Homecoming weekend for the Denver University Pioneers
finally opened up the regular season with a non-conference series. After an
undefeated record in tournament and exhibition games, DU played host to the
A smaller than normal but vocal crowd welcomed hockey back
to Magness arena. After a long off-season, nervous energy may have been to
blame for several penalties taken by the Pioneers in the first period. Spending
nearly the entire first half of the first period down at least one man, the
Huskies capitalized with the first goal of the game. The Pioneers answered back
with two power play goals of their own. Spark plug senior forward Lukas Dora
had already been banging his body around and he continued to bang all the way
to the net for a rebound goal on a shot from senior forward Connor James
(Los Angeles). The forward line of Kevin Ulanski (Jr.) and Jeff
Drummond (Jr.) has already become very familiar to NCAA scorekeepers. The
pair now leads the league with a total of 14 points between them. This gelling
duo would click once again for DU’s second goal. Ulanski set up Drummond for a
spectacular backhanded top shelf power play talley. With frequent stoppages and
little flow to the game, both teams still managed to get 13 shots on goal.
The second period saw both teams concentrate less on hitting
and more on up and down action. Dora continued his tornado like activity and
DU’s top two lines showed their speed. The only goal in the second period came
from defenseman Jussi Halme (Jr.) with the assists given to Dora and
sophomore defenseman Brett Skinner (Vancouver). However it was the puck stopping skill of
senior Adam Berkhoel (Chicago) that began to emerge in the second
stanza. The Huskies took the lead in shots on goal with 26 to 22 for DU.
Berkhoel continued his second period shutout through the
remainder of the game and gave his team the confidence to focus on offense.
Special teams took over as the speedy Ulanski rocketed down the ice for a shorthanded
break away goal.
After assisting on Ulanski’s goal, freshman forward Matt
Carle (San Jose) added a talley of his own on the power play and his first
as a Pioneer. Drummond and Ulanski again registered assists on this goal.
Three Stars of the game:
*** Lukas Dora
After 33 saves on Friday is was time for Berkhoel to dawn
the baseball cap and let freshman goalie Glenn Fisher (Edmonton) take
over the net minding duties in his first regular season appearance. His first
shot on goal was a sprawling spread eagle glove save that wowed the crowd.
A big hit by senior forward Greg Keith early in the
game meant that he would be on the receiving end of retaliation later in the
period. This hit drew a penalty and put his team on the power play. A one man
wrecking crew, Keith also stick handled all the way to the back of the net on a
backhanded shot for the only goal of the first period.
A much more discipline and skilled performance was turned in
by the Pioneers in this first period. Even though the Huskies stood their
ground, especially during short-handed opportunities the ice was definitely
tilted in the Pioneers favor. At the end of the first, DU had a 13 to 5 shots
on goal difference.
After DU gave up a short-handed goal early in the second it
was time for the Pioneers to do the same. As he does so well, Connor James
performed a textbook untouched breakaway short-handed unassisted tie-breaking
goal. Next, after freshman forward Mike Handza battled along the boards,
he passed the puck in the slot for a perfect sweeping up the thrash goal from
fellow freshman forward Adrian Veideman.
The Huskies frustration began to show and the physical play
from the night before began to rear its head. With DU on the power play, the
puck trickled past the goal line as the horn sounded. After reviewing the play
DU’s captain and senior captain Ryan Caldwell (NY Islanders)
enthusiastically let his team know that the goal counted. As the carpet was
rolled out to introduce the Homecoming Royalty, the off ice officials scrambled
to get the specifics of this late goal. After two periods DU again lead 29 to
15 in the shots on goal category. Before the third period began the PA
announcer gave proper credit to junior forward Jon Foster with assists
coming from sophomore forward Gabe Gauthier and Brett Skinner.
The momentum of this buzzer-beating goal carried on to the
third, as it was Kevin Ulanski’s turn to be a one-man show. After a battle
along the boards he deked the Huskies goalie and slipped the puck past him for
an unassisted score. Ulanski and Drummond were still not done racking up the
points as they both assist on a junior forward Luke Fulghum power play
This 6-3 win for the Pioneers not only kept them undefeated
it also gave George Gwozdecky his 200th win as the
Pioneers head coach.
Three Stars of the game:
*** Gabe Gauthier
Denver University Alumni
Recently graduated DU goaltender Wade Dubielewicz signed
a contract with the New York Islanders organization over the summer. He is
currently playing with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he holds a .904 save
percentage and recorded a shut out in preseason play.
After attending Washington Capitals summer camp former DU
captain Aaron MacKenzie signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues