On Thursday, the University of Denver men’s hockey team decimated Notre Dame in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, winning 6-1 to advance to Saturday’s final. Colby Cohen was on the call for the game for Westwood One, serving as the color commentator. A former national champion himself, he said it wasn’t even as close as the score suggests.
“It looked like an American Hockey League team playing their NHL club,” Cohen told Sean Walsh, T.J. Carpenter and Justin Adams on Mile High Sports Radio. “It was a game of keep away. Denver is so good at possessing the puck and they backcheck so hard. [Pioneers coach] Jim Montgomery has these guys playing such a tight game defensively. You see six goals and you think ‘wow, offensively, they’re amazing, they’re great,’ but they just play so hard and so fast; it just overwhelms teams.”
Now, the Pioneers turn their attention to Minnesota-Duluth. On the call again, Cohen (who also calls games on ESPN) refused to make a pick as to who would prove the victor, but did praise Denver.
“It’s hard to bet against Denver right now,” he said. “They’re fun to watch. I enjoy watching Denver. It’s fun calling games that they’re a part of, because they just play such a great style of hockey.”
Even though the Pioneers entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, don’t sleep on the Bulldogs. It was UMD who won the NCHC Tournament this year, and they have been right there all season long.
“I think from the halfway mark, they [Denver] have been the best team; but I do think that Minnesota-Duluth has been right there as well,” explained Cohen. “They’ve traded, off and on, being the No. 1 team. Both of them have held that No. 1 ranking for a decent amount of time. Denver won the regular season and Minnesota-Duluth won the playoff tournament, the conference tournament.”
The Pioneers and Bulldogs met twice in the regular season, with each side winning once. With a national title on the line, they will meet in the rubber match on Saturday. The puck is set to drop at 6:00 p.m. MT.
Listen to the full interview with Colby Cohen, including the former Colorado Avalanche defenseman’s praise for the job Jim Montgomery is doing as Pioneers coach and his thoughts on the speed of the game, in the podcast below.