In his fourth season at the helm, David Carle’s Pioneers routed Minnesota State in the NCAA title game to earn their ninth Division I championship.
Denver pounded Miami in a best-of-3 on home ice to open the NCHC Tournament, lost in the Frozen Faceoff semifinal and won the first three NCAA Tournament games by one goal – including the national semifinal vs. Michigan in overtime – before winning college hockey’s top prize in blowout fashion against Minnesota State.
Denver and Miami meet in Oxford to kick off the conference schedule in late October after DU won all six games vs. the RedHawks in 2021-22 – two in Oxford, two in Denver during the regular season and two more on the Pioneers’ campus to open the league playoffs.
View From the Glass takes a look at Denver in Part II of its NCHC Snapshot series:
Part I can be found here: Colorado College.
NCAA TITLES: 9 (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005, 2017, 2022).
COACH: David Carle (fifth season, 86-43-13).
2021-22 RECORD: 31-9-1, 18-6 NCHC (first place), NCAA champions.
RINK: Magness Arena, Denver, Colo. (6,026).
MIAMI VS. DENVER IN 2021-22: 0-6.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Denver leads, 26-13-3.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: At Miami – Oct. 28-29; At Denver – Jan. 13-14.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: D Mike Benning, F Carter Mazur, G Magnus Chrona, G Matt Davis, F Massimo Rizzo, D Sean Behrens.
KEY NEW FACES: C Tristan Broz, D Kent Anderson, F Casey Dornbach, F Tyler Haskins, C Tristan Lemyre, D Lucas Olvestad, C Aidan Thompson, F Jared Wright, F Rieger Lorenz.
KEY LOSSES: F Bobby Brink, F Carter Savoie, F Cole Guttman. F Brett Stapley, F Cameron Wright.
NOTES: Denver looked like the best team in college hockey all regular season and proved it during the NCAA Tournament.
The Pioneers scored 175 in 42 games – or 4.17 per game – and was second in total goals only to a Minnesota State team they beat, 5-1 in the national championship.
And while all four of its 40-point producers from last season have moved on, Denver has brought in six USHL or NCAA-veteran forwards, including Penguins second-round pick and Minnesota transfer Tristan Broz and a pair of high-round NHL draft picks.
Rieger Lorenz, a Minnesota second-round selection, notched 85 points in 60 AJHL games with Oktoks last season. Blackhawks third-rounder Aidan Thompson went 24-58-82 with USHL Lincoln.
Broz (6-5-11 with Minnesota) is a sophomore and 2021 Pittsburgh second-round selection.
Those forwards join standouts Carter Mazur, a 2021 third-rounder by Detroit who scored 14 goals and earned 24 assists as a freshman last season and fellow 36-point producer Massimo Rizzo.
Denver had little off-season shakeup on defense, where five of six blueliners who played at least 35 games in 2021-22 return.
Mike Benning (Florida pick) was second in the NCAA in defenseman goals (15) and points (38) only to Michigan’s Luke Hughes. Sean Behrens (Colorado selection) tied for fourth in Division I assists by a blueliner with 26.
Veterans Shai Buium, Justin Lee and Kyle Mayhew also played an integral role in Denver’s title run last season.
In net, Magnus Chrona is back after winning 28 games last season, and he has 51 victories in his three-year Pioneers career, including nine shutouts. His save percentage was .911 in 2021-22, and backup Matt Davis finished at .923 in limited action.
While Miami went 0-6 against Denver last season, the RedHawks beat the Pioneers in their previous meeting in the Omaha Pod and have typically brought their best against them, including a pair of close late-January losses in Oxford.
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