DU’s bid for na­tional ti­tle must go through hot goalie Cal Peter­son of Notre Dame.

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

Be­fore prac­tice Wed­nes­day, the NCAA Frozen Four- bound Den­ver Pi­o­neers got their first look at Notre Dame on film and the vet­er­ans were re­minded why they couldn’t beat the Fight­ing Ir­ish last sea­son in a two- game se­ries in Den­ver.

Goal ten­der Cal Peter­son, a sopho­more at the time, stopped 92- of- 95 DU shots in the 1- 1 and 2- 2 ties on Jan. 1- 2, 2016 at Mag­ness Arena. The Pi­o­neers out­shot the Ir­ish a com­bined 95- 52 but Peter­son— a 2013 Buf­falo Sabres draft pick— was the se­ries MVP. “They came in here last year and he ba­si­cally stole two ties,” DU se­nior cen­ter Matt Marcinew said of Peter­son.

“They ob­vi­ously have a good goal­tender and we’ll have to find a way to beat him.”

Top- seeded Den­ver ( 31- 7- 4) plays Peter­son and the Fight­ing Ir­ish ( 23- 11- 5) next Thurs­day in the

sec­ond Frozen Four semi­fi­nal at Chicago’s United Cen­ter.

“We’ll have to get bod­ies in front of him so he can’t see the puck,” Pi­o­neers se­nior de­fense­man Will Butcher said of Peter­son. “If he sees the shots, they’ re prob­a­bly not go­ing in .”

Peter­son has played every game for Notre Dame and his .929 save per­cent­age is eighth na­tion­ally, just ahead of No. 9 Tan­ner Jail­let (. 928) of Den­ver. Peter­son and Jail­let, who is also a ju­nior, both have been the No. 1 guy for their teams since they were fresh­men.

Coach­ing ties.

DU’s Jim Mont­gomery, who on Wed­nes­day was named Col­lege Hockey News na­tional coach of the year, got his first taste of NCAA coach­ing in 2005- 06 as a vol­un­teer as­sis­tant at Notre Dame un­der Jeff Jack­son, who is in his 12th sea­son with the Ir­ish. Jack­son brought in Mont­gomery de­spite watch­ing Mont­gomery score a nat­u­ral third- pe­riod hat trick in Maine’s 1993 na­tional cham­pi­onship vic­tory over Jack­son’s Lake Su­pe­rior State War­riors.

“It’s re­ally neat,” Mont­gomery, 47, said of his con­nec­tion with the 61- year- old Jack­son. “I wish it was the fi­nal, not the semi­fi­nal. But I owe a lot towhat I know and what I’ve been able to do inmy ca­reer to Jeff Jack­son.”

About Jack­son’s team, Mont­gomery said: “Very struc­tured. Don’t beat them­selves. Dy­namic first line, es­pe­cially the ( An­ders) Bjork kid, and the goal­tender can be all- world.”


The Avalanche will have two draft picks in the DU- Notre Dame game. Butcher was se­lected by Colorado with the 123 rd pick in 2013, and Ir­ish fresh­man for­ward Cam Mor­ri­son was cho­sen by the-Avs with the 40th pick in 2016. … Den­ver prac­ticed the last two days but will take Thurs­day off. The Pios de­part for Chicago on Tues­day and will prac­tice at the United Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day, a day be­fore the semi­fi­nals.

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