Colorado College men’s hockey (7-20-3, 3-14-23, National Collegiate Hockey Conference) went head-to-head with #1-ranked University of Minnesota Duluth (19-5-6, 13-4-3-3 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) last weekend looking for some big wins before the end of their regular season.
It had been six weeks since their last matchup, where the teams went 1-1. UMD only took two out of six possible points in the series. “I don’t think we gave CC enough respect, they were the hungrier team, they deserved to walk out of here with four points,” said UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin at a press conference following the series.
UMD sophomore forward Parker Mackay made his return this weekend, giving the Bulldogs a stronger offense since their last match-up with Tigers.
Despite their best effort, the Tigers were overwhelmed by the nation’s top team at the Broadmoor World Arena. UMD delivered the Tigers a 2-1 loss on Friday night. However, the Tigers showed true resilience Saturday night with a 2-2 tie, until finally succumbing to the Bulldogs in a triple overtime shootout.
Bulldog winger junior Blake Young scored first Friday night, with a wrist shot from outside the left circle that sailed past CC goaltender Alex Leclerc to put UMD on top.
The Tigers answered three minutes later on a power play when first-year Bryce Van Horn shoveled the puck past UMD first-year goalie Hunter Miska following a scramble in front of the net.
The Tigers skated through a scoreless 2nd period. Sophomore Cole McCaskill chance to take the lead was squandered after getting robbed at the net with a brilliant save by Miska.
Early in the third period CC could not get the upper hand on the UMD defense and failed to capitalize on a crucial five-minute power play. With 4:44 to play UMD’s Adam Johnson shot over Leclerc’s left shoulder to score the eventual game-winning goal.
Leclerc finished the game with 27 saves, compared to Miska’s 20. CC was 1-3 on the power-play and the Bulldogs converted on just one of their five power plays.
The Tigers came into the Saturday night match looking for some redemption at the Broadmoor World Arena. The Tigers fought an evenly-matched and physical game but could not find the net through most of the first half. Throughout the game, Colorado College struggled against a Bulldog defensive corps that forced them away from solid scoring chances.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the first 1:47 minutes of play, the first tally coming from senior center Dominic Toninato on a power play and the second on a breakaway shorthanded goal from senior forward Alex Iafallo. The score remained 2-0 Bulldogs until CC senior forward Matt Hansen ripped a shot on the power play that found the back of the net to end the half 2-1.
In the third period, the Tigers pressed the nation’s top-ranked team, matching a season-high of 16 shots on a goal in a period. The Tigers scored the equalizer with 1:58 to go in regulation on sophomore defenseman Cole McCaskill’s blast from the slot.
The 2-2 tie brought the game to a five minute overtime. The Tigers held off a Bulldog power play during the last two minutes to bring the game to a second overtime.
Minnesota Duluth senior defenseman Carson Soucy was called for a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for contact to the head with eight seconds left in the first overtime, which gave the Tigers a four-on-three advantage for all but eight seconds of the second overtime. Despite the man advantage and 10 shots on goal, the Tigers were unable to find the net, bringing the game to a triple overtime shootout.
In the sudden death shootout, Hansen missed his first opportunity and Bulldog senior forward Alex Iafallo beat Leclerc to win the hard-fought contest.
The Tigers’ 39 shots on goal were the second-highest of the season. Leclerc recorded 22 saves out of 24 shots on goal.
Colorado College will host Western Michigan University at the Broadmoor World Arena tonight at 7:37, and tomorrow at 6:07 for the Tigers’ final home games of the season.