Gold Pan rivalry never gets old
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.