Pioneer Weekly Release - Individual Sport Updates

HOCKEY (9-5-2, 7-3-2 WCHA)

The Pioneers will return to the road for a two-game series at Bemidji State on Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15. Both games of the Bemidji State series, Friday (6:37 p.m., MT) and Saturday (6:07 p.m., MT) will be available via audio broadcast at and 102.3 FM ESPN (Denver). Denver leads Bemidji State in the all-time series, which began in 1967-68, 10-1-0 and have out-scored the Beavers 55-20 over the previous 11 meetings.  The Pioneers split in their last regular season trip to Bemidji, winning the opener 3-2, before dropping a 2-1 decision in the finale on Dec. 9-10, 2011. The Pioneers enter the week looking to snap a six-game winless streak, its longest since it went 0-9-0 from Nov. 5 - Dec. 3, 1999. This week's two-game road trip to Bemidji State closes out a stretch of four consecutive games on the road for the Pioneers, their longest of the season.  Denver will follow this week's games with a 13-day break before hosting Boston University in the "U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Face Off Classic Game" on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Magness Arena. Denver came away with a point this past weekend in its two-game series at No. 9/9 North Dakota.  On Friday, the Pioneers secured a 2-2 tie on the strength of 31 saves by goaltender Juho Olkinuora (Helsinki, Finland) and goals by Chris Knowlton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Scott Mayfield (St. Louis, Mo.).  North Dakota defeated Denver 6-3 in Saturday's finale, a game that saw the Pioneers score two power play goals in a span of 17 seconds in the second period. Junior David Makowski's (Wildwood, Mo.) four power play goals are tied for the sixth-most nationally. Sophomore Joey LaLeggia (Burnaby, British Columbia) ranks second nationally among all defensemen in points per game with an average of 0.94. Freshman Nolan Zajac (Winnipeg, Manitoba) ranks tied for 19th among all rookies nationally in points per game at 0.71. Olkinuora sits 18th among the nation's leaders in goals against average at 2.09 and 13th in save percentage (.935). As a team, Denver is tied for sixth among the national leaders in scoring offense (3.56), tied for 24th in overall defense (2.62) and 11th in scoring margin (0.81). Denver enters the week 73-31-11 in games played during the month of December during George Gwozdecky's tenure as head coach. The Pioneers are 3-1-1 on the road this season entering this weekend's series at Bemidji State.


The Pioneers welcome Nebraska Omaha to Magness Arena on Saturday at 4 p.m. Fans can listen to the game live on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1510/93.7 FM and watch it live on Pioneer Vision. Live Stats are also available at The Pioneers are 2-0 all-time against the Mavericks with a pair of wins in Omaha in 1943 and 1957. Senior guard Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas) moved into fifth on DU's all-time career steals list with 143 and also grabbed his 400th career rebound in Denver's win over Mercer on Dec. 5. Hallam is just 25 points away from becoming the 32nd Pioneer in the 1,000-point club. Junior forward Chris Udofia (Irving, Texas) is a single block shy of moving into third on DU's all-time career list in blocked shots, and three more blocks would move him into second place. Sophomore forward Royce O'Neale (Killeen, Texas) scored 22 points against Mercer, matching the career high he set a week earlier at Southern Miss. O'Neale is first in the WAC in minutes played (36.6), third in free throw percentage (.875), fifth in both steals (2.1) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.4), seventh in both assists (3.4) and in three-pointers per game (1.7), eighth in scoring (15.1) and 11th in defensive rebounds (4.4). In his first career start, freshman Jalen Love (Wichita, Kan.) recorded a team-high five assists against Mercer.


Denver will look to defeat its third in-state foe of the season on Tuesday evening when it takes on Colorado in Magness Arena. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. MT and will be live on ROOT Sports. Fans can also follow the live stats at The Pioneers then close out the week with a Sunday game against Montana in Missoula. The Pioneers' match-up with the Buffs will be just the eighth time in program history that these two teams are meeting. Colorado holds the edge in the all-time series 5-2, dating back to 1977. Last season, the Buffs took a 71-36 decision in Boulder, their largest margin of victory in the series history. Denver will play Montana for the fifth time in the series that dates back to 2008. The Grizzlies hold a 3-1 advantage over the Pioneers. Last season, Denver outlasted the Grizzlies 53-52 in Magness Arena. Sophomore guard Morgan Van Riper-Rose (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads the Pioneers this season with 124 points (15.5 ppg) and has the best shooting percentage among all starters, sinking 43.5 percent of all her shots. She is also 41.5 percent accurate from beyond the arc.  Senior Emiko Smith (Los Angeles, Calif.) leads the way with 5.75 assists per game, while junior Maiya Michel (Loma Linda, Calif.) is pulling down an average of 7.1 rebounds per game.

No. 20 GYMNASTICS - Preseason

Denver will hold its annual Crimson and Gold Intrasquad at Hamilton Gymnasium on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT. Admission to the event is FREE, and will give you a sneak peak of the 2013 DU gymnastics squad.  The Pioneers return three previous Nationals qualifiers, including two-time qualifier and redshirt senior Brianna Springer (Arvada, Colo.).  DU was ranked No. 20 in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Crimson and Gold will face six teams in the preseason top 25 and eight teams that received votes in that poll, including all five other Western Athletic Conference schools. Denver will look to defend its 2012 WAC Championship on March 23, in Cedar City, Utah. Head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart enters her 15th season with the program, and brings seven freshmen into the 2013 squad, adding depth to the lineup in all four events.


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