DENVER — Denver suspended freshman forward Geoff Paukovich for its NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament game against Bemidji State on Saturday, March 26.
Paukovich served a one-game WCHA-imposed suspension for the March 19 WCHA final for his second-period hit on North Dakota sophomore defenseman Robbie Bina in the WCHA semifinals the previous night. Paukovich was originally given only a two-minute penalty for a hit from behind, until the league reviewed the video.
Bina suffered a broken neck, and has since had surgery to remove one vertabra and fuse two others. He is expected to recover, though his playing future is unknown.
Paukovich will travel with the Pioneers to Amherst, Mass., for the Northeast Regional, but will not play against Bemidji State.
“We have decided to suspend Geoff for one additional game for his hit on Robbie Bina,” said Denver coach George Gwozdecky. “Hitting from behind in our sport is not condoned by the student-athletes or the coaches within the Pioneer hockey program. Geoff understands the seriousness of his actions and accepts full responsibility. Since the incident, Geoff has expressed his remorse and his hopes for Robbie Bina’s full recovery.
“We were thrilled to learn of Robbie’s release from St. Paul Regions Medical Center. His doctors have termed the surgery a success and our prayers and thoughts continue to be with Robbie as he begins his rehabilitation.”