#6/6 DENVER PIONEERS (9-4-1, 7-2-1 WCHA)
at #9/9 North Dakota (7-5-2, 4-2-2 WCHA)
Date: Friday-Saturday, December 7-8, 2012
Puck Drop: Friday: 6:37 p.m. (MT)/Saturday 6:07 p.m. (MT)
Site: Grand Forks, N.D.Arena: Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,500)
TV: Fox College Sports (both games) (DirectTV 626)
Radio/Web: 102.3 FM ESPN (KDXP - Denver)
All-Time Series: North Dakota leads 135-116-8
Up Next: The Pioneers will travel to Bemidji, Minn., for a two-game series against Bemidji State on Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15.
- The Denver Pioneers have posted a 1,315-873-126 (.596) all-time record in 64 years of hockey.
- Denver has posted at least five goals in 7-of-14 games and ranks third in the nation in team offense (3.71 gpg).
- DU is tied for seventh the nation in scoring margin (1.29) and is tied for 18th in the country in scoring defense.Friday's game vs. No. 9/9 North Dakota will mark Denver's seventh against a ranked opponent this season.
- The Pioneers sport a record of 4-2-0 vs. ranked foes this year.
- Sophomore goaltender Juho Olkinuora is 21st nationally with a 2.15 GAA and 14th with a .934 save percentage.
- Freshman Nolan Zajac ranks tied for 17th nationally in points per game (0.75) amongst rookies.
- Joey LaLeggia ranks second nationally among defensemen points leaders with 1.00 per game. Overall, the Pioneers have three defensemen ranked among the top-25 point leaders in that position, including Nolan Zajac (T-22nd/0.75) and David Makowski (T-25th/0.71).
- Nick Shore ranks in a tie for 11th nationally with an average of 0.86 assists per game.
- Three Pioneers are ranked within the top 50 in the nation in points per game (Nick Shore/T-15th/1.29), Chris Knowlton (T-46th/1.07) and Joey LaLeggia (T-48th/1.00).
- Denver ranks sixth in the nation as in a team in average penalty minutes per contest at 15.6 per game.
SETTING THE STAGE
The No. 6/6 Pioneers will travel to Grand Forks, N.D., on Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8 for a two-game series vs. No. 9/9 North Dakota. Both games of the North Dakota series, Friday (6:37 p.m., MT) and Saturday (6:07 p.m., MT) will be televised live on Fox College Sports and available via audio broadcast at DenverPioneers.com and 102.3 FM ESPN (Denver).
ALL-TIME VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Denver trails North Dakota in the all-time series, which began in 1949-50, 135-116-8. The Pioneers split in their last regular season trip to Grand Forks, dropping the opener 4-3, before posting a 3-0 shutout in the finale on Oct. 29-30, 2010. The Pioneers are 29-38-4 in games against North Dakota since head coach George Gwozdecky arrived at Denver in 1994-95.
FLIPPING THE CALENDER
Friday's game at North Dakota will mark the Pioneers second this season in the month of December. Since head coach George Gwozdecky took over the program's reigns in 1994-95, Denver has posted an overall mark of 73-30-10 in games played during the calender's final month.
HITTING THE ROAD
This week's two-game road trip to North Dakota starts a stretch of four consecutive games on the road for the Pioneers, their longest of the season. Denver will follow this week's games with a trek to Bemidji State for a pair of meetings with the Beavers on Dec. 14-15.
The Pioneers enter this weekend's series at North Dakota a perfect 3-0 in road contests this season. Denver swept a series at Minnesota State on Nov. 9-10 and posted a 6-5 win at Colorado College on Nov. 16. Denver has out-scored its opponents 13-10 in road games this season and is averaging 4.33 goals per game away from home.
CHANGE OF SCENERY
The Pioneers take to the road looking to snap a four-game winless streak, their longest since posting an 0-2-2 mark from Oct. 28 - Nov. 5, 2011. Denver has not gone five games without posting a win since the 2006-07 campaign, when it posted a record of 0-4-1 over its final five contests.
LAST TIME OUT
Denver came away with a point last weekend during its home series against Wisconsin. On Friday, the Pioneers rallied from a 1-0 deficit to force overtime on a goal off the stick of sophomore Joey LaLeggia with 1:16 remaining in regulation to force overtime and an eventual tie. The Badgers defeated Denver 3-1 in Saturday's finale despite being out-shot 36-25 by the Pioneers, including 23-11 over the final two periods.
OUT OF ACTION
A LITTLE KNOWL-HOW
Saturday games have agreed with Chris Knowlton as the senior has scored 7-of-his-8 goals and has recorded 4-of-his-6 assists in Saturday contests. Knowlton recorded his first-career hat trick against St. Cloud State on Nov. 3. It marked the second hat trick for a DU player this season, matching Nick Shore's effort against Air Force on Oct. 20. Knowlton scored two goals against CC on Nov. 17.
SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota enters this weekend's matchup with Denver fresh off a split with Colorado College last weekend in Colorado Springs. The Tigers out-scored UND 7-6 over the two games, taking Friday's meeting by a 5-3 margin before North Dakota rallied for a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday night. UND enters the weekend 3-2-1 on home ice this season and has won three of its last five games overall. North Dakota is averaging 3.00 goals per game and ranks 22nd nationally in total offense. The UND defense is limiting its opponents to 2.64 goals per contest, ranked 25th nationally. Individually, Danny Kristo is pacing UND with 1.17 points per game (5-9=14).
BLUE LINE SCORING
Denver's defensemen have accounted for 33.3 percent (45-of-135) of DU's point total this season, including 15-of-52 (28.8 percent) of the goals. All seven DU blue liners have scored. David Makowski (5-5=10), Joey LaLeggia (6-8=14), Nolan Zajac (2-7=9), Scott Mayfield (1-4=5), Paul Phillips (0-5=5), Josiah Didier (0-2=2) and Dakota Mermis (1-1=2) have all registered points.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Goalie Juho Olkinuora is tied for 12th in the nation with a .700 win percentage and 14th in the country with a .934 save percentage. His 2.15 goals-against average is 21st in the country.
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.
Denver will return to the road next weekend with a trek to Bemidji State for a pair of meetings with the Beavers on Dec. 14-15.