Matt Carle was probably as nervous as a goaltender’s mother while watching Saturday night’s NCAA hockey national championship between DU and Minnesota State on television.
Carle, the legendary University of Denver defenseman and brother of Pioneers head coach David Carle, was forced to cancel his flight to the Frozen Four in Boston because his wife fell ill and he needed to care for the couple’s four children.
So Matt watched his kids in his basement in Minnetonka, Minn., While DU aimed for a record-tying ninth national championship in the building he captured the NCAA title as a freshman in 2004. DU’s first Hobey Baker Award winner (2006) felt relief and overwhelming brotherly pride when the Pioneers rallied for five third-period goals to defeat Minnesota State 5-1 at TD Garden.
“Super proud of him. I love telling his story. I try to do it as much as I can, especially this time of year, ”Matt said of David, who began his coaching career as a DU freshman in 2008 after he was forced to retire from playing because of a serious heart condition.
“It was a great night all around.”
Former DU coach Jim Montgomery was unable to watch the Michigan Pioneers match with an NCAA-best ninth national title. But the assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues said he was getting updates via text from the bench during their 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders.
Montgomery, who led the Pioneers to the 2017 NCAA title in Chicago, hired Carle as a full-time DU assistant in 2014 and recommended him as his successor at age 28 when Montgomery resigned in 2018 to become the head coach of the Dallas Stars.
“For all the reasons I believed in him while we worked together and I watched him grow as a coach, as a recruiter, and as a person, I was so confident that, not only could he take command of the program, but he would keep it at the level of excellence Pioneers fans have come to expect, ”Montgomery said of Carle, who is 86-43-13 in four seasons at the helm. “It’s incredible what he’s done in such a short span. He’s going to end up being the greatest head coach in Pioneer history, possibly, that’s how much I think of him.
“And that’s saying a lot because you got (George) Gwozdecky and (Murray) Armstrong – amazing head coaches. But David is going to kill the record for the quickest to 200 wins and he’s the first to win a national championship this early. It’s pretty amazing. ”
Adrian Veideman was a DU freshman defenseman in 2004 when the program captured its first national title since 1969. The local real estate agent and assistant coach at Valor Christian High School is uniquely proud that DU has now won four NCAA titles since Michigan won its last in 1998.
“It’s super fun,” Veideman said of watching No. 9 unfold on Saturday. “The thing I love most about it is they reference those who came before them. (Carle) has them dialed into a culture of success. That’s just the bottom line. When you got guys at the Frozen Four and they’re saying we want to do this for the guys that came before us and the legacy they created, that’s super profound and that speaks volumes to David and the kind of culture he’s imposing on these guys. . ”
Rod Summers, who played 164 games for DU from 1986-90, leads the DU hockey alumni association. He was among the large Pioneer contingent at TD Garden – his sixth Frozen Four with DU and fourth championship.
Summers did not recognize the country’s highest-scoring team through two periods against the Mavericks when DU only produced eight shots.
“As fans, we’re like, ‘What’s going on? Eight shots on goal? ‘ And then Ryan (Barrow) got the first one and it changed the whole momentum and it was like a totally different team, ”he said. “We kind of steamrolled them from there.
“You really couldn’t stop the train.”