Holiday Tournament Preview: Denver Cup

The Eagles ice hockey team returns to Denver for the first time since winning the 2008 National Championship. BC will face St. Lawrence and Denver in this year's Denver Cup. Here's a closer look at this year's tournament.

 

Location: Magness Arena (capacity: 6,026), Denver, Co.
Date:
Friday-Saturday, January 2-3, 2009
TV:
Saturday's BC-Denver game will be shown on FSN Rocky Mountain (DirecTV 683)

Participants:

Boston College Eagles (10-3-2, 7-3-2 Hockey East)
Head coach: Jerry York
Leading scorers: Jr. Brian Gibbons (5-11-16), So. Cam Atkinson (8-7-15), Sr. Ben Smith (9-5-14), Sr. Carl Sneep (6-8-14)
Leading goaltender: Jr. John Muse (6-3-2, 2.70 GAA, .893 SV%)

St. Lawrence Saints (8-7-2, 4-3-1 ECAC)
Head coach: Joe Marsh
Leading scorers: Sr. Mike McKenzie (4-8-12), So. Brandon Bollig (4-7-11), Fr. Kyle Flanagan (4-7-11), Fr. George Hughes (1-10-11)
Leading goaltenders: Sr. Kain Tisi (2-2-0, 2.25 GAA, .917 SV%), So. Robby Moss (3-1-1, 3.13 GAA, .888 SV%), Sr. Alex Petizian (3-4-1, 3.74 GAA, .883 SV%)

Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (9-7-4, 5-7-2-1 CCHA)
Head coach: Dean Blais 
Leading scorers: Jr. Rick Purslow (8-6-14), Sr. Jeric Agosta (7-6-13), Sr. Nick Fanto (6-7-13), Sr. Eddie Del Grosso (4-9-13)
Leading goaltender: So. John Faulkner (7-4-3, 2.18 GAA, .915 SV%)

Denver Pioneers (11-5-2, 9-3-2 WCHA)
Head coach: George Gwozdecky
Leading scorers: Sr. Rhett Rakhshani (11-10-21), Sr. Tyler Ruegse gger (9-11-20)
Leading goaltender: Jr. Marc Cheverie (9-2-1, 2.13 GAA, .928 SV%)

 

Schedule:

  • Game 1: Boston College vs. St. Lawrence, 6:37 pm ET Friday
  • Game 2: Nebraska-Omaha vs. Denver, 9:35 pm ET Friday
  • Game 3: St. Lawrence vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 6:05 ET Saturday
  • Game 4: Boston College vs. Denver, 9:05 pm ET Saturday

Boston College resumes play in the Denver Cup on a bit of a hot streak. The Eagles have won five straight and are unbeaten in their last seven games, a stretch that goes all the way back to November 15.  However, BC will be without the services of freshman Chris Kreider, who is playing on Team USA in the World Juniors (and tearing it up for the US after a fairly quiet first half of the season). The Eagles are currently alone in second place in Hockey East at the break, two points behind New Hampshire, and enter the Denver Cup ranked 5th nationally in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

The Eagles first opponent will be the St. Lawrence Saints of the ECAC. The Saints enter the tournament with a respectable 8-7-2 record overall and 4-3-1 record in ECAC play (good for 6th in the 12-team conference). SLU has had an up-and-down season as they really haven't been able to string too many wins together. The Saints longest unbeaten streak on the season is a mere three games. Joe Marsh hasn't decided on a starting goaltender, going with a three-man rotation of Tisi, Moss and Petizian - none of which has really separated themselves from the pack. This matchup will be the fourth time St. Lawrence will play a Hockey East opponent, having already lost to UMass-Lowell, Maine and Vermont.

A unique feature of the Denver Cup is that it's the only holiday tournament that features fixed matchups on the second day. After St. Lawrence, the Eagles will play the host Denver Pioneers on Saturday night. Denver enters this holiday tournament with an 11-5-2 record (9-3-2 and first place in the WCHA) and is ranked 2nd in both major polls. Denver is 6-3-1 in their last ten games, having split their last series with Minnesota-Duluth back on December 11-12. Just like the Eagles, the Pioneers will play without defenseman Matt Donovan who is playing with Kreider on Team USA. Denver is looking to win its 14th overall Cup title and third in the last four seasons.

If BC gets past SLU and Denver downs UNO, the BC-Denver matchup on Saturday night will be for the Cup title. The Eagles hope to replicate the success the BU Terriers had in this tournament last season. BU defeated RPI and Denver to win the 2009 Denver Cup, going on to win last year's National title.

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