December 28, 2006
Wells Fargo Denver Cup

Magness Arena • Denver

Holiday Tournament Preview


Friday, December 29
Brown vs. UMass Lowell, 6:37 p.m.
Mercyhurst at Denver, 9:37 p.m.

Saturday, December 30
Third-Place Game, 6:07 p.m. ET
Championship Game, 9:07 p.m. ET

(All times Eastern)


Not only did the host team fail to win its own tournament for just the third time in the event’s 14-year history, but 2005 marked just the second time DU lost in the semifinal round. The Pioneers were upset by Princeton 4-1. Boston College won the title. The Eagles advanced to
the finals via a shootout after skating to a 3-3 draw against Ferris State in the semifinals, then routed Princeton 5-1 in the championship game.


This tournament should be renamed the Cliff Clavin "Teams That Have Never Been in the Same Arena" Invitational. Brown and UMass Lowell boast nine all-time meetings, while Denver has played the RiverHawks eight times. The Pioneers and Bears have met on five occasions, and DU played Mercyhurst once during the 2002-03 season. The Lakers, meanwhile, have never faced Brown or UMass Lowell.


The Pioneers have most of the star power in the event, led by forward Ryan Dingle, who’s on pace for a 30-goal season after netting 27 a year ago. DU also features a pair of dynamic duos — freshman forwards Rhett Rakhshani (18 points) and Tyler Ruegsegger (19 points) and the goalie tandem of senior Glenn Fisher (2.14 GAA, .928 save pct.) and junior Peter Mannino (2.33, .920).

As good as Fisher and Mannino have been, they’re no match for Brown freshman Dan Rosen, who leads the country with a 1.44 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. Mercyhurst is led by two forwards — senior Scott Champagne and junior Ben Cottreau — who’ve both eclipsed the 100-point plateau for their careers, while UMass Lowell’s leading scorer, senior center Jason Tejchma, is just 10 points shy of the century mark for his career.


With an average of 3.44 goals per game, Mercyhurst has the best scoring offense in the tournament field. That said, the Lakers are one of the nation’s leakiest defensive squads, giving up an average of 4.06 goals per game, which is more than all but four Division I teams. They may put a little pressure on Denver in the first round, but the Pies have too much offense for Mercyhurst to handle. UMass Lowell, on the other hand, is 52nd in the country in scoring offense at 2.29 goals per game. Brown’s not exactly an offensive juggernaut, but the Bears have given up a total of 13 goals since Rosen took over as the team’s starting netminder on Nov. 11. We’ll take Brown in a nip-and-tuck affair.

That leads us to a Brown-Denver final. The Pioneers have never gone back-to-back seasons without winning the Denver Cup championship, and it won’t happen this year. DU has traditionally been a strong second-half team, and its best showings have started with convincing wins in its own tournament.

— Mike Eidelbes