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Denver Pioneers weekend preview: Dartmouth

Pioneers look to finish first half strong against Big Green

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Denver vs Minnesota-Duluth Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After a contested rivalry series against Colorado College that resulted in two ties and dropped them to No. 2 in the national polls, the Denver Pioneers will break from NCHC play this weekend, hosting Dartmouth College for a pair of games.

The team will have a week off over the holiday weekend after the series, which will mark the end of the first half of their season. Luckily for Denver, Dartmouth (2-7-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) has struggled mightily to start the season and presents a good opportunity to tie up their first half with a pair of wins.

Being an Ivy League school, Dartmouth started their schedule later than most teams. After beating Brown Nov. 3 and Yale Nov. 4, the team has gone winless (0-4-1), including a 9-2 loss to Princeton two weeks ago.

The PairWise power rankings, which rank Denver fourth in the country, place Dartmouth 59 out of 60 Division I teams, ahead of only Alaska Anchorage.

The Big Green rank dead last in the country in team offense at (1.60 goals/game) which is over two goals worse than the Pioneers. Their rankings in team defense (56th) and power play (58th) are only slightly less dreadful.

Senior forward Corey Kalk leads the team with seven points (2 G, 5 A) on the season. Dartmouth has for the most part split time between senior Devin Buffalo and sophomore Adrian Clark in net. Neither has put up great numbers thus far, but Clark has had a slightly better season statistically (3.23 GAA, .911 save percentage). Sophomore Dean Shatzer, a native of Castle Rock, Colorado, has also played 73 minutes over two games.

The two schools have played just five times previously, the last being a tie at Dartmouth’s own Ledyard Classic in 2015. The Big Green won in a shootout to advance in the tournament.

Both of the weekend’s games can be seen on Altitude 2 and will commence at 7:05 MT.