The University of Denver Pioneers will welcome nine talented freshmen to campus for the 2017-8 season. Ranked as a top-five recruiting class in the country, the 2017-18 freshman class appears to be stocked with potential. Between now and the start of the Pioneers’ season, Mile High Hockey will be profiling each of the incoming freshmen and examining their potential impact on the 2017-18 season and beyond.
Jake Durflinger announced his commitment to the University of Denver on September 29, 2016. The Walnut Creek, CA native was in his third and final season in the USHL with the Bloomington Thunder at the time, where he served as assistant captain.
Durflinger was by no means an elite offensive forward, totaling 80 points in 165 games between Bloomington and the Sioux City Musketeers. True to the USHL, he racked up an impressive 378 penalty minutes in his career, which comes out to more than one minor penalty per game (2.29). He’s clearly not afraid to push the envelope and play a physical style, even though he stands at just 5’9” and weighs 174 pounds.
“He’s a complete warrior-type player,” Bloomington head coach Dennis Williams said of Durflinger. “They’re getting an honest hockey player, one that plays a 200-foot game, makes plays, scores goals, hits, sticks up for teammates.
Throwing hits and sticking up for teammates will likely be Durflinger’s game with the Pioneers, especially during his first season with the team. His grinder style could compliment the high-skill forwards on the team nicely and Jim Montgomery could use him to counter the physical play other teams are likely to use in trying to slow down players like Troy Terry and Dylan Gambrell.
In DU’s 3-1 exhibition win over the University of Lethbridge Sunday, Durflinger was on the ice for the opening face-off on the left wing of the third line, with sophomore Tyson McLellan at center and junior Logan O’Connor at right wing. Durflinger finished at +1 and registered one shot on goal in the third period.