The Denver and Colorado College hockey programs debuted the Gold Pan trophy in 1994. It’s awarded every season to the team that wins the most head-to-head regular season games between these two teams. The creation of the formal trophy certainly wasn’t the beginning of this in-state rivalry. In actuality, it began four decades earlier when the two teams met on the ice for the first time January 6, 1950. It was just the fifth game in program history for Denver while the Tigers were playing in the program’s 12th year of existence.
The featured photo was taken at some point between 1953 and 1959 at the old University of Denver Arena. The home team is wearing the dark crimson sweaters while the visitors are sporting the white sweaters with Tigers written diagonally down the front. In the head-to-head games played between the two teams throughout this time frame, the Pioneers won 20 games compared to the Tigers’ 13.
The battle for the Gold Pan trophy resumes this weekend where Denver will look to retain the trophy for the fourth-straight year. The home-and-home series this weekend will be a little special this time around in that Friday’s home game for Denver will be played at Ball Arena – home of the Colorado Avalanche. Saturday’s game will take place at Ed Robson Arena on the Colorado College campus. This is the second season the Tigers have played in the new arena.
The Miami RedHawks and St. Cloud State Huskies have played hockey against each other in five different decades. The first meeting took place in Oxford, Ohio, on Friday, November 13, 1987. This game occurred during the first year of Division I hockey for the Huskies. Miami had been a Division I hockey member since the school fielded a team in 1978. Both teams had two wins coming into the contest. The Miami Redskins – who changed their name to the RedHawks in 1996 – had defeated Michigan and Michigan State. The Huskies two wins came from a sweep of Air Force. Both teams looked to snap losing streaks.
Ultimately, the home ice and veteran presence were too much for St. Cloud State as Miami cruised to an 8-1 victory in the first game of the series. The following night’s tilt was closer, yet the series ended in a sweep as Miami won 5-3. The Huskies scored three unanswered goals at one point in that second game to go up 3-2 yet Miami scored three unanswered goals themselves as the team battled back to win.
At the time of this first series in 1987, Miami was a part of the CCHA and St. Cloud State was an independent team. As we know all too well, the conference alignment within college hockey is never set in stone. Flash forward to today and these two teams have shared the same conference since 2013. Prior to joining the NCHC, the programs met 13 times with Miami leading the non-conference series 8-3-2. Since the NCHC was created, the two teams have met 38 times as conference foes. The script has flipped with the Huskies sporting a 26-10-2 record over the RedHawks in that timeframe. The two teams will play each other this weekend back in Oxford, Ohio, to determine who will win games 52 and 53 in the overall series.
Photo Credits: Featured photo: The Miami Student, Vol. 115, No. 21 (Nov. 17, 1987). Secondary photo: Miami Recensio 1988 Yearbook.
This is the next installment in our On Location series where we live tweet a college game (or games) that we attend in person and then later post an article here on the site. If you missed our first installment, you can read it here.
Teams (seed): Denver Pioneers (1), North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2), Western Michigan Broncos (3), Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (5)
Where: Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota
When: March 18/19, 2022
Denver came into the weekend as the number one seed in the conference tournament and started the weekend against the only team to win an opening-round upset: Minnesota Duluth. It was the first time back at Xcel Energy Center for both teams since a previous Frozen Faceoff tournament March 23, 2019.
The Bulldogs scored first in the opening period. There was no scoring in the middle frame and for the majority of the third period. UMD scored an empty-net goal with 20 seconds left to defeat the top-seed Pioneers 2-0. The Bulldogs were set to play in the conference’s championship game for a fourth time the following night.
The two NCHC trophies were on display. The Penrose Cup on the left is awarded to the top team during the regular season. Denver and North Dakota were co-champions this season. The NCHC Tournament Trophy is on the right and was on hand to be presented to the winner on the ice after the championship game March 19, 2022.
The second semifinal game was second seed North Dakota against third seed Western Michigan. The Fighting Hawks were looking to become the first repeat Frozen Faceoff champion in conference history. The Broncos were looking for the program’s first Frozen Faceoff win. This was Western Michigan’s first game at the X since losing an opening round NCAA tournament game to North Dakota March 24, 2012. This was North Dakota’s first game in the venue since a 4-1 victory over UMD in the 2018 Frozen Faceoff consolation game. It’s worth noting the consolation game for this season was cancelled due to the Minnesota Wild hosting a hockey game during the day on Saturday prior to the NCHC championship game.
North Dakota got off to a fast start by scoring first but Western Michigan answered back less than two minutes later. The first period ended 1-1. The Broncos went up 2-1 in the second period and then scored again with less than a minute remaining. The Fighting Hawks answered back by cutting the lead back to one with less than eight seconds remaining in the period. The third period remained scoreless until an empty-net goal from Western Michigan clinched the program’s first Frozen Faceoff win. It would be Western Michigan versus Minnesota Duluth in the title game the following night.
There’s an area in the Xcel Energy Center that is dedicated to the Patty Kazmaier and Hobey Baker Memorial Awards. It includes a list of past winners, jerseys, a replica award, and information about the trophies and players they are named after.
The 2022 NCHC championship game took place the evening of Saturday, March 19, 2022. The Western Michigan Broncos were looking for the program’s first NCHC tournament title and were facing two-time winners Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Following the blueprint from the first game of the weekend, the Bulldogs jumped on the board first in the opening period. UMD scored in the middle frame to take a 2-0 lead on a power play goal from Casey Gilling. Ryan Fanti continued his hot streak and made some fantastic saves to prevent the Broncos from getting momentum. Wyatt Kaiser’s goal in the third period iced the game.
The UMD Bulldogs won the program’s third Frozen Faceoff title. Noah Cates accepted the trophy at center ice after the game and Ryan Fanti was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. He did not allow a goal throughout the last six periods of play. By the end of the tournament Fanti was sitting at an active shutout streak of 145:21 dating back to the St. Cloud State series. With this win, UMD broke the two-way tie with Denver for the lead in number of NCHC tournament championships.
The Michigan Wolverines and Denver Pioneers have a long history against one another on the ice. The first meeting between these storied programs took place in 1951. The teams were long-time division rivals in the WCHA until Michigan left for the CCHA in 1981. The two teams met four times throughout the 1961-62 regular season with each team sweeping at home. All four games took place in February 1962. The tiebreaker would take place in the WCHA playoffs at the beginning of the following month.
The 1962 WCHA tournament included the top four teams in the conference and took place at the Weinberg Coliseum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Third seed Denver faced second seed Michigan in a battle of familiar foes in the second semifinal game March 2, 1962. The other semifinal game took place between Michigan Tech and Michigan State the previous night. The Wolverines proved to be too much for the Pioneers and won 8-4 in front of the home crowd. The legendary Red Berenson scored a hat trick in the game. As in the previous season, Berenson was selected to the All-WCHA First Team during the 1961-62 season. He was honored as a West All-American in those two seasons as well.
Both teams lost their next WCHA playoff game. Denver lost the consolation game to Michigan State 4-3 and Michigan lost the WCHA title game later that night to Michigan Tech 6-4. This marked the end of the Pioneers season while the Wolverines were invited to the 1962 NCAA tournament as the West’s at-large bid. Michigan lost the opening semifinal game to Clarkson but defeated St. Lawrence to earn the Third Place trophy. Michigan Tech defeated Clarkson in the championship game 7-1 to earn the program’s first national title.
Red Berenson added another honor to his name when he was voted to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team in 1962. He would later play in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. Berenson coached the Blues before heading back to his alma mater to coach the Michigan hockey team. He was the long-time head coach of the Wolverines from 1984 through 2017 and won two NCAA championships.
Denver and Michigan will meet Thursday, April 7, in the 2022 Frozen Four semifinal in Boston. This will be the 84th meeting in the series. The teams have only played each other twice since a 1981 WCHA playoff series and both games took place within the NCAA tournament. The winner on Thursday will play either Minnesota or Minnesota State in the NCAA Division I men’s championship game on Saturday.
In the featured image Red Berenson is shown scoring one of his three goals against Denver in the 1962 WCHA playoff game March 2, 1962.
Photo Credit: U-M Library Digital Collections. Bentley Image Bank, Bentley Historical Library.
The 2013 Frozen Four in Pittsburgh was unique in that the four teams were all searching for their first Division I men’s hockey championship. Of these teams, only Yale had previously reached the national semifinals back in 1952; long before the Frozen Four moniker was even an idea. Two of the teams from the 2013 Frozen Four will be facing off against one another in the national tournament this Friday.
Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State were slated for the nightcap on Thursday, April 11, 2013. These were two teams who took similar routes to get to this destination yet ended up with opposite seeds in the 2013 national tournament. Quinnipiac was the number one seed in the East Region after winning the ECAC regular season title and going 27-7-5 prior to the national tournament. The Bobcats lost the ECAC semifinal game against Brown yet still ended up a one seed in the regional. St. Cloud State represented the WCHA in the team’s last year in the conference and went 23-15-1 prior to the national tournament. The Huskies won the WCHA regular season title yet lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA semifinals. Warranted or not, the Huskies ended up as the fourth seed in the Midwest Region. Quinnipiac defeated Canisius and Union to win the region. St. Cloud State defeated Notre Dame and Miami.
Yale won a close contest with Massachusetts Lowell in the early game April 11, 2013. The second game that night tilted in the Bobcats favor early. Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored a power play goal less than two minutes into the game for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats didn’t let up, scoring less than four minutes later. Then scored again to make it 3-0 before the end of the first period. The Huskies got one back in the second after a goal from Joey Benik but Quinnipiac answered back before the next intermission. A scoreless third period propelled Quinnipiac into the title game.
Quinnipiac faced division-rival Yale in a battle between Connecticut schools and a repeat of the ECAC Third Place Game. The Bobcats defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in that earlier game but it would be a different outcome when it mattered the most. Yale won the program’s first NCAA national title after a 4-0 shut out and the Bulldogs were crowned 2013 national champions.
Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State will meet this Friday in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA men’s national tournament. The two teams are in the Midwest Regional and will play at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bobcats are the second seed while the Huskies are the third seed. Both teams are at-large bids. Will Quinnipiac defeat the Huskies on the national stage yet again or will St. Cloud State avenge the loss from 2013? The victor will face the winner of Michigan and American International for a chance to head to the 2022 Frozen Four.
The first hockey game between the University of Denver and Colorado College was played January 6, 1950. It was just the fifth game in program history for Denver. The twelve-year head start in hockey for Colorado College was evident in a 16-0 shellacking that the Tigers provided to the new kids on the block. The next night was a closer contest when the Tigers only won by ten goals in another shutout. It didn’t get any easier for the Pioneers that season – or the next – as Denver went winless against Colorado College in the first two seasons of the program. Denver finally struck gold in the tenth game between these intrastate rivals and won 4-3 in Colorado Springs.
By the time the 1953-54 season arrived, Denver was ready to build upon a 17-6-1 season. Colorado College had dipped to a 9-11-0 record the year before. The two teams played four times during the season with three of the four games taking place in 1954. Colorado College hosted the first meeting December 19, 1953. The visitors won the game 7-5. It was the first conference game of the season for both teams with each program having played school alumni and the Edmonton Oil Kings to open the season. A home-and-home series was on tap the following month. On January 15, 1954, Denver welcomed the Tigers to the University of Denver Arena and won 5-4. The next night the teams traveled to Colorado Springs and the Tigers earned a split in the series with a 6-5 victory. The final game of the season between these two teams took place February 27. Denver’s archives state that the game was played at home while Colorado College’s archives state that the game was played at that school’s home rink. We here at College Hockey History are led to believe that it was played in Denver in order to complete the even schedule of two home games per team. The Pioneers won the final game against their rival 6-2 and won the season series 3-1. Denver ended the season with a 16-9-0 record. Colorado College bounced back with a winning season at 14-9-1.
Did Denver’s early losses to Colorado College in the opening stages of the program jump-start this rivalry for Denver? Did it provide an extra kick to this program and ultimately fuel a dynasty that emerged the following decade? This could very well be the case. Either way, the rivalry took off and Denver quickly fielded a competitive team.
The Pioneers would have won the Gold Pan trophy in 1954 if it had been around at the time. However, it was first introduced in 1993 to be awarded every season to the team that wins the most head-to-head regular season games between these two teams. Denver won the Gold Pan last season with a 3-1 season record over Colorado College. The two teams have yet to play this season. That changes this weekend as the teams play a home-and-home series starting in Denver at Magness Arena on Friday. The Saturday game will be the first game between these two teams at the new Ed Robson Arena for Colorado College. This also marks the first time the two teams will play against one another on the Colorado College campus. Fans attending the games this weekend or watching at home will see games 329 and 330 in the all-time series.
In the featured photo, two players wearing number 9 for Denver and Colorado College vie for the puck in the corner. Colorado College is in white while Denver is wearing Crimson sweaters. The referee looks on as well as a ring of fans in the standing-room section at ice level. The University of Denver Arena was almost-assuredly a full house for the rivalry. The photo was taken either January 15 or February 27, 1954. The Denver player is Barrie Middleton.
The Great Lakes Invitational tournament began in 1965 with Michigan Tech as the host team. The Huskies were the only Michigan-based team that participated that year. At least three of the four teams that have participated each year since the 1979 tournament have been Michigan-based Division I men’s teams. The champion is awarded the MacInnes Cup.
The 2013 edition of the tournament was unique in that it took place outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit. It was held the final weekend in December and included four Michigan teams: Michigan Tech, Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State. This was the third time this grouping of teams had faced off against one another in the tournament. However, it was the first time this tournament was played outdoors.
This 49th edition of the tournament was included as part of the festivities around the 2014 NHL Winter Classic that took place on New Year’s Day. In that game, the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at Michigan Stadium. The NHL game at Michigan Stadium was originally scheduled to occur the previous year – along with an outdoor Great Lakes Invitational tournament – but everything was pushed back due to the 2012 NHL lockout that season.
The first game of the 2013 Great Lakes Invitational was between Michigan State and Michigan Tech. The announced crowd was more than 25,000 on December 27. The Spartans came into the game with a 5-9-1 record in the first year of Big Ten Hockey. Michigan Tech had already swept the Spartans in Houghton, Michigan, the previous month. The Huskies also had a losing record of 6-9-5 in the new-look WCHA. Michigan State scored two early goals in the third period to go up 2-1. But Alex Petan of Michigan Tech scored the equalizer 8:13 into the period and that’s how it remained until the end of regulation. A shootout was needed to determine which team would advance to the tournament championship the following day. Michigan Tech’s Ryan Furne scored the shootout winner in the fifth round to send the team to the championship.
The second game of the Day 1 was between Michigan and Western Michigan. Sitting at a 10-2-2 record, the Wolverines were the favorite to win the tournament. Western Michigan sported a 7-8-3 record and represented the brand-new NCHC conference. The Broncos were the runner-up in the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational. The two teams had yet to face one another that season prior to the tournament. The Wolverines got on the board first with a shorthanded goal by JT Compher in the second period. But the Broncos bounced back and scored two of their own before the second frame was over. The Wolverines tied the score in the third and that’s how it remained at the end of regulation. With just nineteen seconds left in overtime, Josh Pitt scored the game winner for Western Michigan to send the Broncos to the title game.
The MacInnes Cup would be awarded to either Michigan Tech or Western Michigan on December 28. But first the consolation game would be played between Michigan and Michigan State. The two rivals had yet to play that season. The Spartans surprised the college hockey world by shutting out Michigan 3-0. With many people picking Michigan to win the tournament, the team ended up in 4th place out of four teams.
More than 26,000 fans were in attendance to see which team would be the first to hoist the MacInnes Cup outdoors. It was a rematch of the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational championship game that saw the Huskies blank the Broncos 4-0. In this rematch, the teams were evenly matched and both had great scoring chances. At one point in the second period Daniel Holmberg of Michigan Tech hit the cross bar for no goal. By the end of the game, shots were 33-31 in favor of Michigan Tech yet no goals had been scored. The game would be decided in overtime. It only took two minutes and one second for Justin Kovacs to score the game-winning goal. It was the second time the Broncos won the Great Lakes Invitational and first time since 1986.
The same four teams will participate in this year’s Great Lakes Invitational. It will be the fifth time this grouping of teams will participate in the tournament (with the fourth being in 2016.) However, it will be a showcase tournament with games being held at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing and Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The first two games will be held December 29 when Michigan State will host Western Michigan and Michigan will host Michigan Tech. The two visiting teams are scheduled to swap ice arenas the following night with Michigan State hosting Michigan Tech on Saturday and Michigan hosting Western Michigan. Unfortunately, Michigan announced December 27 that the team is cancelling the game on Saturday against Western Michigan. The official release stated health and welfare protocols but it sounds like it is not due to COVID but instead to prevent wear and tear on a roster that is missing five players to the IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada. This tournament will look different than previous iterations and no champion will be crowned for the second year in a row since last year’s tournament was canceled due to COVID. But the bright spot is that college hockey will be showcased again this holiday season in the state of Michigan.
On February 17, 2020, Air Force and Colorado College took the Battle for Pikes Peak outside for the first time. Air Force hosted Colorado College in the second game of a home-and-home series. It was played outdoors at the football stadium in game that was touted as the Faceoff at Falcon Stadium. It was the first outdoor hockey game in program history for Air Force and the second for Colorado College – the first was against Denver at Coors Field in 2016. This was also the second outdoor hockey game played on the field at Falcon Stadium in three days. The NHL hosted a Stadium Series game two days earlier on Saturday that saw the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1.
The Tigers won the first game of the weekend at home on Friday night 6-2 and were looking for the first back-to-back wins since sweeping Princeton in December. The Falcons were hoping to get back in the win column for the first time since a sweep against Niagara in January. And above all, the Pikes Peak Trophy hung in the balance. The two teams first met in 1969 and created the Pikes Peak Trophy in 2013 to be awarded each year.
Grant Cruikshank broke the proverbial ice when he scored a power-play goal in the first period. He scored the second goal of the game halfway through the second period to make it 2-0 Tigers. The Falcons got on the board with a power-play goal of their own with only 34 seconds left in the second frame. The teams traded goals early in the third period. With Air Force down one goal, Grant Cruikshank netted the hat trick and put the game away with 37 seconds left in regulation. Colorado College defeated Air Force 4-2 and retained the Pikes Peak Trophy.
The same two teams will reignite the Battle for Pikes Peak this weekend. The rivalry was put on hold last season due to COVID scheduling. The home-and-home series starts off (indoors) at Air Force on Friday with Colorado College hosting the second game at the brand new Ed Robson Arena on Saturday. Air Force will be looking to bring home the Pikes Peak Trophy for the first time since 2017.
In the above photo, Luke Manning drives to the net as Colorado College goalie Matt Vernon prepares for a shot.
The date: April 9, 2016. The location: Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The teams: number one overall seed Quinnipiac Bobcats versus number three overall seed North Dakota. The stakes: 2016 Division I men’s national champion.
Quinnipiac entered the game as the ECAC regular season and tournament champion with a 32-3-7 record. North Dakota entered the game as an at-large bid after losing in the NCHC semifinals to UMD 4-2. However, the Fighting Hawks won the NCHC regular season crown and were heading into the title game with a 33-6-4 record. This was a heavyweight battle for the title and a packed house of 19,358 were there to take in every moment of it.
The championship game was scoreless for the first half of the opening period until freshman Shane Gersich put North Dakota on the board first. Several minutes later fellow freshman Brock Boeser scored a short-handed goal for the Fighting Hawks to make it 2-0. Quinnipiac would get on the board at the end of the period on a 5-on-3 power-play goal from Tim Clifton. There was no scoring in the second frame. North Dakota senior Drake Caggiula scored two goals in the third period to put the game out of reach for the Bobcats. Austin Poganski put the final stamp on the game and sealed it for the Fighting Hawks halfway through the third period. The final score was 5-1. This was North Dakota’s eighth national championship for the men’s team and first since 2000.
This weekend, these same two teams will meet on the ice for the first time since this championship tilt. Quinnipiac will host North Dakota on Friday and Saturday at the team’s home arena in Hamden, Connecticut. Not only will it be a rematch of the championship game from five years ago, it will also be a top ten battle. North Dakota travels east as the number 6 team in the nation with Quinnipiac as the number 7 team. As it stands, the Fighting Hawks own a 4-0 record against the Bobcats and it will be the first time North Dakota has played in Hamden. There are no longer any Quinnipiac Bobcats on the team from the 2016 title game but head coach Rand Pecknold surely remembers it well. He will look to avenge that loss this weekend with a win or two in yet another heavyweight battle between these two programs.
This is the first article in our new On Location series where we will live tweet a college game that we attend in person and then later post an article here on the site.
Teams: St. Cloud State Huskies at St. Thomas Tommies
Where: Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota
When: October 3, 2021 at 5:07 p.m.
This was the second game of a home-and-home series to begin the 2021-22 season for these two teams. St. Cloud State hosted the first game on Saturday night and showed the new Division I team why they are ranked #2/3 in the preseason polls. The Huskies impressively won 12-2. The same two teams met on Sunday evening on October 3, 2021, in St. Paul. It’s credited as the first Division I home game for St. Thomas despite it being at the Xcel Energy Center instead of the team’s St. Thomas Ice Arena. 4,261 fans were in attendance.
St. Cloud State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Zach Okabe in the first period. Jami Krannila and Spencer Meier assisted on the play. Shots on goal in the first period were 12-4 in favor of the Huskies.
The Xcel Energy Center is home to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff. This weekend of hockey played every March includes the final four teams left in the conference tournament with the winner of the title game hoisting the Frozen Faceoff trophy and earning an automatic bid to the national tournament. The NCHC conference tournament took place in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 2021 but the Frozen Faceoff will return to St. Paul in 2022. This game against St. Thomas is the first time St. Cloud State has played at the Xcel Energy Center since March 23, 2019, when the Huskies lost 3-2 in 2OT to UMD in the 2019 NCHC Frozen Faceoff title game.
In the second period, the Huskies scored again to make it 2-0 heading into the third period. This time the goal was from Micah Miller with the assist from Kevin Fitzgerald. The Tommies had several chances but came up short. Shots in the second frame were 7-6 in favor of St. Cloud State.
There’s an area in the Xcel Energy Center that is devoted to the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Memorial Awards. It includes a list of past winners, replica Hobey Baker Award, and jerseys of a handful of past recipients. There are also summaries of the awards and what they mean to the hockey community.
There was no scoring in the third period. St. Thomas pulled the goalie but no goals were scored for either team before time expired. St. Cloud State outshot the Tommies 29-14. David Hrenak recorded his first shutout of the season as the Huskies opened the season with two wins. The Tommies put up a good fight but are still looking for the program’s first Division I win.