Wells Fargo Denver Cup
Arena • Denver
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
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.
HOW WE SEE IT
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