Tigers focused on power play headed into DU series

CC’s slumping power play may get a much needed jolt by a rejuvenated Jaden Schwartz, who had his first week off in some time, and a simplified approach that may minimize the first unit’s hesitation to pull the trigger.

“We’re going back to basics,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

The team has gone 1-for-16 in its last four games. The Tigers ares til No. 8 in Division I and second in the WCHA (23.1 percent , 25-for-108) overall for the season. CC is  first in league play at 23.8 percent (19-for-80).

“We’ve just hit a bit of a rut,” Owens said.

The talent in the loaded first power-play unit actually hurt things, captain Nick Dineen said.

“We just expected to go out there and score,” Dineen said. “We need to work hard and get the puck on net.”

The team worked on its power play Tuesday and Wednesday on the NHL practice sheet at the World Arena Ice Hall in preparation for Friday’s game at No. 13 Denver. The home-and-home series comes to Colorado Springs on Saturday.

Injuries and the flu bug bit into the team during the bye last week and limited their chances at practicing the power play.

Dineen said the team only had eight forwards and six defensemen (he didn’t mention the goalies) available at one point with the flu and some injuries left over from the Minnesota road series.

Any improvements to the power play will be tested with the return of All-WCHA goalie Sam Brittain for Denver from offseason knee surgery. His return will no doubt boost the Pioneers confidence even if the sophomore isn’t at 100 percent game shape yet, Owens said.

“We are in a good frame of mind right now,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said in his weekly press conference. “We are certainly looking forward to renewing this rivalry series with CC this weekend.”

Expect the rested Tigers to be ready.

“We’ve had an edge this week,” Dineen said. “That’s probably because we’re rested and who we’re playing this weekend.”

CC needs to garner three points this weekend to reclaim the rivalry’s Gold Pan Trophy after Denver claimed it during the 2009-10 season and kept it last year.

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

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