December 26, 2007
Wells Fargo Denver Cup

Magness Arena • Denver

Holiday Tournament Preview


Friday, Dec. 28
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.

(All times Eastern)

On 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 UMass-Lowell, 2-1.


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 event.


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.


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 ice.

— Mike Eidelbes