December 29, 2005
Wells Fargo Denver Cup
Magness Arena • Denver, Colo.

Holiday Tournament Preview


Friday, December 30

Ferris State vs. Boston College, 6:07 p.m. ET
Princeton at Denver, 9:07 p.m. ET

Saturday, December 31

Third-Place Game, 6:07 p.m. ET
Championship Game, 9:07 p.m. ET

On TV: Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain will carry Denver's opening-round game and both of Saturday's games live.


Denver won its fifth straight Denver Cup title and its 11th in 13 years, as Paul Stastny racked up three goals and three assists in wins over Air Force (9-4) and Northeastern (4-0). The Huskies reached the title game with a surprising 5-1 win over Colgate, but couldn't beat freshman goaltender Peter Mannino in the nightcap.


If Denver and Boston College meet for the championship, it will mark the third time the two schools have squared off with the Denver Cup on the line. Denver won both previous meetings, most recently in 1998 on a Mark Rycroft overtime goal. The Pioneers entered that tournament with a 7-7-0 record but went 19-6-2 the rest of the way and won the Final Five before falling to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament.


The biggest names to watch – Matt Carle, Gabe Gauthier, Paul Stastny, Ryan Dingle and other Pioneer leading men – are no surprise, either to the home crowd or to a national audience which has seen them star on the Frozen Four stage.

Turning our attention to the other participants, fans will be treated to a trio of sharpshooters. Colorado is home to many a California-bred star – like Gauthier and Colorado College's Brett Sterling. Princeton's Grant Goeckner-Zoeller, then, should feel almost at home. The Los Angeles native leads the Tigers in scoring with 10 points in 14 games after averaging over a point per game last season.

The other semifinal features the second- and third-leading goal scorers in the field, behind Dingle's 14. Boston College's Chris Collins, who was snakebitten for long stretches last season, has 12 goals already. Another senior, Ferris State's Greg Rallo, has 10 goals for the Bulldogs.


Denver has the talent, home-ice advantage and knack for tournament success that gives the Pioneers a significant edge heading into this tournament. They've also won six out of seven games, steadying things after a rocky start for the two-time defending champs. What's more, Denver's losses to the World Junior Championship – Chris Butler and Geoff Paukovich – aren't as significant as Boston College's, and the Eagles figure to be the primary challengers this weekend. With Cory Schneider, Nathan Gerbe and Dan Bertram in British Columbia, the junior event hit the Eagles are one of four teams missing three or more players, and the only one without their No. 1 goaltender.

Princeton and Ferris State are both improved over last season, but would need to elevate their games to win twice here. The Tigers have been good enough to keep every game close, but have only pulled out four wins. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are 8-6-4, but could face the two toughest opponents of their schedule thus far this weekend.