Friday, February 13, 2009

CC-DU Get Ready for Tonight

Plenty of reading about the game tonight and the battle for the Gold Pan. The Denver Post has a pretty good article so that's my post de jour today. I'm stoked because the game is on TV on FSN tonight at World Arena and I've never watched a game on regional TV at our home arena. The other great thing is that those of us displaced from being able to go, get to watch. I've got my own hockey game right before but I'll be headed to the nearest TV after. GOO TIGERS!!!

And here's something interesting, my banner on the blog for the Tigers back-to-back Gold Pan wins made it onto the DU(d) blog back in October and I just realized it now. Funny, you would think all of those smart, educated folks that brag about going to that school would be able to come up with their own content! (as much as I hate DU, their fellow blogger and I get along just fine, go figure)


DU, CC Playing High Stakes Game
The coveted Gold Pan is up for grabs as is a chance for Pioneers to grab league lead.
By Mike Chambers
The Denver Post

CC goalie Richard Bachman has stopped 84-of-88 shots in two previous games against Denver this season. (Nathan W. Armes, Special to The Denver Post )

In a one-and-done, playoff-feel format, the Denver Pioneers and Colorado College Tigers will tonight butt heads and the rest of their bodies in a single-game weekend at the Colorado Springs World Arena. The rivals will again go against the college hockey grain March 7 at Magness Arena to conclude the regular season.

Putting aside the excitement and momentum swings of the traditional consecutive-night, home-and-home series was not caused by a venue conflict. Rather, when the schedule was originally released, both programs had this weekend off, and they collaborated to avoid having a bye during the final six-game stretch.

So wardrobe and location changes won't be needed after tonight's 270th meeting between the Front Range and Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals. But much will be at stake, beginning with the coveted Gold Pan.

If DU loses or ties tonight, CC retains the traveling trophy for the 10th time in 16 years. The Tigers tied (2-2) and beat (3-2) the Pioneers in a home-and-home set Oct. 31-Nov. 2 — a series defined by the sensational goaltending of CC sophomore Richard Bachman.

DU must find ways to beat Bachman tonight and March 7 to bring the trophy back to Denver. Bachman, from Highlands Ranch, stopped a combined 84-of-88 shots in his previous two games against the Pioneers, and was the primary reason DU went 1-of-19 on the power play.

"He's a great goaltender, no doubt about that, but you don't go into a series, or a game, focusing on the opponent or one player," said DU junior center Tyler Ruegsegger, who grew up playing with Bachman in the Littleton Hockey Association. "We just have to put pucks on net, crash the net, and shoot to score."

The DU-CC rivalry has an order of importance. It begins with the Gold Pan, continues with the WCHA standings, and finishes with the NCAA Tournament.

For the latter two, the Pioneers are in better shape.

DU is contending for its 13th MacNaughton Cup, and third this decade, and can pull ahead of idle Wisconsin for first place by itself in the league standings with a win or tie tonight. The Badgers host the Pioneers for a two-game series next weekend that concludes DU's five-game road stretch, including the final three on Olympic-size ice sheets.

"The standings are huge right now; we're tied with Wisconsin, and every point is necessary — and it doesn't matter what ice surface we play on," DU goalie Marc Cheverie said. "We just know we have to win."

CC, the defending MacNaughton Cup champion, is fourth in the WCHA, four points behind DU and UW.

In the national picture, the Pioneers are tied with Cornell for sixth in the all-important Pairwise Rankings and in good position to make the 16-team NCAA Tournament without winning the WCHA playoff tournament. The Tigers are 19th in the Pairwise — about six spots on the negative side of the at-large-berth bubble.

"We've been good some nights, bad other nights. Very inconsistent," CC coach Scott Owens said. "Who knows what's going to happen with us, but we know they're a good team and, with a win or tie (tonight), we retain Gold Pan, which is a big deal. There is a lot at stake for us."

NO. 8 DENVER (17-9-3, 13-7-2 WCHA) AT COLORADO COLLEGE (14-9-7, 10-8-4)

When: Tonight, 7:35 p.m.

Where: Colorado Springs World Arena

TV/Radio: FSN/KLZ 560 AM

Notes: DU was already short-handed with injuries to center Tyler Bozak (knee) and defenseman Chris Nutini (upper-body injury), but will now be forced to play without puck-moving defenseman Patrick Mullen, a senior who was issued a one-game suspension Thursday for his slashing major and game misconduct at the end of Saturday's game at Minnesota-Duluth. . . . The Tigers will be without the services of center Andreas Vlassopoulos (lower-body injury), defenseman Kris Fredheim (lower body) and backup goalie Drew O'Connell (shoulder). . . . CC is on a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) against DU.