DENVER — Fire up the buses and bring out the cheer squad: the wait for the 2022 Frozen Four is finally over.
"I've been really antsy ever since we won in Loveland," freshman forward Carter Mazur said. "I feel like two weeks is a lot and we should get right into it."
The Pioneers are setting out on their journey to capture a new prize -- the team's ninth national championship and the first since 2017.
"I'm super excited. It's been tough to sleep at night because we have such big games coming up," junior forward Bobby Brink said. "Our goal was to win this national championship, and to be so close to it, is super exciting."
While hanging another banner in the rafters is of course on everybody's minds this week, the leadership group is trying to keep everybody's minds a bit more Zen, knowing that getting too high in these situations can possibly lead to disappointment.
Senior Captain Cole Guttman was a freshman on the 2019 team that last played in a Frozen Four semifinal. His group lost to UMass 4-3 in overtime.
"We had a really young group, just like this year, so we were really excited and the emotions may have gotten a little too high," he said. "This year we want to stay a little more even-keeled and treat it like just any other weekend. Like we've been saying, it's all about our preparation, so prepare the same way and play the same way."
>>Video below: Catching up with DU hockey coach David Carle ahead of Frozen Four
Denver had won 15 of 18 games heading into the NCHC championship game against Minnesota Duluth on March 18, before losing 2-0 to the Bulldogs. Guttman's words to his teammates between that game and the NCAA regional in Loveland lit an undeniable spark.
"He just said 'we don't want to waste this.' We have a great opportunity here with this group and I think we did a good job in the last regional and hopefully we can continue that forward here," sophomore forward Carter Savoie said.
Savoie had two goals in the Loveland regional and leads the team with 22 on the season. He's also ranked 6th in the entire nation in goals per game with .59.
Only four Pioneers are left on the team from the 2019 campaign: Guttman, Brett Stapley, Kyle Mayhew, and Ryan Barrow. The latter is a fifth-year player, who has only played in one Frozen Four tournament prior to this upcoming one in all of his years at DU.
"I don't really know how to say it, but this is something that you might only get once in your time here," Mazur said. "So might as well make the most out of your time while you're there."
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