Thursday, February 07, 2008

What the French, Toast?!?

I had hoped that by the time I was able to sit down and write a post there would be some good news. However, the hockey scene in Denver is as bleak as the weather's been as of late.

University of Denver

The Pioneers hosted the Badgers in the second weekend of January. I was unable to attend the Friday Night due to a prior work engagement, but I did DVR it so to watch it later. The Badgers battled back from a 3-0 deficit to seemly tie the game in the final 4 seconds of the game. However Referee Randy Schmidt ruled that it was a no goal. Turns out rather than looking at the entire replay (which showed the puck entering and exiting the net before the end of the period), he saw only a screen shot at the 0:00 mark of the 3rd period, granting the Pioneers a 3-2 win over the Badgers. Amid the outcry of fans and Mike Eaves, the WCHA issued an apology admitting that Schmidt made an error and the goal should have counted, however they are unable, due to NCAA rules, to change the outcome of the game. You may remember that Randy Schmidt is the same ref that allowed Jesse Martin's controversial goal in the favor of the Pioneers when they visited St. Cloud State. Much to the chagrin of all parties involved, Schmidt was allowed to officiate the Saturday night game of the series. In my opinion, this was a HUGE mistake by the league as, from my view, Schmidt spent the entire evening trying to make up for mistake the previous night, including allowing a Badger goal that changed the flow of the game, leading the Badgers to a 7-2 win over the Pioneers. After allowing 5 goals, Senior Goaltender Peter Mannino was replaced by Freshman Marc Cheverie.

The following weekend saw the Pioneers play at Air Force and host Bemidji State. As is to be expected, the Air Force Falcons worked hard the entire 60 minutes of the game, to a well deserved 5-2 win over the Pioneers. Once again, the Pioneer defense left goalie Peter Mannino out to dry, and he was pulled in favor of Marc Cheverie after allowing 4 goals. The Pioneers hosted the Bemidji State Beavers the next night. Marc Cheverie's play earned him the starting job for the Saturday night tilt. Four different Pioneers scored in the 4-2 win over the Beavers, included Matt Glasser who scored his first goal in his collegiate career.

After a long bye-week, the Pioneers traveled to Mankato, Minnesota for its first WCHA road series of the New Year. If you're any kind of DU fan, you'll remember the 8-7 loss to the Mavericks in the 2003-2004 season. It seems that DU can never play "their" game when visiting Mankato and this trip was no different. The Mavericks pounded the Pioneers in a 5-1 loss for DU. For the third consecutive game, Peter Mannino allowed 4 or more goals. The one bright spot was perhaps that Rhett Rakhshani scored in his second consecutive game and seems to be coming out of his WJC haze. The next night the Pioneers lost by a hair in a 3-2 loss as the Mavericks completed the sweep. It's a bit ironic that the same team DU swept at home for its first WCHA home sweep in a year and half, ended up sweeping them when they visited...

The biggest (and most likely most tragic, but nothing appears to be certain yet) news of late is that Brock Trotter did not make the trip to Mankato with the team. When it was first reported (see:Crucial Stretch starts with Trotter Missing), it appeared (at least in my reading of this quote: "I can't tell a lot about why he is not with us," Gwozdecky said. "All I can say is that each guy on our team has a private life and at this point in time, we have to respect his privacy. This was an internal decision to not have him on the trip.") that there was some sort of personal issue that Trotter was dealing with. However as days have passed and news has been deferred repeatedly (see: the mention of TrotterWatch in the USCHO Fan Forum All Things DU XVIII Thread), speculation has run rampant through the hockey community. Chris at the Western College Hockey blog has a great summary of the events of the last day or so. Check it out: Where in the World is Brock Trotter?

While I have several theories, I'm not going to commit them to writing as there is every chance that this is an extremely personal situation for Trotter and there's no reason to besmirch him based on rumor and innuendo. I can only say that I sincerely hope that when all the smoke has cleared the integrity of both player and program remain intact.

That's really all I have the energy for now...

No comments: