By Hayden Cogswell
The Colorado College men’s ice hockey team had mixed fortunes last weekend in its two-game matchup with Michigan State University.
The Tigers had a strong start on Friday night in the first of the two games, quickly racing to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Bailey Conger ’21 struck for the opening goal of the contest 13 minutes in as he deflected a shot by Bryan Yoon ’22 past the Michigan State goalkeeper. Not letting their opponents rest, CC players pushed their advantage as Grant Cruikshank ’22 converted a pass from Chris Wilkie ’20 with 15 seconds remaining in the period.
“The Friday night game went well,” Alex Berardinelli ’20 said. “We played our system and our structure the way that we need to do for us to be successful.”
CC continued playing well for the remainder of the game, keeping Michigan State off the board for the first 40 minutes. In the third period, the Tigers added a third goal as Conger struck for his second of the match, just over a minute into the period. MSU would prevent the shutout a minute following.
Goalkeeper Matt Vernon ’23 had a special game, recording 26 saves in his collegiate debut.
“Vernon played really well against Michigan,” Nick Halloran ’20 said. “He was unlucky to not secure a shutout on the night.”
However, things did not go the Tigers’ way the following night, as MSU bounced back to secure a 5-1 win.
CC started the first game quickly, but the Spartans were faster this time around, jumping to a three-goal lead within the first seven minutes of the contest.
The Tigers were able to get on the board with 35 seconds left in the first period when Ben Copeland ’22 finished off a four-on-three power play, but that was CC’s only cause for celebration in front of the goal. Goals in the second and third periods from the Spartans buried the Tigers.
“Saturday night I believe we thought it was going to be easy,” Berardinelli said. “Collectively, we were not focused at puck drop, and this led to a couple avoidable mistakes that Michigan took advantage of and put us behind early.”
The weekend puts the Tigers at 2-2 overall, but with strong aims still in mind for the future.
“Our goals are pretty much the same: to get into the top 16 nationally and enter conference play on a strong note against Western Michigan,” Halloran said. “Every game is extremely important, especially conference play.”
The Tigers will be home to take on the Broncos of Western Michigan University at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday at Broadmoor World Arena.