Zucker scored the American's 2nd goal after receiving the puck at the red line, he overran Danish defenceman Mark Larsen.
With a 3-2 lead going into the second period, the U.S. scored six goals to put the game out of reach.

The majority of the 13,501 at Rexall Place climbed aboard the Danish bandwagon to unite in hostility against a U.S. squad that is seen as Team Canada's biggest obstacle in Pool B.

DU Basketball Hopes To Build Program's History

(above) Joe Scott has DU flying high this season
From: Denver Post
By Irv Moss

The more Joe Scott learns about the University of Denver's distant basketball past, the more driven he becomes for what he wants to see in the future.

On a trip to Utah State in November — a 67-54 Denver victory — Scott discovered there's some DU history to build on. The Pioneers have the fourth-longest series on Utah State's schedule. They met for the first time in the 1922-23 season, but they have met just twice since 1978.

Then Monday, the Pioneers played their 148th game in the series with Wyoming. There's Division I men's basketball history at DU, but it needs a dusting [read entire article].

Zucker's Leadership Will Be On Display For USA

Jason Zucker
by Michael Russo

Even before Dean Blais awarded Jason Zucker the prestigious honor Friday of being the United States' captain for the upcoming World Junior Championships, the University of Denver star proved his leadership to the US coach.

Zucker stood up and addressed the team at the start of training camp.

Two years ago, Zucker was on the American team that upset Canada and won gold in Regina, Saskatchewan. That experience of winning in enemy territory should come in handy this go-round when the tournament takes place in hockey-mad Edmonton and Calgary.

The tournament begins Monday when the Americans take on Denmark.

"Canadian fans are very hostile, and rightfully so -- they're very into the Canadian team," Zucker said. "With that being said, I know what to expect every night. Whether we're playing Canada or not, fans aren't rooting for us.

"They're going to be rooting for Denmark, they're going to be rooting for Finland and everybody else that we play because they don't like us. So we have to be ready for that every night."

This is Zucker's third consecutive world juniors, also medaling last year when the U.S. won bronze. But Zucker is a very different player than the youngster who played on the 2010 gold medal team.

Then, he was a role player -- the youngest player on the squad at age 17. Now he's 19, a college star. Last year at DU, he tied for first in scoring as a freshman with 45 points and was named WCHA Rookie of the Year. This year, he ranks ninth in the nation with 24 points.

In Alberta, Zucker is poised to play on a top scoring line with Minnesota Wild prospect Charlie Coyle and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Brandon Saad.

In a 7-3 exhibition pounding of Switzerland in Camrose, Alberta, on Wednesday, the line combined for three goals and six assists.

"Brandon's going to make plays and help put the puck in the net, and Charlie Coyle, he does everything right," Zucker said. "He blocks shots, he goes into corners, he can hit, he can win faceoffs, he can score.

"I'm ready to lead this team as far as we can go," Zucker said. "I think we have something special in that locker room, and I want to win a gold medal more than anybody knows. I'm going to do everything I can. If I'm doing my best and working my hardest, that will hopefully make guys follow my path."

If you've watched Zucker play, you know he's not lying. He is relentless. His legs always are churning. He's a ferocious forechecker and incredibly fast.

Even in that meaningless exhibition game against Switzerland, Zucker was banging bodies and crashing into the end boards. The evidence was on his face in cuts and bruises.

But Zucker knows only one way. He has a unique passion for the sport considering he was born in California and grew up in Las Vegas. A former stickboy for the now-defunct IHL Las Vegas Thunder, Zucker played for the Las Vegas Outlaws AAA team before moving to Detroit at age 15 to play for distinguished Compuware.

"I give all the credit to my dad and my mom," Zucker said of Scott, the director of construction for 13 Station Casinos in Las Vegas, and his mother, Natalie, a bank teller for Wells Fargo. "They're hard-working people. They taught me when I was really young, 'You may not be the most talented kid ever, but as long as you work hard, you're going to give yourself an opportunity.'

"I really took that to heart, and it's something I carry with me every day. My favorite saying is, 'In pursuit of perfection.' I don't believe perfect can be achieved, but if you work hard to try to achieve that, you'll be great at some point in time."

You can bet the Wild is salivating to sign Zucker after this season.

"They haven't talked to me yet, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't crossed my mind," Zucker said. "I'm not worrying about it right now, though. I have this tournament ahead of me. This is a huge part of my life and my career, and then I have to get back to Denver and worry about that because my next goal is to win a national championship.

"After that, I'll worry about the Wild."

Zucker Makes Final Roster Of USA National Team

USA Hockey announced that Jason Zucker and 20 other players have been named for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton and Calgary.  Zucker was named captain of the U.S. National Junior Team.

Zucker is one of two players on this year's roster who has appeared in the last three WJC events for Team USA. Goalie Jack Campbell is the other.

Defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Emerson Etem were named alternate captains.

DU Football Played in 1947 Alamo Bowl

(above) DU dropped football after the 1960 season
From: The Olympian

On Dec. 29th the University of Washington will face Baylor in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

The Alamo Bowl that was started in 1993 was not San Antonio’s first attempt to bring postseason college football to south Texas. A game scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 1947 – also called the Alamo Bowl – pitted Hardin-Simmons against the University of Denver. It was delayed three days by an ice storm, and when the weather finally thawed at the 23,000-seat Alamo Stadium, the crowd of 3,370 fell far below the expected turnout of 10,000. Organizers took a financial bath, and the Alamo Bowl was one-and-done. (By the way, for those who think there are too many bowl games nowadays, the 1947 postseason was cluttered with the likes of such bowls as the Delta, Dixie, Grape, Great Lakes, Harbor, Raisin and Salad. None would survive beyond 1951.)

DU Defeats The Citadel 70-58

The University of Denver basketball team defeated The Citadel 70-58 at Magness Arena on Thursday night. Sophomore forward Chris Udofia led all scorers with 19 points, while adding seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

DU has a 10-2 record this season.

DU #11 In NCAA Basketball RPI Rankings

Denver (9-2) vs. The Citadel (2-8)
Thursday, Dec. 22
Magness Arena
TV: Pioneer Vision
Radio: AM 1510 & FM 93.7
Web: www.DenverPioneers.com

The University of Denver Men's basketball team is ranked #11 today out of 344 NCAA basketball teams in the RPI Rankings which mimics the formula used to select teams for the NCAA Tournament field.  DU has three wins over Top 100 teams including victories over #3 Southern Mississippi, #50 St. Marys & 87 Wyoming.  

St. Marys & Wyoming have only lost one game each this season and it was to DU.  Southern Mississippi's only other loss, besides to DU, was to undefeated Murray State.

DU is 9-2 for the first time since returning to NCAA Division I in 1998-99. DU is second in the nation in free throw percentage (.815), 14th in three-point field goal percentage (.412) and 23rd in field goal percentage (.490).

Three DU Recruits Selected For Under 17-Worlds

(above) Click to enlarge
Three University of Denver recruits were selected to play for Team USA in the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from Dec. 28, 2011-Jan. 4, 2012, in Windsor, Ontario.

Connor Chatham, Gage Ausmus and Will Butcher have committed to attend the University of Denver.
2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
D Dakota Mermis (Green Bay, USHL)
D Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Des Moines, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Omaha, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Grant Arnold (Green Bay, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class

F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)

2014 Recruiting Class

F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)  

Tweets From PioNation-Xmas Shopping Edition

Tweets From Around PioNation

"When Gwozdecky signed his 12-year extension in 2001, taking him to the end of the 2013-14 season (which we didn’t know at the time), the Pioneers staged a splashy news conference to say Gwoz signed a “long-term deal.” How long? “None of your business.” When is his current deal set to expire? “None of your business.” Did he get a raise? “None of your business.” "
-Mike Chambers Blog

DU Hoops Does It Again; Shocks Wyoming 57-46

(above) Brian Stafford goes to the basket
The University of Denver basketball team continued its amazing season with a convincing win over the University of Wyomingt 57-46 on Monday night in Magness Arena. With another quality win. DU moved up to #23 in the NCAA's "unofficial" RPI rankings.

Denver's 9-2 record is DU's best NCAA Division I mark since opening 11-2 in 1942-43.

The Cowboys (11-2) tied the Pioneers (9-2) at 32-32 with nine minutes left in the contest when DU clamped down defensively. The Pioneers held the Cowboys to just four free throws over the next six minutes to craft a 14-4 run. The Denver spurt was capped by two-straight threes and put DU firmly in control, 46-36, with 3:04 left. UW would hit just two more buckets the rest of the game.

"I have to give their defense credit." Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. "They forced us to take contested threes all game. I really feel the difference in the game was they were getting open threes and we were not. Their three point defense is better than ours and it really showed when we couldn't get an open look at three."

Carle & Stastny Met In NHL Tilt On Monday Night

(Above) The boyz were back in town last night at the Pepsi Center
From: NHL.com
by Rick Sadowski

There was plenty of good-natured bantering last night when former University of Denver teammates Paul Stastny and Matt Carle were on the Pepsi Center ice. The Avs skated away with a 3-2 Shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.  Stasny had an assist in the game.

Stastny, who is in his sixth season with the Colorado Avalanche, and Carle, in his seventh NHL season and fourth with the Philadelphia Flyers, played pivotal roles when the University of Denver won a national championship in 2004-05, and they remain close friends.

"It's always fun playing against him," Carle said after this morning pregame skate. "He's always trying to joke around on the ice and stuff. I'm a little more serious when I'm out there and he's always trying to get a laugh out of me when we're playing against each other. It's nothing too serious, but he keeps it fun out there."

The players have continued to follow each other's careers since leaving school after the 2005-06 season.

Stastny, a 25-year-old center, was a second-round pick (No. 44) of the Avalanche in the 2005 NHL Draft and signed with Colorado after his sophomore campaign. Carle, a 27-year-old defenseman, was San Jose's second-round pick (No. 47) in 2003 and signed with the Sharks after his junior season.

While Stastny has spent his entire NHL career with the Avalanche, Carle spent parts of three seasons with the Sharks and 12 games with Tampa Bay before being traded to the Flyers on Nov. 7, 2008.

"After being traded a couple times it's nice to be in one spot for a period of time and to get to know the guys on the team and the coaching staff," Carle said.

Carle has 4 goals and 14 assists in 31 games this season after collecting 7 goals and 68 assists in 162 games over the two previous seasons.

"He's kind of found his niche," Stastny said. "He's been playing really well there. It's a good style for him. He can use his speed and his high offensive skill to jump into the play."

Carle also has 3 power-play goals and a plus-6 rating while averaging 22:31 in ice time.

"Just a really steady, quiet, effective player for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's not a lot of noise with Matt. You don't hear much about him, but every night he goes in there and recently he's been our top minute guy. He's really good in all zones. He defends other teams' top players, he adds offensively, he plays in all situations for us and he's a great kid in the locker room.

"Quietly, he's one of our leaders on the back end. It doesn't come with a whole lot of hoopla, and I think that's a really good thing. He's just a quiet guy that goes about his business and he's very effective. He's having a terrific year."

Said Carle: "Even when I was in college I was never one of those guys to stand up in the locker room and yell at the guys. I try to lead by example and be a professional and just do what's expected of me."

Wyoming Visits DU Hoops On Monday Night

DU (8-2) vs.  Wyoming (11-1)
Monday, December 19
6 p.m. MT
Magness Arena
TV: ROOT SPORTS • Radio: AM 1510 & FM 93.7

Ticket Special: $12.50 fans receive a ticket, a hot dog and a beer or soda

St. Cloud State 5 - DU 1 FINAL

St Cloud State defenseman Nick Jensen had a hat trick to lead the men’s hockey team to a 5-1 victory over the University of Denver.

DU Fell behind 1-0 in the first minute of the game and St Cloud never looked back.

DU Hoops To Play On Root Sports On Saturday

DU (7-2) vs. Boise State (8-2)
Saturday, December 17, 2011
4:30 p.m. MT
Magness Arena (7,200)
TV: ROOT SPORTS-Rocky Mountain
Radio: AM 1510 & FM 93.7
Web: www.DenverPioneers.com

Denver Post Profiles Jason Zucker

Jason Zucker
From: Denver Post
by Adrian Dater

Jason Zucker has a weekend series to play for the Denver Pioneers​. Then, he will jet off to Camrose, Alberta, on Sunday for the U.S. world junior team training camp. And he has a future to think about as a draft pick of the Minnesota Wild​.

Does the sophomore winger feel like he' s coming, or going? [read entire article]

DU 3 - St Cloud State 2 FINAL OT

(above) Jason Zucker opened the scoring with a power play goal
 DU Lineup
Zucker - D.Shore - Salazar
Mermis - N.Shore - Doremus
Knowlton - Ostrow - Jackson
Larraza - Tabrum - Loney

Phillips - Mayfield
LaLeggia - Lee
Makowski - Didier

Olkinuora [Hope]

1st Period
DU 1 - (PP) Jason Zucker scored on an early Power Play goal.  Assists to Drew Shore and David Makowski.

2nd Period 
SCSU 1 - Cam Reid
St. Cloud 2nd goal waived off by replay.  Goaltender interference.
DU 2 - (PP) Drew Shore from Joey LaLeggia & Nick Shore

3rd Period
SCSU 2 - (PP) Travis Novak

DU 3 - (PP) Drew Shore.  Assists Joey LaLeggia & Nick Shore

PioNation Tweets - The On/Off Switch

Bozak Tweets About "Justin Bieber Roundup"

From: Busted Coverage Blog

Is Toronto Maple Leafs center & DU Alum Tyler Bozak a nut? We’re not really sure because we don’t know a hell of a lot about him, but we’re beginning to think he is.

This is the same dude who was firing assault rifles with teammate Mike Brown in October, shortly after the NHL season had begun. Nothing could go wrong there, right?

Now, Bozak is recruiting his boys to go to a Justin Bieber concert this summer. He hit up teammate Jake Gardiner on Twitter to pose just that question on Thursday.

We’re not sure when the concert is, but apparently the Leafs don’t really have any plans to be playing in June. Although they haven’t been any good in who knows how long (no, I’m not from Toronto), they’re playing well this season. They’re currently second in the Northeast with 35 points, six points behind the Boston Bruins, but hey, getting into the playoffs for a change is probably enough.

Anyway, we’re not really sure what Gardiner thought about the Bieber concert because he didn’t reply.

However, Ray Kaunisto, who currently plays in the AHL for the Manchester Monarchs and is a Los Angeles Kings draftee, jumped in with the idea to turn the whole thing into an “accidental” Las Vegas excursion.

Gameday: DU @ St. Cloud State

“I would say the season has been less than successful.”
-Denver head coach, George Gwozdecky
From; St. Cloud Times
by Mick Hatten

Denver and St. Cloud State go into this weekend’s WCHA men’s series in the middle of a clump of teams that will be battling in the second half for first round home ice for the conference tournament.

There are five teams — Colorado College, Denver, Michigan Tech, Bemidji State and St. Cloud State — separated by three points from fourth place to ninth place in the conference standings. The top six teams at the end of the season will get home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

The Pioneers, who are ranked No. 13/14 in the national polls, did not expect to be in that clump before the season started. They weren’t alone in that outlook [read entire article].

DU Has Ties To Denver's 2022 Winter Olympic Bid

by Kevin Vaughn

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper & Denver Mayor Michael Hancock have formed an exploratory committee of business and civic leaders to consider the potential benefits, ramifications and costs involved in bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The 22-member committee will be headed by Don Elliman, from the University of Colorado Medical School, and Anne Warhover, chief executive of the Colorado Health Foundation.

Among its tasks will be to determine not only the costs to bid for the Games but to assess potential venues for the various competitions, including those which would have to be built.

Among those who will be named to the committee are Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom, attorneys Steve Farber & Cole Finegan, Paralympian Sara Will, former Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake, Vail Valley Foundation chairman Harry Frampton, and Christine Riordan, dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

DU Women's Hoops In RPI Top 50

(above) Kaetlyn Murdoch helped lead DU past the Gophers
University of Denver senior forward Kaetlyn Murdoch scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Pioneers to a 72-63 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday evening at Magness Arena. The win improves the Pioneers to 6-0 at home

DU was the preseason favorite to win the Sunbelt Conference.  The Pioneers are off to a 8-3 start in nonconference action and have impressive wins over Oregon and Minnesota this week.

DU is ranked #47 in the NCAA RPI Formula.  Last season the Pioneers made the WNIT, but the NCAA Tournament appears to be within reach this season.

DU's 2nd Youngest Recruit Tearing Up USHL

Trevor Moore
From: The Independent
by Seth Blank

As one of the youngest players in the United States Hockey League, Trevor Moore couldn’t be faulted for being nervous.

After all, the 16-year-old forward from Thousand Oaks, Calif., hadn’t ever played on the USHL’s big stage with much bigger opponents than the ones he faced while playing for the LA Selects Hockey Club Under-16 team last season.

“Some of these have full-grown beards and missing teeth,” Moore said. “It was a little intimidating at first, but you get used to it. I have Kenny out there with me so I knew Kenny would protect me.”

Kenny is forward Kenny Brooks who along with Nick Lappin and Moore form the Tri-City Storm’s top line. The line has accounted for 29 of the Storm’s 66 goals this season. Lappin’s 14 goals lead the team, but Moore’s play over the last month has turned heads.

After registering only one point in his first eight games, Moore has 14 points in his last 13. He had a five-game goal streak and has three multi-point games this season. Add it all up and he has eight goals and seven assists in 21 games this year.

And it’s only December.

Knowing that, Storm coach Josh Hauge is anxious to see how Moore will perform after the Christmas break.

“I think his future is bright. We’re expecting big things from him,” Hauge said.

Dave Moore, who played Division III college hockey, got his son into hockey at age 5. Last season, Moore recorded 19 goals and 22 assists in 35 games for LA Selects. His statistics caught the eye of Tri-City, which selected Moore with its first pick in the 2011 Futures Draft.

On his way to Kearney for preseason practice, Moore visited the University of Denver and accepted an offer to join the Pioneers hockey team in 2013. Although he had talked with other schools, Denver was the first to provide an offer and Moore didn’t think twice about saying yes.

“That’s kind of where I always wanted to go,” Moore said.

Now, Moore’s set on becoming stronger and better, not only to prepare for college, but with the hope of getting drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — the first year he’ll be eligible.

The USHL didn’t treat Moore kindly at first. As he struggled to gain confidence while adjusting to the speed of the game early this season, Moore confessed the learning curve was stiff.

“Practices here are way tougher compared to playing 16s where the drills are all fun,” Moore said. “Here, every drill is just a good skate to get your endurance up. It’s really tough.”

“...It was frustrating at first. I mean I wasn’t coming in expecting a lot of points. I was told it’s a very tough league, which it is. The speed of it at the beginning was very difficult for me.”

But the game’s pace started to slow the more ice time Moore shelved. He also benefited from being on a line with veterans Lappin and Brooks, who have taken the youngster under their wings. Moore said they’ve taught him “everything.”

“Just watching them play in practice and games, they’re unbelievable guys. I’m so fortunate to be on their line,” he said.

Brooks likes what he sees in Moore. He said Moore’s not cocky and is willing to work hard. Now, all he has to do is keep his chin up.

“He’s still working on his consistency, but he’s there most games. ...He gets a little nervous because he missed a shot. He gets a little down on himself on those,” Brooks said. “...You’ve got to tell him ’Hey, you’re going to have plenty of those. I’ve missed plenty. It’s going to be OK.’”

As Moore began to improve, it didn’t take long for him to find a home on Tri-City’s power play. He has three power-play goals and one power-play assist this year - all coming in the last seven games.

Those are solid numbers for a player who started his power-play days extremely cautious.

“I was really nervous at first because it was a big step. I didn’t think I would get there that quickly,” Moore said. “When I first got on there, I was just trying to pass the puck around and not mess up.”

As he began tallying points, Moore’s confidence has soared to the point he’s not preoccupied with playing safe. Instead, he wants to make plays.

“Obviously, confidence is key. Avoiding mistakes, you have to try not to do that. You have to go try to make the play, and I think, including me, all of our young guys are starting to do that now,” Moore said.

Moore aspires to play in the NHL, and he’s doing all he can to make his dream a reality. Whether it’s spending his free time lifting weights to bombarding his coach with questions, Moore wants to make sure he’s doing everything correctly.

Hauge said Moore is “a pleasure” to coach.

“He’s a humble kid that just does whatever you ask,” Hauge said. “He plays hard every night. He wants to get better. He’s asking questions. You tell him to do something and he’s trying it. He may not do it the first time, but you know he’s going to figure out a way to get it.”
2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
D Dakota Mermis (Green Bay, USHL)
D Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Des Moines, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Omaha, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Grant Arnold (Green Bay, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class

F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)

2014 Recruiting Class

F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL) 

Bad Boyz: UNO Forward Booted From Team

From: WOWT.com

In a brief statement, University of Nebraska-Omaha hockey head coach Dean Blais announced that senior center Alex Hudson has been dismissed from the team.

Blais says he made the decision after Hudson committed a second violation of team rules this season. He offered no other details.

Hudson had 4 goals and 6 assists in 16 games and had previously been suspended for four games.

Bomb Squad Called To DU Thursday Morning

(above) The Denver Fire & Recuse at DU Thursday morning
From: Channel 7

The bomb squad was called out to the University Of Denver early Thursday when firefighters found what looked to be artillery shells inside an oven.

The Fire Department responded to an alarm at 2050 East Iliff Ave. around 4:30 a.m.

When firefighters arrived, they found smoke in a science lab.

Firefighters traced the smoke to an oven, and inside they found artillery, according to Kim DeVigil of the Denver Fire Department.

The bomb squad was called out as a precaution.

At 6:45 a.m., firefighters started reopening streets in the area.

Firefighters are now trying to track down the professor of the lab to find out why there were weapons in a science lab oven. After a thorough investigation, the bomb squad determined it was just a "science project gone bad."

DU Basketball Defeats Northern Colorado

(above) DU Hoops had another big win on Wednesday night
Brian Stafford scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, leading the University of Denver to a 71-65 victory over Northern Colorado.  The victory gave DU another win over a team that made the NCAA basketball tournament in recent seasons.  Northern Colorado won the Big Sky Conference last season before losing in the 1st round of the Tournament to San Diego State.
Denver trailed early but opened the second half on a 11-0 run, to lead 37-31.

Royce O'Neale added 14 points and Brett Olson 11 for Denver (7-2), which improved to 3-1 on the road. The Pioneers scored 25 points off 18 turnovers and finished 11-of-32 on 3-point attempts.

The game was televised on Altitude Sports.

Video: DU Recruit Landon Smith's Amazing Goal

(above) DU recruit Landon Smith scores a shorthanded goal for Cedar Rapids

DU recruit Landon Smith (5'10 168 lbs.) is in his rookie season for the Cedar Rapids Rough Ridgers.  So far this season he has 4 goals and an assist in 20 USHL games.

The shorthanded goal scored above was a beauty (Dec. 9 vs. Green Bay).
2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
D Dakota Mermis (Green Bay, USHL)
D Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Des Moines, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Grant Arnold (Green Bay, USHL)

2013 Recruiting Class

F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)

2014 Recruiting Class

F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

Boise State To Join WAC In Most Sports

Boise State University will return to the Western Athletic Conference as a full member in all sports except football effective July 1, 2013.

The move became necessary when Boise State announced earlier today that it was withdrawing from the Mountain West Conference to join the Big East Conference in football-only for the 2013 season. Prior to joining the Mountain West five months ago, the Broncos had been a WAC member the previous 10 years.

With the addition, the WAC will consist of 11 members for the 2013-14 season; Boise State (non-football), Denver (non-football), Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State-San Marcos, UT Arlington (non-football), UT-San Antonio and Utah State.

"The addition of Boise State only strengthens an already strong WAC brand," University of Denver Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes said. "Boise State is certainly welcomed by DU and its sports programs."

Bennett's Injury Window Adjusted To 8-12 Weeks

(above) Beau Bennett's Twitter photo from the hospital after the injury originally occurred on Oct. 26th
University of Denver star forward Beau Bennett's injury recovery prognosis has been increased from 6-8 weeks to 8-12 weeks.  On Thursday Bennett had surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his wrist.

Eight to twelve weeks would place Bennett's return anywhere from the first weekend in February to the first week in March, 2012.  DU's schedule in February is chock-a-block full of key WCHA rivals.
Remaining Schedule
Dec. 16-17 @ St. Cloud
Dec. 30 Union
Dec. 31 @ Air Force
Jan. 6-7 Alabama-Huntsville
Jan. 13-14 Bemdji State 
Jan. 27-28 @ UAA
Feb. 2 Colorado College
[Possible Bennett Return Window]
Feb. 3 @ Colorado College
Feb. 10-11 Minnesota
Feb. 17-18  @ Wisconsin [DU Hockey Alumni Road Trip]
Feb. 24-25 North Dakota
Mar. 2-3 @ Nebraska-Omaha
Mar. 9-11 WCHA Playoffs
Mar. 15-17 WCHA Final 5

Bad Boyz: Boston University Star Arrested

(above) BU's Corey Trivino scored a goal against DU earlier in the season
From: USCHO.com & Boston Hockey Blog

Boston University senior and Hockey East leading goal scorer Corey Trivino was arrested Sunday night and charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery.
According to the police report, the incident began when a female Resident Assistant heard residents of a room being extremely loud. The RA went to the room to tell them to quiet down, and Trivino followed her back to her room and pushed her door open, the report states. She said in the report that she told Trivino to go back to his room, but instead he allegedly started kissing and groping the victim. The victim told Trivino he was being inappropriate and should leave her room, and he left, according to the police report.

A few minutes later, Trivino allegedly returned and was banging on her door. The RA opened the door slightly and Trivino tried to kiss her, but she pushed him away, according to the police report. The RA said in the police report that she told Trivino "You need to stop," and "You need to go." Trivino allegedly cornered the victim by her desk and attempted to kiss her as she pushed him away, the police report said. She said in the police report that she managed to get him to leave at that time and she then texted a friend for help.

Trivino then returned a third time and banged loudly on the door, according to the report. The victim said in the report that she needed to open the door as part of her RA duties. Trivino allegedly forced his way in again and tried to kiss her, then sat on her bed, took his shoes off, said he would sleep there that night and laid down.

At that time, the RA called the Resident Director of the area, the police report said. When Trivino heard her on the phone with the Resident Director, he put his shoes on and ran out of her room, the police report said, and then the Resident Director told the RA to call the BU police.

According to the police report, "a very intoxicated male" got on the elevator with the police responding to the call. The male identified himself as Trivino and identified his room number as that of the RA, the police report said, at which time he was arrested.
Trivino, also charged with two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime and one count of assault with attempt to rape, is no longer a member of the hockey team, head coach Jack Parker said in the article.

Back in May 2010, Trivino was suspended for an alcohol-related incident before the Hockey East semifinals and missed time at the start of the 2010-11 season.   He also missed part on the 2010 season with a broken leg.

Trivino had 13 goals and 17 points in 15 games this season and ends his Terriers’ career with 73 points in 112 games. He was drafted by the New York Islanders in 2008.

DU Alum Patrick Wiercioch Seriously Injured

From: PressConnect.com
by Joy Lindsay

Binghamton Senators (AHL) defenseman Patrick Wiercioch was transferred to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse on Saturday after spending Friday night at Lourdes Hospital.

Wiercioch, 21, suffered a serious throat injury when he was struck by a puck during the B-Sens' game on Friday. He was in stable condition at the time of the transfer.

"The update on Patty is he's in good hands," B-Sens coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. "At some point, we are going to transport him to Syracuse just to see a specialist. But I know he's doing well. I know he's stable. They've got everything under control. Honestly, still don't know quite what the extent is. But he's in really good hands, and I know he's doing well."

After Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Norfolk Admirals, Wiercioch was on the B-Sens' minds.

"I know that we all care about Patty," Kleinendorst said. "I know that we all have him in our prayers. But how much it affected us ... I hope we didn't dedicate this one to Patty, because it would have been a shame. But any time you have a teammate that something like that happens to, it can't help but affect you in some way."

Wiercioch's teammates are waiting for news about his condition and hoping for the best.

"It's tough whenever anything like that happens," goalie Mike McKenna said. "Some guys in the room have never played with anyone who's been injured in a way like he was. Some of us have -- guys who have been around longer probably have a better chance of it. From a personal standpoint, we play the game, and we often forget about the risks that are associated with it.

"He's been on our minds the last couple nights, but once play starts, you're into the game, and it just tends to go away. Once the game's over, your mind goes back to it. We're all anxiously awaiting an update to see how he's been doing."

Bemidji State 2 - DU 1 FINAL

The University of Denver struggled on the power play all weekend and it came back to bite them on Saturday night.  DU fell behind Bemidji State 2-0 before Daniel Doremus scored in the third period.

Juho Olkinora was heroic between the pipes but it wasn't enough to hold off Bemidji.

DU had plenty of offensive opportunities, but ultimately going 0 for 6 on the power play did them in.

Ruegsegger Joins DU Mates In Bridgeport

(above) Tyler Ruegsegger is going to be reunited with former DU teammates Rhett Rakhshani & Matt Donovan
From: NorwalkPlus.com

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced today they have signed forward Tyler Ruegsegger to a professional tryout contract (PTO).

Ruegsegger, 23, joins the Sound Tigers after amassing 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 22 games with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL this season. The Lakewood, CO native made his professional debut last season splitting time with Alaska and Utah of the ECHL, combining for 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 58 regular season games.

Ruegsegger turned pro last season after the conclusion of his collegiate career at the University of Denver where he played alongside current Sound Tigers Rhett Rakhshani and Matt Donovan. A sixth round (166th overall) pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

DU 3 - Bemidji State 2 FINAL

(Above) DU wins while UND & CC lose on Friday night
Juho saves DU again
.With star winger Beau Bennett back home resting a surgically repaired wrist, it was all hands on deck for the University of Denver in Bemidji, MN on Friday evening.  Jason Zucker and Drew Shore pulled out the victory and DU won a dramatic come-from-behind thriller over Bemidji State 3-2.

Zucker scored his second goal with less than eight minutes remaining to tie the game.  Just under three minutes later, Drew Shore scored the game winner.

Goaltender Juho Olkinuora recorded his second career victory with 21 saves.

Shawn Ostrow received a deep cut around his skate that sounded very serious, but he was able to return in the third period.  

Beau Bennett To Miss Next 6 to 8 Weeks

From: DenverPioneers.com

University of Denver sophomore forward Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.) is expected to miss at a minimum the next six to eight weeks with a wrist injury, DU head coach George Gwozdecky announced Friday afternoon.

Bennett had successful surgery on Thursday, Dec. 8 to repair a ruptured tendon in his wrist, he originally injured during practice on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Bennett missed four games with the injury, but returned to the DU lineup on Saturday, Nov. 12 against in-state rival Colorado College.

“Beau has courageously played the last three weeks with the wrist injury,” Gwozdecky said. “However, we felt surgery was necessary for Beau’s short and long-term career. We look forward to his return to our lineup in the second half of the season.”;

Bennett, a 2010 first round NHL draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has 13 points (4g, 9a) in 10 games for the No. 13 Pioneers (6-5-3). Bennett has 38 points (13g, 25a) in 47 career games for DU.

Bemidji State Plots Revenge Against DU

by Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State goalie Dan Bakala was on the receiving end of all three losses against Denver last season.

The last loss ended Bemidji State’s postseason run at the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul and Bakala is expecting a ‘tough series’ in the rematch is this weekend at the Sanford Center (Friday 6:30 PM MT, Saturday 6 PM MT).

“In those tournament games they were the team to beat us out and we really want these guys,” Bakala said.

The Beavers bring a three-game unbeaten streak into the weekend, which ends the first half of Bemidji State’s WCHA schedule.

No. 13-ranked Denver comes to Bemidji for the first time in program history. The Pioneers, a team with speed up front and size on the blue line, are led in scoring by four NHL draft picks.  Sophomore Jason Zucker has a team-high eight goals and 20 points. Drew Shore has 19 points, Beau Bennett has 13 points and Nick Shore has 13 points.

BSU head coach Tom Serratore said this week he would not be surprised to see the Pioneers play at the Frozen Four in the spring.

“Before we started the season they were the preseason pick to win the WCHA in my eyes,” Serratore said. “Obviously Minnesota and UMD are running away with things right now but talent-wise, they might have the most talent in the league.”

The WCHA standings as the league nears the season’s mid-point add intrigue to this weekend’s matchup. Only two points separate the fourth-place tie between Colorado College and North Dakota at 12 points, and Bemidji State in ninth place at 10 points. Denver sits in the middle of the group in a sixth place tie with Michigan Tech and St. Cloud State at 11 points.

“We’re still fighting to scrap our way into the top half of the standings,” Bakala said. “It’s pretty clustered in the middle there but we’re just working our way through.”

The Beavers are unbeaten in the last three games following an inconsistent stretch of seven games that included five losses.

The Beavers stopped that stretch with a 1-0 win against North Dakota on Nov. 20 and returned from a week off to take three points from St. Cloud State on the road last weekend. BSU tied SCSU 6-6 Friday after rallying from a pair of two-goal deficits and won 3-1 Saturday by stopping all five power plays it faced.

“I don’t know if we necessarily have played great hockey, but we’ve had some success and we’ve found ways to win,” Serratore said. “The biggest thing over the last couple games is the guts and character our guys showed.”

Bakala has started the last six games and carries a .906 save percentage into the series. He was pulled from last Friday’s shootout in the first period after allowing three straight goals and responded with 33 saves to win the following game.

“Bemidji State has adjusted without former star and current Philadelphia Flyer Matt Read and is playing really well,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “Jordan George and Brad Hunt are two of the better players in the WCHA and the Beavers’ goaltending was outstanding last Saturday at St. Cloud State. It should be a great two-game series.”