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Denver captain Cole Guttman, in back, races against Colorado College's Patrick Cozzi for the puck in this file photo from February 2021. Following a weekend sweep at Miami of Ohio on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 and Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, Denver jumped ahead in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

Denver has made Magness Arena a fortress this season.

Over the weekend, the Pioneers showed they can be road warriors, too.

The Pioneers (18-5-0, 11-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) entered the weekend No. 5 in both polls. But after a come-from-behind overtime win on Friday and a 4-2 solid victory Saturday, DU jumped in both polls.

Following a weekend sweep at Miami of Ohio, the Pioneers climbed to No. 4 in the USCHO.com rankings and No. 3 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

As Miami (4-20-2, 1-14-1) and DU headed into the third period Saturday tied at 2, the Pioneers upped the intensity, pouring on 15 shots while holding Miami to just four over the final 20 minutes.

That came a night after the Pioneers found themselves trailing 4-2 23 seconds into the third period. But senior captain Cole Guttman scored twice less than three minutes apart to tie the game, then dished the primary assist on Mike Benning’s game-winner in OT.

DU upped its unbeaten streak to eight games (8-0-1) and continued to hold on to first place in the conference with 32 points. North Dakota, which swept the Pioneers in November, is in second with 29 points.

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After going 1-4 in their first five road games, the Pioneers have rebounded by winning their last three on the road, a win over Colorado College starting the streak. Since getting swept at North Dakota the first weekend of November, the Pioneers are 6-1 on the road.

The way Denver is playing, the coaching staff can focus on getting the players to hone in on the game plan.

“You know, from a staff standpoint, it's always about the next opportunity to develop our game and our team games, so that by the end of the season we're dialed into our game plan each and every night,” Pioneers assistant coach Dallas Ferguson said after DU’s home win against Colorado College Jan. 21.

Next up, the Pioneers host No. 7 St. Cloud State at Magness Arena Friday and Saturday.

In the corners

  • Freshman defenseman Sean Behrens continues to shine. The second-round pick (61st overall) of the Colorado Avalanche in last year’s NHL draft was named the NCHC Defenseman of the Week. Behrens had a goal and two assists and blocked five shots in the weekend series against Miami. Behrens, who leads all Pioneers defensemen with 21 points (3 goals, 18 assists), is on a career-high six-game points streak. It was the third time this season Behrens earned the award, including picking it up two weeks ago (Jan. 17).
  • Magnus Chrona might have seen his shutout streak end at 198:10, but the Pioneers junior goalie notched another two wins, giving him 17 on the season. His stellar season has been noticed nationally. Last week he was named to the watch list for the Mike Richter Award, given to the Division I top goaltender. Chrona is in the top 10 nationally in wins, shutouts and goals-against average.