CC ekes out 300th win for coach Owens (video)

Colorado College coach Scott Owens 300th win leading his alma mater proved more difficult than most expected with 15 minutes left in the game.

Three unforced Colorado College turnovers led to three unassisted Clarkson goals. Two in the third period would spark the visiting Golden Knights before the Tigers would hold on for a 5-4 win Friday night at World Arena.

Clarkson scored three unanswered goals in the third after junior Archie Skalbeck scored the eventual game-winner with 17:57 left in the third for a 5-1 lead.

“It was an ugly win, but winning is winning,” senior Rylan Schwartz said.

An unforced turnover led to a score by Clarkson’s Pat Megannetty less than two minutes later. The Kings (0-1) were sparked by the gimme and scored less than three minutes later to make it 5-3. Simon Bessette banged in a loose puck past CC junior goalie Josh Thorimbert with 12:15 remaining to make it 5-3.

“We just made some bad turnovers and they converted,” Owens said. “They were a good hockey team for the final 30 minutes. It was a much tighter game than it needed to be.”

Clarkson’s Ben Sexton, the Knights’ top returning scorer, scored with 2:54 left for the final margin and to put the outcome of the nonconference game in doubt.

“Now that gives them life (Saturday night),” Schwartz said. “We will have to learn from this.”

One thing CC fans learned was that this year’s penalty kill has the ability to score, especially with Schwartz on the ice.

Just when Clarkson had a chance to seize control with a five-minute power play, Colorado College’s penalty kill erupted for shorthanded goals only 2:12 apart to grab the momentum right back.

Schwartz showed off some pretty puckhandling, weaving around two Knight defenders to send a crossing pass to Jeff Collett by the far post. The Calgary junior beat Clarkson goalie Cody Rosen high stick side for a 2-1 lead.

The two were not done. Collett, one of the new faces on the Tigers penalty kill this season, collected the loose puck in the neutral zone and skated into the Knights’ end. Schwartz was ready for a one-timer and Collett’s pass across the zone set up a wicked shot that beat Rosen high stick side as he turned to face the center from Saskatchewan.

“(Senior goalie Joe) Howe said he looked weak upstairs,” Schwartz said.

The two-goal splurge came after Clarkson had tied the game at 1-1 when an unforced CC turnover landed right on Jarrett Burton’s stick. He scored moments later and a five-minute checking from behind call on CC senior Andrew Hamburg looked to have Clarkson on the verge of taking a lead.

“They are going to call that especially early in the season,” Owens said. “We will be discussing it further in tomorrow’s meetings.”

CC added to its two-goal lead a few minutes after the productive penalty kill when sophomore Charlie Taft used a long pass from junior Eamonn McDermott to split the Clarkson defense and score his first goal as a Tiger. It was the sophomore class’ first goal after going scoreless during the 2011-12 season.

Skalbeck matched his scoring total (1g-4a-5) from last season when he lifted a backhander past Rosen’s glove with 17:57 left in the third for a 5-1 command. Rosen would leave later with an undetermined  injury, possibly a knee.

Skalbeck’s goal was big as the Tigers hope to develop more secondary scoring. That got a boost with senior William Rapuzzi scoring the opening goal off a Schwartz assist.

“That line was dynamite for the first 10 minutes,” Owens said. “A big part of the story is the secondary scoring we got. That was really big for us. It is really important for the guys that scored one or three goals last season to get a few early. In any sport, confidence is a big part of the game.”

The Tigers came out flying but Clarkson withstood the early storm. The Golden Knights almost took the lead when Allan McPherson’s shot clanged off the post behind Thorimbert with 15:24 left in the opening period.

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

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