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DU Hockey draws Cornell in Manchester, NH NCAA Regional

DU Hockey draws Cornell in Manchester, NH NCAA Regional


The NCHC regular season champion and fourth-seeded Pioneer hockey team from the University of Denver has earned a trip to Manchester, NH to take on the ECAC’s #13 seeded Cornell University Big Red in the opening game of the Manchester Regional on Thursday, March 23 at the 10,000-seat SHNU Arena. Showtime is 3:30 MT/5:30 ET and will be broadcast live on ESPNews.

Joining the Pioneers in Manchester will be the NCHC’s #5 overall seeded Boston University Terriers and #12 overall seeded Western Michigan University Broncos, also previously seeded March 23 at12:00 MT/14:00 ET, with the winner of that game meeting Denver or Cornell for a trip to the Frozen Four in Tampa. That regional title game is scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at 2pm MT, 4pm ET, live on ESPN2.

The Pioneers, as the highest ranked team in the region, will switch the final line and be able to choose their dressing rooms and will wear their home kit for both games in the region if they win on Thursday.

The Pioneers’ first opponent, Cornell, put together a very respectable 20-10-2, finishing #13 nationally in the PWR and finishing third in the ECAC behind Quinnipiac and Harvard.

The Cornellians are led in points by forward Gabriel Seger, a 6-4 Swedish transfer from Union College who has 29 points this season, and senior Ben Berard, who trails Seger with 27 points. First-team all-ECAC defenseman junior Sam Malinski racked up 26 points from the backline this season to finish third in team scoring, and had a 10-game point streak in January and February, but has since cooled off by just a point since February 4. In terms of goalkeeping, DU will likely have its hands full with Cornell’s Ian McShane, who has a .913 save percentage.

Cornell has the nation’s ninth offense, scoring 3.44 goals per game, just below Denver’s seventh offense (3.85 GPG). The Big Red has great defense, ranks second nationally and only lets in 1.94 GPG. By comparison, Denver ranks fifth nationally in defense, allowing 2.15 GPG.

Of course, national statistics are somewhat relative, given the differences in opponent quality. Cornell plays fewer non-conference games, an ECAC league schedule, and rarely plays a two-game series against the same opponent, as NCHC teams usually do. The Big Red could manage just one win this season against a Top 10 finishing team, defeating PWR #2 Quinnipiac once, but dropping the other league game against the Bobcats, as well as all three games against rival PWR #7 -ranked Harvard, and a loss to #5 Boston University. The Big Reds’ only games against the Western league saw them swept at Minnesota-Duluth early in the season.

That being said, Denver was only able to get one win this year against a national team that finished in the top 10, also against St. Cloud State, the only other NCHC team to finish in the top 10 of the PWR.

“Look across the country,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer recently told me College hockey news. CC beats Denver 1-0, BU got shots but still won. Quinnipiac lost three games all year [were] watching [the ECAC championship game] All the games around the country are tough this time of year and they will be similar [in] the NCAA tournament.

If the name Mike Schafer sounds familiar to Pio fans, other than being a Cornells coach, it’s because Schafer played for the Big Red the last time DU and Cornell met in the NCAA Tournament, way back in 1986 . Cornell had a great team that year, led by future NHL Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk. That was a two game total goals series, played in the old DU arena, and won 7-6 by the WCHA champion Pioneers, who advanced to the 1986 Frozen Four in Providence.

The Pioneers have played in Manchester only once before, a 5-2 loss to the University of New Hampshire in the 2013 NCAA regional games in coaching legend George Gwozdeckys’ final game as DU’s coach, a game in which DU played for a hostile audience of UNH. fans play in their own state.

The only team likely to draw a large crowd to this 2023 region is BU, which is just an hour’s drive from Manchester.

Ticket details and purchase information can be found at The ticket website of DU or here. The DU allocation is in sections 117-120 & 217-220, but fans are encouraged to check with SNHU Arena for a specific DU seating area.




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