Pioneers looking to hold onto Gold Pan against improved Colorado College

Frozen Four

The Denver Pioneers will look to hold onto the Gold Pan this weekend in their home-and-home series against longtime in-state rival Colorado College.

After coming off of a dominating performance against 15th-ranked Minnesota Duluth, and splitting a two-game series against North Dakota the previous week, the Pioneers are in rhythm prior to this game against the Tigers.

On the other hand, the Tigers are playing .500 hockey. Their record sits at 7-7-0 on the season, with their most recent series seeing them swept by St. Cloud State.

Players to watch

Given how talented the Pioneers, just about everybody qualifies, including forward Troy Terry and Henrik Borgstrom and goaltender Tanner Jaillet. However, a few Pioneers stand out, and may play a large role in this series against Colorado College.

Dylan Gambrell

With plenty of hype surrounding Borgstrom and Terry, fellow NHL draft pick Dylan Gambrell has been providing the Pioneers with plenty of offensive stability. With 18 points in the past 14 games, Gambrell has been using his speed and offensive skill to make the Pioneers lethal in the offensive zone.

Ryan Orgel

The newest player on the Pioneers’ roster, Orgel, a defenseman, will be experiencing the in-state rivalry for the first time this weekend. As a member of the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League, Orgel combined for seven points in 11 games, with a plus-minus of +4 prior to the announcement of him coming to Denver.

Liam Finlay

Finlay, like so many of his teammates, occasionally slip into the shadows of Borgstrom and Terry, but the Pioneer sophomore has played an instrumental role on Denver’s special teams, and he’s been a difference-maker on the penalty kill. Expect to see plenty of aggressive play from Finlay, interrupting the Tigers’ ability to set up in the Pioneers’ zone, especially on the power play.

Colorado College Tigers

Nick Halloran, Trey Bradley, and Mason Bergh

When it comes to rebuilding a team, building a line who can consistently produce offensively is vital — and the Tigers have been able to find this in this-top line trio. Halloran, Bradley and Bergh have generated 49 points on the season and have the ability to keep the Tigers in any given game.

What to expect

In previous games between these two teams, the Pioneers have been able to consistently have the upper hand over the Tigers. However, this year’s Tigers squad is not a team to take for granted, as earlier in the season they were able to pull off a 2-1 victory over fifth-ranked North Dakota.

Although the score may be difficult to project, expect another physical series between these two rivals. The first game of the home-and-home series will be Friday tonight at Magness Arena with puck dropping at 7:05pm MT (TV: Altitude 2), with the second game Saturday night in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor World Arena and starting at 6:07pm MT.