The Denver Pioneers hockey team got back on track this weekend by sweeping the Colorado College Tigers. DU retains the Gold Pan Trophy for the second straight year, and improves to 5-3 while CC is still in search of their first win at 0-10.
The win helped the Pioneers improve their standing in the polls after consecutive road losses last weekend.
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) November 9, 2015
Perhaps more importantly though was the way in which Denver won.
The Pioneers subverted a troubling trend this weekend, something that had been developing during their road woes. As of late, DU had been giving up what coach Jim Montgomery called “momentum goals,” or scores that came near the beginning or tail-end of a period.
These are the kind of goals that drive coaches to early heart attacks. One mental lapse towards the end of a period results in a goal for the other team, and it creates a sense of momentum that is carried into intermission, and maybe even through the rest of the game. They’re back-breaking mistakes. And they happened again and again for the Pioneers last weekend.
Against Boston College, Denver gave up a goal with a minute left in the first, and then preceded to concede another not even two minutes into the second frame. A day later, Boston University scored at the very beginning and at the very end of the first period.
It’s no coincidence that the Pioneers lost both games.
Because in the CC series, the Pioneers did an about-face and got some momentum goals of their own. Denver tallied twice with under three minutes to go in the second period of Friday’s game, which gave the Pioneers enough breathing room to withstand a Tigers rally. Goals at the end of the second and third periods in the final game of the series sealed the Pioneers’ sweep.
Meanwhile, Colorado College wasn’t able to net any fortuitous, game-changing goals.
A deep playoff run is a vivid possibility for this talented Denver squad, especially if they’re able to net a few back-breakers while keeping opponents from getting some of their own.
Image Credit: denverpioneers.com
Calvin Jouard is an intern at Mile High Sports and a student at the University of Denver