The University of Denver men's ice hockey team is back in the NCAA tournament for the 12th consecutive year (30th overall) after what many thought would be a down year for the Pioneers following the departure of former head coach Jim Montgomery and a handful of stars to the NHL.
David Carle, the NCAA's youngest head coach (29), has lead the Pioneers to a 22-11-5 record and finished the NCHC Tournament with a semifinal loss to the Minnesota-Duluth 3-0 (two empty-net goals) and a 6-1 consolation win over their rival Colorado College.
The Pioneers drew the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of their regional in Fargo, N.D. on Friday, March 29.
The Buckeyes finished their regular season with an overall 20-10-5 record and a semifinal loss in the B1G Tournament Semifinals with a loss to Penn State 5-1.
The two teams last met in last year's Midwest Regional Final in Allentown, PA. After defeating Penn State 5-1 in last year's regional semifinal, the Pioneers fell to the Buckeyes 5-1 to end their season.
Denver has been lead by senior Jarid Lukosevicius who leads the team in goals (18) and game-winning goals (7) in 37 regular season contests this year, junior Liam Finlay who leads the team with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists). Freshman Emilio Pettersen from Manglerud, Norway leads the team in assists (21) with 27 points overall this season.
Following last year's loss the Pioneers missed Henrik Borgstrom (Florida Panthers), Tariq Hammond (Binghamton Devils), Dylan Gambrell (San Jose Sharks), Blake Hillman (Chicago Blackhawks), Troy Terry (Aneheim Ducks), Logan O'Connor (Colorado Avalanche) and graduated Mike Richter award-winning goaltender Tanner Jaillet.
Tune in to watch the DU Pioneers seek redemption against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the West Regional Semifinal on Friday, March 29 on ESPNU at 2 p.m. MT.