Tiger seniors hope to retain Gold Pan, mimic last year’s playoff surge

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Forward Alex Berardinelli has a simple, albeit challenging goal going into the final weekend of the regular season.

“We don’t want to be the senior class that gives the Gold Pan (Trophy) back to Denver,” Berardinelli said. “We have to focus on what we need to do to win the series this weekend and get the ball rolling going into the playoffs.”

He and his fellow seniors play their final home game on Friday night against No. 6 Denver (20-9-5). The last-place Tigers (11-19-2) must sweep the Pioneers this weekend to forge a season series tie and retain the rivalry hardware. DU swept CC earlier this season. The Tigers are 3-3 in their last six games.

CC coach Mike Haviland is hoping that a home-and-home sweep this weekend would provide the spark last year’s Tigers experienced when they took back the trophy by sweeping the Pioneers. They used that renewed confidence to upend Western Michigan and win the program’s first National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff series.

“The last two years 17 and 15 wins for them after their tough start their freshmen year but they’ve been part of us climbing back to where we want to go,” Haviland said. “They’re certainly not done yet. You have a chance to retain that Gold Pan which means an awful lot to everyone; yourself, your fans, your community. So certainly, they know how important this all really is.”

It all starts with Senior Night at the Broadmoor World Arena. Denver already has much to play for this weekend with home playoff ice on the line. The teams close out the regular season on CBS Sports Network. Friday’s result determines the stakes for the DU Senior Night on Saturday.

Fans are encouraged to get into their seats earlier than usual on Friday.  The Tigers expected to be honored include Kristian Blumenschein, who may return to action this weekend, Berardinelli, Nick Halloran, Cole Josefchak, Alex Pernitsky, and leading scorer Chris Wilke. Graduate students Andrew Gaus and Ryan Ruck will also be recognized.

“It’s crazy,” Berardinelli said. “The last four years flew by. But right now, what surrounds that is more important to me and to this team. The focus is on the Gold Pan, DU and the series.”

About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with about 25 years of professional experience.

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