CC freshmen, top line spark Tigers in nonconference victory over New Hampshire

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File photo from 2017-18 season.

Colorado College’s top line and freshmen stepped forward in a big way Saturday night to help the Tigers hold off New Hampshire, 4-3, and extend their unbeaten streak to four nonconference games.

Freshmen Ty Pochipinski and Bryan Yoon both scored their first NCAA goals while Erik Middendorf recorded his first college assist. Pochipinski’s score, assisted by Middendorf, put CC ahead for good and Yoon’s late first-period tally that made it 4-2, proved to be the eventual game-winner after an empty-net goal for the Wildcats late in the third.

“We’re bringing in guys who have played a high level in juniors and been successful,” coach Mike Haviland said. “They have been real good — the whole class. We have a couple good ones who aren’t playing which is a good sign for (the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program).”

Pochipinski’s goal came on his first shot on his second shift. His parents, including former Tigers player Trevor Pochipinski, and grandparents were on hand for the milestone.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Ty said.

The Tigers enter their first bye week with a 4-1-1 record because they shook off the disappointment of sliding into a 3-3 tie Friday night and responded with a fast start on Saturday. That start was sparked by the play of the top line, paced by Trey Bradley (one goal, two assists), Nick Halloran (one goal, one assist) and Mason Bergh (two assists).

CC never trailed thanks to Bradley’s opening goal 103 seconds into the contest.

“It was nice to see them get going a little bit there,” Haviland said. “There’s a lot of pressure on them and they are putting a lot of pressure on themselves. Teams are checking them. They’re not an unknown group now. That’s the key. They are going to have to work even harder now because people are going to go hard against them and check them. They have been pressing a little too hard and worrying about it, so it was nice to see (the production).”

CC played better overall defense on Saturday and avoided the lapses that allowed UNH to answer the Tigers’ goals on Friday.

Instead the 2,984 fans on hand saw Halloran and his familiar quick release stake the hosts to a 3-1 lead midway through the first period. The goal was set up by Bergh winning a battle for a loose puck the boards, from where he passed to Bradley, who set up Halloran.

CC’s penalty kill was sound but struggles on the power play, especially during the second period, helped the Wildcats (0-3-1) stay in the contest.

“(The power play) could have won us the game there but it was a little lackluster,” Haviland said. “That is something we certainly need to work on.”

About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with about 25 years of professional experience.

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