March 27, 2009

West Regional Breakdown Podcast | Watch Game Highlights!

Courtesy of Denver

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - No. 4 seed Miami jumped to a 2-0 lead and never looked back in its 4-2 win over No. 1 seed Denver in NCAA West Regional hockey action this afternoon at Minnesota's Mariucci Arena. DU's season ends with the loss, while Miami advances to the regional final tomorrow night against No. 2 seed Minnesota Duluth or No. 3 seed Princeton.

Denver was outplayed from the start and finishes the 2008-09 season with a 23-12-5 record. Joe Colborne (Calgary, Alberta) and Tyler Bozak (Regina, Saskatchewan) scored for Denver and sophomore netminder Marc Cheverie (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia) made 25 saves. Seniors J.P. Testwuide (Vail, Colo.) and Patrick Mullen (Pittsburgh, Pa.) played their final games as Pioneers.

"We got off to a slow start and could never recover," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "We had trouble generating scoring chances and Miami did an excellent job in its coverages. Give Miami credit for a good game plan and the win. I'm proud of our team because we accomplished a lot of our goals, despite battling a lot of adversity and injuries."

Miami started fast and led 2-0 after the first period. Justin Mercier wristed a blast from the top of the slot by Cheverie at 7:28 and Alden Hirschfeld scored from the  at low slot at 18:04. Miami outshot Denver, 10-7, and the Pioneers committed four penalties in the period.

Bill Loupee made it 3-0 at 5:36 of the second period when he netted a rebound past Cheverie. DU finally lit the lamp at 17:29 on the power-play when Colborne redirected a Patrick Wiercioch (Maple Ridge, British Columbia) blast from the point. Bozak also earned a helper on the play. The DU momentum was short-lived when Andy Miele scooped up a loose rebound and scored with 33 seconds left in the second period. Miami outshot DU, 12-3, in the period.

Gwozdecky pulled Cheverie at 14:20 for an extra attacker, and it paid off when Bozak scored on the power play with a 6-on-4 advantage. Cody Reichard finished the game with 16 saves. Denver went 2-for-5 on the power play, while Miami was 0-for-5.

Notes: DU allowed the first goal in four of its last five games. Bozak returned to the DU lineup after missing 21 games with a knee injury. DU exits the NCAA Tournament in the first round for the second consecutive season. The Pioneers lost 6-2 at Wisconsin in NCAA Midwest Regional in 2008. DU was the second top seed to fall in the NCAA Tournament today as Michigan lost 2-0 to Air Force and former Pioneer head coach Frank Serratore.