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26 MAR 2022: The University of Denver takes on the Minnesota Deluth at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, CO. Justin Tafoya/Clarkson Creative Photography

The Denver Pioneers take on Michigan on April 7 for the Frozen Four, their 18th appearance in the NCAA semifinals. Before DU fights for its ninth National Championship, here’s a look back at how the Pioneers got here.

Oct. 22 - Nov. 6: Four losses in a row

DU opened the season with sweeps of Arizona State and Air Force before taking on three ranked opponents. Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 6, the Pioneers lost to No. 12 Providence, No. 10 Boston College, and then twice to No. 8 North Dakota. DU, a team that averages 4.28 goals per game, averaged two goals a game during the losing stretch.

Nov. 12 and 13: Rebound with sweep of No. 9 Western Michigan

After the difficult four games, Denver rebounded by sweeping Western Michigan, and igniting its offense with 10 goals over the two contests. Four of the goals came from sophomore forward Carter Savoie, who went on to be the team’s leading goal-getter with 22.

Dec. 10 and 11: Split first series with Minnesota Duluth

Minnesota Duluth turned out to be DU’s most formidable opponent throughout the season. They played six times, with UMD winning three and DU winning three. Their first series reflected this trend, as DU took the first game 5-0. In the second, UMD was able to hold DU’s offense in check, allowing just two goals and scoring six of its own.

Jan. 15 - Feb. 11: Nine game win streak

The Pioneers kicked off a nine game winning streak by sweeping No. 15 Omaha on Jan. 15 and 16. During the stretch, DU recorded four shutouts and topped three ranked opponents: Omaha twice, No. 7 St. Cloud State twice, and No. 6 Minnesota Duluth once.

March 4 and 5: End season with sweep of Colorado College

The Pioneers ended their season with a sweep of Colorado College that earned them their second Penrose Cup in program history, while also securing the No. 1 seed in the NCHC playoffs. The sweep showed off DU’s scoring ability, with 10 goals on the weekend.

March 18: loss to Minnesota Duluth in NCHC semifinals

UMD’s Ryan Fanti had 30 saves in the victory, shutting out DU for the only time this season. The loss stopped DU from winning its 17th conference tournament.

March 24: win over UMass Lowell in regional semis

Despite the loss to UMD, DU still earned an NCAA Tournament bid. The Pioneers scored two third-period goals to defeat UMass Lowell, with Cameron Wright recording the game-winner, and set up a rematch with UMD — their sixth meeting of the season.

March 26: win over Minnesota Duluth to advance to Frozen Four

DU went nearly four periods without scoring on Minnesota Duluth, before Cole Guttman broke through with 2:36 left in the first period. Savoie closed things out in the third, by coming up with a loose puck and finishing it off in the crease with 6:16 left. The win sets up a Frozen Four matchup with Michigan, the only team in DI hockey with more National Championships (nine) than DU (eight).

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