In his first season at the helm of hockey for the Denver Pioneers, coach Jim Montgomery got slapped in the face with a realization. DU won a a conference tournament title that year, in 2014, but one series stained the season.

“When we lost the Gold Pan, I saw how much it hurt everyone here — and how happy Colorado College was,” Montgomery said Thursday from outside the Pioneers’ locker room in Magness Arena. “I underestimated the rivalry. I was very surprised by the intensity of it.”

So when Denver and Colorado College resume their 67-year old rivalry this weekend for a home-and-home series starting Friday, the stakes will be adequately understood. The No. 1-ranked Pioneers (9-3-2), winners of the past three Gold Pan trophies, will face the toughest Tigers team they’ve seen since Montgomery’s first year. Colorado College (7-7-0) sits outside the top 25 but is also receiving votes in national polls.

It is second-most active rivalry in the history of college hockey, with 308 games played between DU and CC, trailing only an ongoing series between Michigan and Michigan State. And in the 25th season since a miner’s pan trophy was set at the center of the DU-CC series, both teams have won 12.

“Even when I was a kid, I could tell these teams don’t like each other very much,” said Denver junior forward Troy Terry, who grew up in Highlands Ranch. If Montgomery’s indoctrination to the Gold Pan matchup was delayed, Terry’s was not. His family had season tickets to Pios games. He got an up-close view of the rivalry growing up.

“They were always very physical. They got chippy,” Terry said. “It’s a rivalry that’s lasted since the beginning of college hockey, pretty much.”

Last season, the rivalry petered some as Denver stormed to a national championship. The Pioneers swept the …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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