Denver secures Gold Pan for second-straight season – The Denver Post

With no Colorado/Colorado State matchup in either football or basketball this season, there is no bigger rivalry in the state than Denver and Colorado College on the ice.

It is one of the most storied rivalries in college hockey history. This was the 327th time these two teams have gone head-to-head on the ice. That ties the record for most games between two schools in college hockey history.

The Denver Pioneers secured their second straight Gold Pan, defeating the Colorado College Tigers 4-0 on Saturday night.

The Gold Pan is awarded to the team that wins the season-long series between the two teams. With the win, the Pioneers lead the series 3-1 with two games left. The best CC can do is make it 3-3 and because DU won the Gold Pan last year, they would automatically retain in the event of a tie.

Just like any rivalry, it is nothing without the fans. The arena was missing some of its famous chants that ring through the walls. But this was the first DU hockey game with fans in attendance at Magness Arena in 353 days. Around 300 fans were able to attend the game with most of them being family members.

“I think all [the American players’] families came out so you could certainly hear them in moments,” head coach David Carle said. “But I think just their presence for our guys, knowing that a lot of their families were there and then obviously some major supporters of the program were in the house … so it’s great to be able to play in front of them and get a victory in front of them.”

Offensive zone domination led to the first goal. The Pios cycled the puck and worked it up to the point, Jaakko Heikkinen ripped a one-timer and Carter Savoie picked it up from behind the net, spun and fired the puck past Matt Vernon. Savoie is now second in the nation in goals among freshmen.

As DU’s first power play expired, Griffin Mendel rushed into the zone, gave the puck up to Savoie who slid it over to Hank Crone for a one-timer and the puck deflected right on Connor Caponi’s stick to give the Pios a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers won battles to the pucks for most of the game, they had eight power plays and outshot the Pioneers 29-25 but they had nothing to show for it. It was only the sixth time this season DU has been outshot in a game.

The Tigers were unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities. Their power play, which ranked last in the NCHC at 6.3% heading into the game, didn’t do them any favors. They were 0-for-8 with the man advantage on Saturday night and are now 5-for-87 on the season.

The Pioneers, on the other hand, were able to capitalize on the man advantage — scoring two power play goals in the second period. Both of them were courtesy of Cole Guttman who got a perfect pass from Bobby Brink to set up the first goal and fired one top shelf for the second goal.

“We’ve had nights this year where we’ve talked and it’s been the other way,” Carle said. “We’ve been 0-for-6 on the power play with some really good chances and they’ve gone 2-for-4 on the power play off a couple of real nice execution pieces. So much happier being on the other end of it tonight.”

DU goaltender Magnus Chrona had one of his best games of the season. The pre-season All-NCHC selection made some brilliant saves throughout the game and stopped every single one of CC’s 29 shots.

The Pioneers move 9-12-1 on the season and have an outside shot at making the NCAA tournament without receiving an automatic bid by winning the NCHC tournament. Denver hasn’t missed the tournament since 2007.

FUN STAT: DU men’s lacrosse and hockey combined for 27 goals on Saturday, the most since the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium was built in 2005.