DENVER - No. 5 Denver (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) opens Western Collegiate Hockey League action, when the Pioneers host Michigan Tech (1-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) on Friday at 7:37 p.m. MT and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. MT. Both games will be webcast live on Pioneer Vision, and will air live on 102.3 ESPN.
- The Denver Pioneers have posted a 1,308-869-127 (.595) all-time record in 64 years of hockey
- The Pioneers return 18 letterwinners from last season's team that finished 25-14-4 overall and 16-8-4 third-place mark in the WCHA. DU qualified for its school-best fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament and 22nd overall. DU recorded its 11th consecutive season with 21 or more wins and joined Michigan as the only teams in Division I men's hockey to accomplish 20 or more wins in each of the last 11 seasons.
LAST TIME OUT
Nick Shore recorded his first-career hat trick and added an assist, leading the Pioneers to a 5-2 win over Air Force at Magness Arena on Oct. 20. Joey LaLeggia added a goal and assist, and senior goalie Adam Murray made 22 saves in net, as Denver held off a two-goal effort by the Falcons in third period. Zac Larraza scored a late empty netter to seal the victory. For the second-straight game, DU went 2-for-3 with the man-advantage and also killed off all four of Air Force's power plays.
TIP OF THE HAT
Junior Nick Shore recorded his first-career hat trick, while adding an assist, in DU's win over Air Force on Oct. 20. It was the first hat trick by a Pioneer since Jason Zucker did so against Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 12, 2010.
OUT OF ACTION
PLAYING WITH POWER
The Pioneers scored on a combined 4-of-6 power plays in their first two games, while holding Air Force and UMass Lowell to a combined 1-for-8.
BLUE LINE SCORING
Of the 26 points the Pioneers recorded last weekend, 42.3 percent (11) came from DU defensemen. Joey LaLeggia, Nolan Zajac and David Makowski all scored goals, while LaLeggia (2), Zajac (3), Dakota Mermis, Scott Mayfield and Paul Phillips recorded assists.
PIONEERS ALL-TIME VS. MICHIGAN TECH
Denver is 116-83-19 (.575) overall and 77-27-10 (.721) at home in the all-time series with Michigan Tech that began in 1951. DU is 49-12-8 against the Huskies under head coach George Gwozdecky.
SCOUTING THE MICHIGAN TECH HUSKIES
The Michigan Tech Huskies are receiving votes in the latest USCHO.com poll. The Huskies, who were picked to finish eighth and ninth in the WCHA in the preseason polls, split their first two series this season, including one against No. 1 Minnesota last week. Sophomore Blake Pietila leads the team with four goals and is tied with Tanner Kero for the team lead in points (5). Michigan Tech has averaged 4.25 goals per game, while holding opponents to 3.50 per game.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior Paul Phillips will serve as captain of the Pioneers in 2012-13. Phillips was an alternate captain last season. Nick Shore, Chris Knowlton and Shawn Ostrow will serve as alternate captains in 2012-13.
IN THE POLLS
The Pioneers are ranked No. 5 in both the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Pioneers are predicted to finish third in the WCHA in the 41st annual Grand Forks Herald's preseason coaches poll and the annual 94X media poll.
Sophomore defenseman Joey LaLeggia and goaltender Sam Brittain were named to the Preseason All-WCHA Team by the media in the 94X poll. LaLeggia won the National and WCHA Rookie of the Year awards last season, while Brittain was 8-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
ABOUT THE 2012-13 PIONEERS
The Pioneers return 18 letterwinners from last year's 25-14-4 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Junior center Nick Shore, sophomore defenseman Joey LaLeggia, junior defenseman David Makowski, and goaltenders Sam Brittain and Juho Olkinuora headline the list of returning letterwinners. Shore is DU's top returning scorer, netting 41 points (13g, 28a) last season. LaLeggia earned National and WCHA Rookie of the Year honors after recording 38 points (11g, 27a). Makowski returns to the lineup after missing the last 23 games last season with an injury. Makowski earned All-WCHA Rookie Team honors after tallying 30 points (6g, 24a) as a freshman in 2010-11. Brittain, Olkinuora and senior Adam Murray give Denver superior depth in goal. Brittain was 8-4 with a 2.36 goals against average and .932 save percentage, while Olkinuora earned All-WCHA Rookie Team honors with a 9-8-3 mark, 2.18 goals against average and .924 save percentage. Murray posted career-bests in wins (8), goals against average (2.98) and save percentage (.909). The Pioneers have won 23 or more games and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last five seasons.
Defensemen Dakota Mermis and Nolan Zajac, and center Quentin Shore top the list of six newcomers. Mermis and Shore each scored a goal in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 29 in Buffalo, N.Y. Gabe Levin, Garrett Allen and Grant Arnold round out the six-man freshmen class.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
The 2012-13 DU roster sports seven Coloradans. Grant Arnold (Centennial), Josiah Didier (Littleton), Daniel Doremus (Aspen), Chris Knowlton (Colorado Springs), Nick Shore (Denver), Quentin Shore (Denver) and Matt Tabrum (Colorado Springs) all hail from the Centennial State.
NHL DRAFT PICKS
The Pioneers boast seven NHL Draft picks on this year's roster. Scott Mayfield (2nd/N.Y. Islanders), Nick Shore (3rd/Los Angeles), Sam Brittain (4th/Florida), Josiah Didier (4th/Montreal), Joey LaLeggia (5th/Edmonton), Paul Phillips (7th/Chicago) and Zac Larraza (7th/Phoenix) have all been selected by NHL clubs.
BAND OF BROTHERS
Denver has two sets of brothers for the third- consecutive season. Dakota and Jarrod Mermis join Nick and Quentin Shore as DU brother tandems in 2012-13. The Mermis' are the eight pair of brothers to play hockey on the same team at Denver, joining David and Evan Wylie (1951-53), Jim and Wayne Wiste (1966-67), Tom and Jim Peluso (1972), Ken and Dave Berry (1981), Kyle and Shawn Ostrow (2009-11), Beau and Wade Bennett (2011-12), and Drew, Nick and Quentin Shore (2011-12).
MORE BROTHERLY LOVE
Drew Shore, the older brother of DU teammates Nick and Quentin Shore, signed a professional contract with the Florida Panthers organization last March. Drew Shore was selected as Denver's Bill Masterton Memorial Award (MVP) for his leadership on and off the ice. Drew Shore tied a career high with 53 points (22g, 31a) and tied for first in the nation with 11 power-play goals and finished second with seven game-winning goals.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Denver freshmen Quentin Shore and Dakota Mermis each scored a goal as Team McClanahan bested Team Housley, 5-2, in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Saturday night at the First Niagara Center. The game featured 40 of the top American prospects eligible for the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Shore gave Team McClanahan a commanding 4-0 lead at 13:42 of the second period and Mermis re-established the four-goal lead with a wrist shot through traffic from the high slot at 10:50 of the final stanza.
USHL REIGNS SUPREME
The DU roster has 18 players that honed their skills in the United States Hockey League and four players from the U.S. National Team Development Program. Garrett Allen (Des Moines), Grant Arnold (Green Bay), Josiah Didier (Cedar Rapids), Daniel Doremus (Sioux Falls), Chris Knowlton (Des Moines), Ty Loney (Youngstown), David Makowski (Green Bay), Scott Mayfield (Youngstown), Dakota Mermis (Green Bay), Jarrod Mermis (Lincoln), Juho Olkinuora (Sioux Falls), Paul Phillips (Cedar Rapids), Matt Tabrum (Omaha) and Nolan Zajac joined DU from the USHL. Zac Larraza, Adam Murray, Nick Shore and Quentin Shore joined DU from the USNTDP. The Pioneers also have two players each from the North American Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League, as well as one player from the British Columbia Hockey League.
DU VS. RANKED TEAMS
Following the Pioneers win over UMass Lowell in the season opener on Oct. 19, DU is 72-55-14 against ranked teams over the last eight seasons. Denver went 8-7-3 against ranked teams last season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Pioneers are 177-77-15 (.686) all-time in 13 years of competition at Magness Arena. The Pioneers finished 14-6-2 at home in 2011-12.
IN THE PROS
Former Pioneers Tyler Bozak (Toronto), Matt Carle (Tampa Bay), Paul Stastny (Colorado), Chris Butler (Calgary) and Jason Zucker (Minnesota) all played in the NHL last season.
The Pioneers are tied for second in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey with seven NCAA National Championships. DU captured national championships in 1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004 and 2005.
Season and individual game tickets for the 2012-13 season are currently on sale. Season ticket packages begin at $192. Individual game tickets start as low as $18. Please contact Adam Sizemore at (303) 871-2389 for group ticket prices. Visit DenverPioneers.com or all the Daniel L. Ritchie Center North Box Office at (303) 871-GOAL to purchase tickets.
FOLLOW DU HOCKEY, GWOZDECKY AND PLAYERS ON TWITTER
Members of the media can follow the Pioneers on Twitter @DU_Hockey. Head coach George Gwozdecky (@CoachGwoz) is also on Twitter, while the following members of the team have individual Twitter handles:
Garrett Allen (@G_A_17)
Josiah Didier (@jdidier4)
Daniel Doremus (@DWD19)
Zack Hope (@zhope30)
Larkin Jacobson (@LJBigMoney14)
Joey LaLeggia (@JLeggy21)
Zac Larraza (@zaclarraza16)
Gabe Levin (@GLev61)
Ty Loney (@LoneyToon12)
Scott Mayfield (@scottmayfield2)
Dakota Mermis (@dmermis06)
Juho Olkinuora (@dojussime)
Shawn Ostrow (@sostrow26)
Nick Shore (@nshore23)
Quentin Shore (@qshore27)
Matt Tabrum (@HewTabrum14)
Nolan Zajac (@nzajer11)
ON THE HORIZON
DU hosts St. Cloud State on Nov 2-3.