Gold Pan ri­valry never gets old

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers Mike Cham­bers: mcham­bers@den­ver­post.com or @mikecham­bers

The Uni­ver­sity of Den­ver hockey team had its way with Colorado Col­lege from 1959 to 1970 — go­ing 40-2-1 on the strength of a 21-game win­ning streak in the 1960s when even the Rus­sians couldn’t beat the Pi­o­neers — and the Tigers be­gan the ri­valry with a 16-0 vic­tory on Jan. 6, 1950, that kicked off a nine-game win­ning streak.

Oth­er­wise, DU and CC usu­ally have traded punches in one of col­lege hockey’s most com­pet­i­tive and fiercest ri­val­ries.

The Pi­o­neers have the bet­ter head-to-head over­all record (169116-17), but the Tigers have won the Gold Pan 12 times — one more than DU — since the trav­el­ing tro­phy was in­tro­duced in 1993 by then-coaches Frank Ser­ra­tore of Den­ver and Don Lu­cia of CC.

The Pi­o­neers, ranked No. 2 na­tion­ally and rid­ing an NCAA-high 12-game un­beaten streak, look to even up Gold Pan brag­ging rights Fri­day when the an­nual fourgame se­ries kicks off at the Broad­moor World Arena in Colorado Springs. Game 2 is Satur­day at Mag­ness Arena.

Fourth-year DU coach Jim Mont­gomery, de­spite go­ing 8-0 and sweep­ing the Gold Pan the past two years, says the ri­valry re­mains strong and will con­tinue to be used as a re­cruit­ing tool.

“Ev­ery year we try to in­doc­tri­nate our play­ers on how im­por­tant this se­ries is to the hockey alums, No. 1, and to the fac­ulty and chan­cel­lors of each school,” Mont­gomery said.

Third-year CC coach Mike Hav­i­land has never de­feated DU, but Mont­gomery said the Pi­o­neers (9-2-3) will hardly un­der­es­ti­mate the re­build­ing Tigers (3-9).

“Two rea­sons: We know they’re get­ting bet­ter, No. 1. And last week, we weren’t happy with the way we played as a team,” Mont­gomery said, re­call­ing a 4-3 over­time win at Air Force and 6-5 tri­umph against Wis­con­sin.

DU might be with­out lead­ing scorer Hen­rik Borgstrom, a true fresh­man who missed prac­tice Thurs­day be­cause of the flu, but in­jury-plagued CC is guar­an­teed to go into the week­end short­handed. Hav­i­land knows his play­ers won’t lack en­ergy.

“I can’t tell you how many e-mails and phone calls all week, start­ing on Sun­day, from our hockey alumni to me and the play­ers, say­ing to me: ‘Hey, coach, can you for­ward this on or put it up in the room, about what it meant to me to be in those ri­val­ries?’ ” Hav­i­land said.

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