He's had his moments of self-doubt this season, and when the University of Denver Pioneers hockey team went 3-4-1 in January while getting outscored 16-22, senior goaltender Adam Berkhoel knew he wasn't playing up to form. But then the team put together a nine-game unbeaten streak that propelled them into the post-season. Berkhoel had turned into a brick wall, astonishing teammates with his athletic play and evincing praise from coach George Gwozdecky. "He'll make saves that, for a lot of people, seem unbelievable," Gwozdecky said. "But for Adam, he does it on a regular basis." A 190-pounder from Woodbury, Minnesota, Berkhoel began his DU career in 2001 as half of the famous "two-headed" goalie (the other head belonged to Wade Dubielewicz) that shut down the top shooters in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Berkhoel started going it alone last season, and upon his shoulders rest the Pioneers' tournament hopes.
He's had his moments of self-doubt this season, and when the University of Denver Pioneers hockey team went 3-4-1 in January while getting outscored 16-22, senior goaltender Adam Berkhoel knew he wasn't playing up to form. But then the team put together a nine-game unbeaten streak that propelled them into the post-season. Berkhoel had turned into a brick wall, astonishing teammates with his athletic play and evincing praise from coach George Gwozdecky. "He'll make saves that, for a lot of people, seem unbelievable," Gwozdecky said. "But for Adam, he does it on a regular basis." A 190-pounder from Woodbury, Minnesota, Berkhoel began his DU career in 2001 as half of the famous "two-headed" goalie (the other head belonged to Wade Dubielewicz) that shut down the top shooters in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Berkhoel started going it alone last season, and upon his shoulders rest the Pioneers' tournament hopes.
When a couple of big-deal basketball schools came calling, Metro State hoops coach Mike Dunlap politely said no and got back to the business of keeping his Roadrunners at the top of the Division II game. Since 1997, Dunlap has won a pair of national championships for the big commuter school on the Auraria campus, and the 2003-04 'Runners finished the regular season with a 25-2 record and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament, earning them another number-one national ranking and a big shot at a third D-2 title. An undersized Alaskan with the will of a bulldog, Dunlap recruits everywhere from Australia to Eastern Europe. He also torments his players with verbal harangues, early-morning practices and motivational ploys ranging from cajolery to outright insult. But there's no one they'd rather play for -- or learn from.
When a couple of big-deal basketball schools came calling, Metro State hoops coach Mike Dunlap politely said no and got back to the business of keeping his Roadrunners at the top of the Division II game. Since 1997, Dunlap has won a pair of national championships for the big commuter school on the Auraria campus, and the 2003-04 'Runners finished the regular season with a 25-2 record and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament, earning them another number-one national ranking and a big shot at a third D-2 title. An undersized Alaskan with the will of a bulldog, Dunlap recruits everywhere from Australia to Eastern Europe. He also torments his players with verbal harangues, early-morning practices and motivational ploys ranging from cajolery to outright insult. But there's no one they'd rather play for -- or learn from.


When Dathan Ritzenhein came to CU two years ago from Michigan, he was one of the most highly touted prospects to arrive at the Boulder campus in any sport. But the first-ever winner of two consecutive Foot Locker cross-country championships was kept out of the running last year with an early stress fracture of his leg. This time around, though, the red-shirt sophomore made up for lost time. In November he ran away with the NCAA Division I cross-country championships, blistering through the 6.2-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile. Bonus points: Ritzenhein was the second Buff in a row to win the race. Last year, senior harrier Jorge Torres finished on top.
When Dathan Ritzenhein came to CU two years ago from Michigan, he was one of the most highly touted prospects to arrive at the Boulder campus in any sport. But the first-ever winner of two consecutive Foot Locker cross-country championships was kept out of the running last year with an early stress fracture of his leg. This time around, though, the red-shirt sophomore made up for lost time. In November he ran away with the NCAA Division I cross-country championships, blistering through the 6.2-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile. Bonus points: Ritzenhein was the second Buff in a row to win the race. Last year, senior harrier Jorge Torres finished on top.


The Falcons may not get the big ink, but this year there was no better Colorado-based team sports story -- that didn't appear in the crime blotter, at least -- than Air Force basketball. Credit coach Joe Scott. First as a player, then as an assistant coach under the masterful Pete Carril, Scott was schooled in the disciplined Princeton University version of controlled, team-centric roundball. In 2000, the first year he arrived in Colorado Springs, the Falcons went 8-21. The next year, they went 9-19, and by 2002-03, the team had improved to 12-16. Even so, this year the Falcons, who'd never finished better than sixth-best in the Mountain West Conference, were the pre-season favorite to finish dead last. Instead, Scott's men -- none of whom is taller than an average NBA guard -- went 22-5, walking away with the MWC title and a top seeding in the conference tournament. They also earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Make no mistake: The Falcons soared.
The Falcons may not get the big ink, but this year there was no better Colorado-based team sports story -- that didn't appear in the crime blotter, at least -- than Air Force basketball. Credit coach Joe Scott. First as a player, then as an assistant coach under the masterful Pete Carril, Scott was schooled in the disciplined Princeton University version of controlled, team-centric roundball. In 2000, the first year he arrived in Colorado Springs, the Falcons went 8-21. The next year, they went 9-19, and by 2002-03, the team had improved to 12-16. Even so, this year the Falcons, who'd never finished better than sixth-best in the Mountain West Conference, were the pre-season favorite to finish dead last. Instead, Scott's men -- none of whom is taller than an average NBA guard -- went 22-5, walking away with the MWC title and a top seeding in the conference tournament. They also earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Make no mistake: The Falcons soared.
All right, so the Avalanche has been in a swoon of late. Even the Zamboni drivers have heard the rumors about coach Tony Granato's departure, and some Avs veterans have questioned their teammates' work ethic as the NHL playoffs draw near. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champions remain a scary power to all of the top teams in the league -- especially if the great center Peter Forsberg can avoid more injury and star free agents Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya get their acts together in time to knock heads with the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks at Cup Crazy time. Don't worry about Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic: These two scoring machines never shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, the smartest executive in hockey, GM Pierre Lacroix, may have a few more late-season tricks up his sleeve. Even amid a shocking slump, the Avs loom as a grave threat to grab up Lord Stanley's funny-looking trophy for the third time in nine years.
All right, so the Avalanche has been in a swoon of late. Even the Zamboni drivers have heard the rumors about coach Tony Granato's departure, and some Avs veterans have questioned their teammates' work ethic as the NHL playoffs draw near. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champions remain a scary power to all of the top teams in the league -- especially if the great center Peter Forsberg can avoid more injury and star free agents Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya get their acts together in time to knock heads with the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks at Cup Crazy time. Don't worry about Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic: These two scoring machines never shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, the smartest executive in hockey, GM Pierre Lacroix, may have a few more late-season tricks up his sleeve. Even amid a shocking slump, the Avs loom as a grave threat to grab up Lord Stanley's funny-looking trophy for the third time in nine years.


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