The University of Denver Pioneers hockey team is returning to form of late, making an impact in the standings and against their opponents. Regular conference opponents like Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha and Miami of Ohio have helped Denver get above .500 in conference play, and in convincing fashion. In six games against the previously mentioned opponents, the Pioneers are unbeaten (5-0-1) and scored a massive 19 goals, while allowing just eight.

After spending last weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, the University of Denver men’s hockey team did more than come away with two victories. In fact, their two wins against the Omaha Mavericks brought them up in the standings in both of the major NCAA Division I hockey polls. For the week of Jan. 11, they were ranked No. 14 in the poll as well as in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

The sweep over Omaha was a welcome change for the Pioneers, who had slipped of late after three consecutive series without a win. Denver lost four in a row to North Dakota and St. Cloud State, going winless in December against two conference foes, before skating to back-to-back ties with Notre Dame to open the 2016 portion of the schedule.

The Pioneers got back on track thanks to blueliner, Will Butcher, winger, Danton Heinen, and center, Dylan Gambrell. These three Pioneers were awarded the NCHC Players of the Week by the Conference Office. Butcher scored two goals against Nebraska-Omaha, helping them earn their first road sweep in nearly three years. Heinen tallied three points against the Mavericks off a goal and two assists. And the freshman of the group, Gambrell, extended his point streak to four games with one goal and three assists over the weekend.

While the new rankings and Player of the Week shout outs are exciting and a good demonstration of the Pioneers’ ability, their focus has to remain on their upcoming games.  The next two weeks should be to their advantage and only elevate them higher in the standings. Their game Friday night against Western Michigan is the start of a four-game home stand that will span the next two weeks. Minnesota-Duluth will close out the home-stand, before the team travels to Oxford, Ohio to face the RedHawks.

The Pioneers face off against Western Michigan this Friday at Magness Arena at 7:36 p.m.

Image Credit: DU Athletics