February 20, 2014 Updated: February 20, 2014 at 7:30 am
Here are three things Colorado College will focus on headed into a home-and-home series against rival Denver in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play this weekend; 7:37 p.m. Friday at Magness Arena (CBS Sports Network); 7:07 Saturday (Altitude), World Arena. About 200 tickets remain (before standing room) for Saturday at $20 each.
Colorado College will need to win both games to take back the Gold Pan Trophy. Here are the topics:
Contain Denver's special teams
1 No. 18 Denver has the distinction of being one of only two Division I teams ranked in the top five nationally on both the power play and penalty kill. Minnesota State-Mankato is the other.
The Pioneers are No. 3 on the PK with 87.9 percent (123 of 140) and No. 5 with the man advantage (22.7 percent, 30 for 132). The DU power play accounts for 30 of the team's 77 goals.
"They keep it simple," CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. "They get four guys around the net."
The defensemen lead the power play with five goals apiece for junior Joey LaLeggia (19 points, nine goals) and senior David Makowski (18, eight goals). LaLeggia did not play on Saturday for an undisclosed reason. Sophomore Nolan Zajac (17, 14 assists) is good setting up scoring chances as well.
"Their PK hustles and blocks shots," Bonnett said. "LaLeggia, Makowski and Zajac may be the best group of three offensive defensemen in the country."
Be wary of much-improved Pioneer forwards
2 Denver leaned on its defensemen in the early going to spark the offense, but the Pioneers have seen their forwards develop into more consistent scorers, especially leading scorer Trevor Moore, who had no goals when the Front Range rivals met in November. The freshman leads the team with 12 scores.
Juniors Daniel Doremus (18, 11 assists) and Ty Loney (17, 10 assists) add balance to the offense as does sophomore Quentin Shore (23, team-high 17 assists).
"They have good depth at forward with the biggest change the way Trevor Moore has emerged," Bonnett said. "They have three well-balanced lines that play hard. Moore, Doremus and Shore have been picking it up of late."
Adjust to foe's different
3 Western Michigan's dump-and-chase approach to offense suited Colorado College's overall team speed well with the Tigers consistently getting back into their own corners before or at the same time as the Broncos.
Denver (14-10-6, 8-7-3-2 NCHC) looks to maintain puck possession and set up rushes by their forwards.
"We have to be really cognizant of that with the forwards doing a good job back-checking," senior center Jeff Collett said. "We will have to do a good job getting back on defense."
JOE PAISLEY, THE GAZETTE