Last weekend’s series between Denver and St. Cloud State saw the Pioneers retake the number one national ranking with a decisive home sweep over the Huskies.
But the biggest fireworks of the series came at the conclusion of the weekend when St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko and Denver head coach Jim Montgomery appeared to get into a verbal sparring match during their post-series handshake.
The two were eventually separated, with Montgomery providing a few parting shots as he walked away.
The series ended on a physical note. St. Cloud State was assessed major penalties in the latter half of the second period and early third period. Husky goalie David Hrenak was run over by a Denver player in the third period. And there were a number of post-whistle scraps, including one that yielded a combined 12 penalty minutes in the game’s final minute. So it was a physical third period, but not necessarily out of the norm for the second game of a hard-fought conference series.
But on Monday night, another theory for the discord emerged, when Cole Guttman, one of St. Cloud State’s top recruits, announced via Instagram that he had signed a National Letter of Intent with Denver instead of the Huskies.
Guttman, a speedy forward from Los Angeles, was a sixth round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Lightning last summer, after averaging a point-per-game in the USHL. He’s off to a strong start this year as well, tallying eight points in his first 10 games. Him apparently spurning St. Cloud State at the 11th hour in favor of Denver is a huge loss for the Huskies, and a major gain for their NCHC rivals.
For his part, Montgomery was in good spirits about the exchange, posting the following on Twitter on Tuesday:
Here’s what happened between Coach Motzko & I️- we agreed to have a Miller Lite & he said because “it’s less filling” and I️ said “it tastes great”, it quickly got heated— Jim Montgomery (@DUCoachMonty) November 14, 2017
The two schools are expected to fight it out at the top of the NCHC standings throughout the year, and are scheduled to meet again in St. Cloud in late-February. Tempers may have cooled some by that time, but this certainly adds another dimension to the budding rivalry between the two.