Wells Fargo Denver Cup
Arena • Denver
Dartmouth vs. Northern Michigan, 6:37 p.m.
Sacred Heart at Denver, 9:37 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
Third-place Game, 6:07 p.m.
Championship Game, 9:07 p.m.
TV: FSN Rocky Mountain will have coverage
of Denver's Saturday game.
Buoyed by the play of goaltenders Peter
Mannino and Glenn Fisher, Denver won its tournament
for the 12th time in its 15-year history. Mannino
stopped 25 shots and forward Brock Trotter added two
goals in the Pioneers' 3-0 opening-round win against
Mercyhurst. In the title match, Fisher turned aside
all but one of the 37 shots he faced as DU shaded
Mercyhurst goaltender Jordan Wakefield
set Denver Cup records for most saves in a game and
most stops in two games last season. Wakefield stopped
54 shots in the Lakers' 3-2 overtime win against Brown
in the tournament's third-place contest. That, combined
with the 48 saves he made in his team's 3-0 first-round
loss to Denver, gave him a total of 102 saves in the
With Denver forwards Rhett Rakhshani
and Tyler Ruegsegger in the Czech Republic with the
U.S. team at the World Junior Championship, it's an
opportunity for the chronically unappreciated Brock
Trotter to shine. The Brandon, Manitoba native, who
led the Pioneers in points last season, paces DU in
goals, assists, and points through 18 games this season.
The other Pioneers in the field — Sacred
Heart — boasts a pair of potent scorers in junior
Bear Trapp and senior Alexandre Parent. Parent has
112 career points, while Trapp needs three points
to reach the century club.
Dartmouth forward J.T. Wyman has just
12 points on the season. Of course, the Big Green
has played just nine games, meaning the senior leads
ECAC Hockey and ranks tied for 10th nationally in
points per game (1.33 ppg). Northern Michigan ranks
ninth among CCHA teams in scoring offense, but don't
blame Nick Sirota. The junior forward, who entered
the season with 27 career points, is tied for sixth
in the CCHA in scoring with 12-10—22.
HOW WE SEE IT
The host Pioneers should prevail, even
without Rakhshani and Ruegsegger. Their absence gives
heralded freshmen Tyler Bozak, Jesse Martin, and Kyle
Ostrow a chance to assert themselves. Besides, Denver
still has the best forward (Trotter), defenseman (Chris
Butler), and goalie (Peter Mannino) in the tourney
field. They should coast against a Sacred Heart team
that has allowed three or more goals in five of its
six losses. In the other first-round match, it wouldn't
be a shock to see Northern Michigan prevail over Dartmouth,
especially if goalie Brian Stewart plays like he did
against Michigan Tech two weeks ago (64 saves on 65
shots in a win and a tie). That said, the Wildcats
have struggled to score all season. The Big Green
has the edge here.
That sets up a Dartmouth-Denver final.
The Big Green likely need a big effort from goalie
Mike Devine, an off night from Mannino, and a win
in the special teams battle to top DU. But the Pioneers
have the nation's second stingiest defense, giving
up an average of 1.78 goals per game, and Mannino
has played at an All-American caliber so far this
season. They'll take care of business on their home
— Mike Eidelbes