Colorado College Hockey hosted No. 3 University of Minnesota Duluth last weekend, resulting in a split series. The Tigers came out swinging against the Bulldogs on Feb. 1, with dominant performances from key Tigers players to earn a definitive 4 – 1 victory. Goalie Alec Leclerc ’20 proved to be nearly unbreakable, recording 40 saves that night.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the majority of the first period, with scoring chances from forwards Trevor Gooch ’19 and Alex Berardinelli ’20, were thwarted by the Bulldogs goalie. It was forward Trey Bradley ’19 who broke through for the Tigers with only a few minutes remaining in the first period, netting the game’s first goal by slotting the puck in between the keeper’s legs. The Tigers took firm control during the second period thanks to two clutch goals from forward Troy Conzo ’21, putting the Tigers up to a 3 –1 heading into the third period.
Conzo has been on a tear since the New Year, recording four goals and five assists in his last eight games. The Tigers closed out the Bulldogs when a shot from redshirt junior Chris Wilkie ’20 bounced right to the stick of forward Grant Cruickshank ’22, for the easy rebound finish, capping off a dominant 4 – 1 performance against one of the strongest teams in the country.
The second game against the Bulldogs proved to be a challenge, as the Tigers struggled to gain momentum, resulting in a brutal 6 – 0 loss against the defending national champions. Both teams came out strong during the first period, the Tigers poised and fresh off the upset from the night prior. Despite outshooting the Bulldogs throughout the first period, the Tigers struggled to find the back of the net, even after a few power play opportunities.
It was the Bulldogs who broke through in the second period off a power play, resulting in their first of six goals. Duluth quickly capitalized, netting two more goals in an abrupt three-minute span. It was the power plays that really hurt the Tigers during game two; the Bulldogs managed to score on three out of their five opportunities, while the Tigers failed to capitalize off two power plays. The story was the same during the third period. The Bulldogs scored a fourth goal early, then scored twice in the last two minutes of the game, after Grant Cruickshank received a five-minute major penalty.
It was a crushing loss for the Tigers after such a dominant performance the night prior, but their confidence is still high knowing that they’re talented enough to hang with one of the nation’s best squads. The Tigers head to St. Cloud State University next week to battle against the No. 1 team in the country. Let’s go Tigers!