CU, CSU hockey rivalry reignites on Pepsi Center ice

The age-old rivalry between CSU and CU-Boulder takes flight again at the Pepsi Center in Denver for the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown.

Friday night will mark the first time that any CSU team has played CU-Boulder since the football teams played in September for the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

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“The fun thing about the CU vs. CSU game, similar to the football game, is that it can really go either way,” CU-Boulder coach Shawn Sullivan said. “This is the game that we both look forward to playing each year.”

Coming into the game, the Rams and Buffaloes are rather evenly matched. Each school has a winning percentage of .500, the Rams are now 3-3 and the Buffaloes have also evenly split the four games they have played this season.

CSU dug itself into a hole at the beginning of the year, wearing a 1-3 record at one point. The Rams have started to climb their way out, winning three of their last four games.

“This is a way we build on the momentum from the past couple weeks, so if you can’t get excited or motivated— this probably isn’t the sport for you,” CSU assistant coach Ryan Kenney said.

The Ram hockey team is very persistent about the idea of making the most out of their season. They plan to take it all the way to the top, before taking it home.

“We’ve set ourselves a goal of not only going to, but winning nationals, and with that mindset we need to win every game,” Kenney said. “We can’t take any for granted, and we want everybody else to know that we want to be taken seriously.”

As for the battle against their in-state foes, there is no doubt that there is still bad blood between the two schools.

“There’s absolutely that rivalry there between us and CU, just like there always has, but we’ll be sure to put them to rest,” CSU forward Austen Burgh said.

CSU has only lost once in the four years the annual rivalry game at the Pepsi Center has been active and the Ram players believe that it is the student turnout that allows them to make this happen.

“Every year I’ve played this game, we’ve always had more fans present that CU does,” Burgh said. “It’s great seeing one side completely filled with green and gold and half empty seats on the CU side.”

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The Pepsi Center will host the CSU, DU junior varsity game at 3 p.m. and the CSU, CU women’s game at 5 p.m. before the bell for the main event rings at 7:30 p.m.

Friday night will be the first of four times that the CSU and CU men’s teams will meet this season.

“It’s huge for me to go out on top of CU being that this is my last year,” Burgh said. “It’s big to start off strong against them to set the tone for the season so they know that we’re going to beat them every time we play them.”

Club Sports Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at sports@collegian.com.