Apr 10, 2024 - Sports

DU hockey faces Boston's Celebrini as it goes for 10th national title

The Denver Pioneers celebrate a goal against the Cornell Big Red during the regional championship final on March 30. Photo: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Denver Pioneers celebrate a goal against the Cornell Big Red during the regional championship final on March 30. Photo: Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images

The University of Denver men's hockey team enters Thursday's Frozen Four game with the three ingredients it needs to deliver a victory: a hot goalie, three freshman phenoms and nine veterans with a championship ring.

State of play: The Pioneers β€” who lead Division I schools with the top scoring offense at 4.71 goals per game β€” face off at 3pm against Boston University in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first of two games DU needs to win to claim a record 10th national title. It'll be aired on ESPN2.

  • Goalie Matt Davis stopped 70 of 72 shots in two NCAA regional games and won Most Outstanding Player.
  • Defenseman Zeev Buium, one of 11 freshmen on the team, leads the squad in assists and is second in scoring.

By the numbers: The team is 13-2-1 since the start of February, when a blowout home loss to Western Michigan acted as a midseason wake-up call, the Denver Post reports.

The other side: Boston is led by 17-year-old Mackin Celebrini, a freshman who is a projected No. 1 NHL draft pick this summer and hockey's next big superstar. Celebrini has 32 goals and 64 points in 37 games and is the reigning Hockey East player of the year.

  • "He's so talented in every aspect of the game," Buium told the Post about his former youth teammate. "I think he's always making a difference out there."

What's next: The winner plays in the national championship at 4pm Saturday, facing the winner of the Boston College-Michigan game.

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