Written by Daniel Krueger
Photo above: Sophomore goaltender Jacob Nehama makes one of his 31 saves in a win against the University of Nebraska Omaha. Photo courtesy of Mark Kuhlmann/CC Athletics.
Coming off a thrilling 4-3 victory over New Hampshire, the Colorado College men’s hockey team traveled to Baxter Arena in Omaha, Neb. to face NCHC rival, University of Nebraska Omaha. The game was a good chance for the Tigers to gain some early season points in what is widely regarded as the best conference in the country, the NCHC.
Just 56 seconds into the first period, Nebraska Omaha’s Fredrik Olofsson, the brother of former CC defenseman Gustav Olofsson, earned a two-minute minor penalty for tripping. This power play opportunity was all sophomore forward Mason Bergh needed to find the back of the net, allowing CC to lead 1-0 just 1:37 into the game. In the scoring play, junior defenseman Teemu Kivihalme ripped a shot from the point that was blocked by an Omaha player. After the block, the puck dropped perfectly to Bergh who took advantage of the opening and rifled the shot into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later first-year forward Kade Kehoe doubled the lead when he scored the first goal of his young CC career.
On the other side of the ice, sophomore goaltender Jacob Nehama was fantastic in his first appearance of the season. He only allowed one goal and made 31 saves.
According to Head Coach Mike Haviland, the ability to limit Omaha’s power play chances was a major key to the CC victory.
“They have talented players on the power play,” Haviland said. “We stayed disciplined and limited their chances. It was nice to see a hard fought game with not many penalties.”
The game on Saturday was very different, to say the least. The match was marred with penalties and bad defense. The final score was 4-6 in favor of Nebraska Omaha, who improved to 4-3-1, 1-1-0-0 NCHC. The CC men dropped to 3-5-0, 1-1-0-0 NCHC. The game was somewhat of a flipping of roles in the first 10 minutes. Just as CC dominated Nebraska Omaha in game one, the Mavericks dominated the Tigers in the early going of game two. The Mavericks put two power play goals on the board early and, at the 9:13 mark of the first period, the Tigers found themselves two goals in the hole. Midway through the second, in a span of 4:38, Nebraska Omaha put three goals in the Tiger net and the game was essentially over with a 1-5 score line.
“We made some mistakes in the second period and all of a sudden it’s 5-1,” Haviland said. “We can’t take that many penalties against a very potent power play.”
Despite the loss, there are certainly positives to take away from game two. Both Bergh and senior forward Luc Gerdes scored two goals. On the whole, the Tigers took three very valuable points away from Omaha and should be a confident bunch as they head into this weekend’s home stand against St. Cloud State. The puck drops at 7:37 p.m. tonight, and at 7:07 tomorrow night at the Broadmoor World Arena.