After coming home with a win and a tie against a good Notre Dame team, the #1/#1 University of Denver Pioneers will open their home slate with a festive weekend.
The Lake Superior State Lakers (1-2-1) will come into town for a two-game set, and the Pioneers will raise their 2016-17 national championship banner into the rafters of Magness Arena tonight. It also appears that they will be showing off their stunning championship rings.
As far as the action on the ice, the Pioneers will be hoping to avoid a letdown after an emotional win Saturday night at Notre Dame. The Lakers are coming off a disappointing 2016-17 season in which the team finished 11-18-7 and in seventh place in the WCHA. They are likely coming into Magness looking to spoil the festivities, especially after a tie Saturday against a ranked Michigan Tech team that has impressed so far, including with a win over #6 Minnesota Duluth.
The Lakers return one 30-point scorer from last year’s team in senior forward JT Henke (10 G, 20 A). Henke is off to a fast start in his senior season, tallying 5 points in two games against Michigan Tech, including a 3-assist night on Friday. The team also returns 2016-17 WCHA All-Rookie team member Max Humitz (2G, 1A in 2017) and five defensemen to this year’s squad.
Like Notre Dame, a freshman goaltender is making a strong case for getting minutes in net for the Lakers. Junior Nick Kosoff started the first three games, but has struggled a bit to the tune of a .894 save percentage. Mareks Mitens was given the nod for the final game of the Michigan Tech series and made 40 saves in the 2-2 tie. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mitens get a start in net this weekend, especially with Kosoff’s relative inexperience (6 GP in 2016-17).
For Denver, we ought to see the return of star forward Henrik Borgström to the lineup after he missed Saturday’s game with an illness. It also will be telling also to see how DU coach Jim Montgomery tweaks the lines, if at all. The Pioneers’ power play looked especially sloppy at times last weekend, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few changes in the power play lines.
Puck drop for both games will be at 7:05 MT and will be broadcast on Altitude tonight and Altitude 2 tomorrow.