Missed chances prove costly as Colorado College falls short in bid for home sweep of No. 20 Miami

cc full rinkColorado College missed out on its opportunities to complete a home sweep and No. 20 Miami took advantage when Casey Gilling scored with 2:42 left in overtime to give the RedHawks a 3-2 victory.

The power-play goal was the first allowed this weekend by the Tigers (5-6-1, 1-5 NCHC). It spoiled a strong final 40 minutes of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game for CC following a poor first period that saw Miami pull ahead 2-0.

The Tigers squandered their best chance to win it when they drew a power play with 1:50 left in regulation. But CC was unable to find openings in the RedHawks penalty kill, led by junior Ryan Larkin’s 34 saves, and the game went to OT, where Miami converted on its chance.

“I don’t know if (the CC power play) was tentative,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “We should have shot more to loosen it up a bit. We did a good job most of the game with that. But we had a chance to win the game in the last two minutes there. We had our chance and we didn’t capitalize.”

CC got the spark it so desperately needed when senior captain Mason Bergh batted in a loose puck for a shorthanded goal early in the second period.

The play developed when defenseman Cole McCaskill and Bergh entered the Miami zone after a RedHawks turnover and found themselves with a surprising amount of time and space in which to work. A shot was deflected and the puck skipped along the ice toward Larkin, who was unable to cover the rubber. The puck slid to Larkin’s left and Bergh stepped forward for his second goal of the season and second in as many nights.

Bergh’s roll continued when he scored on a hard shot that rattled around the top of the cage for a power-play goal that tied the game at 2-2 with 3:49 remaining in the second. Bergh recorded three of CC’s four goals this weekend.

“He was outstanding,” Haviland said. “Hopefully he is back to where he was and that gives him the confidence. I thought he could have had a couple more goals as well. That is a great sign for us.”

The tying goal came during a 5-on-3 when two Miami players were sent to the penalty box at the same time. Even with the goal, CC was unable to pull ahead with the remaining time or during another power play only 19 seconds later.

Miami dominated the first period and struck first when defenseman River Rymsha ripped a hard slap shot from the left point that found its way between Tigers goalie Alex Leclerc’s pads with 5:25 left. It started a strong finish to the opening period by the visitors (9-5, 3-3 NCHC).

MU defenseman Derek Daschke backhanded in a rebound as the RedHawks surrounded the CC net for a 2-0 lead with 1:04 remaining.

Fortunately for CC, the second period started in about 20 minutes. Unfortunately for the Tigers and most of the 3,244 fans at The Broadmoor World Arena, OT was about an hour later as well.

Leclerc, Middendorf lead Colorado College to league home victory over No. 20 Miami

CC Hockey vs Wisconsin

Colorado College vs Wisconsin, Broadmoor World Arena, Nov. 25, 2016

A strong performance by junior goalie Alex Leclerc and an opportunistic goal for Erik Middendorf propelled Colorado College to its first league victory of the season with a 2-1 home win over No. 20 Miami.

Leclerc made 29 saves and pumped his left arm in triumph as the buzzer sounded after the last Miami shot sailed wide before 3,346 fans at the Broadmoor World Arena on Friday.  He led the CC penalty kill that survived an extended 5-on-3 in the first period and another in the third.

“He gives you an honest effort and a chance to win every night,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “That’s all you can ask of a goalie. He made a lot of big saves for us.”

Both goalies performed well in an entertaining National Collegiate Hockey Conference game loaded with scoring chances.

It was a lucky break that led to the game-winner when Miami center Casey Gilling’s stick snapped while attempting a pass in the RedHawks zone. That allowed CC winger Alex Berardinelli to corral the loose puck and send a crossing pass to Middendorf for the one-timer with 4:09 left in the second period. A frustrated Gilling was left clutching his helmet in regret immediately following the goal.

The score negated a strong performance by the RedHawks (8-5, 2-3 NCHC) in the second period with Miami swarming the CC net early, including a 90-second sequence when Leclerc made three saves (two without any stick, one with Trevor Gooch’s lumber) and Gooch hit the ice for two shot blocks.

Miami’s Karch Bachman ended Leclerc’s shutout bid when he ripped a rising shot that went in under the crossbar with 11:56 left in the second.  It was an even game the rest of the way, decided by that opportunistic Tigers tally for Middendorf’s first college game-winner.

Tigers senior captain Mason Bergh broke through for his first goal this season when he fired a hard-angle shot during a delayed penalty on the RedHawks with 12:15 left in the opening period. The score against junior Ryan Larkin (29 saves) came after three quality scoring chances for the Minnesota native in the opening seven minutes.

“It was great,” Haviland said. “ That was one of (the Bradley-Bergh-Halloran line’s) best games this year. Hopefully it is good things to come if they get going.”

“Going in I was saying that I was going to throw everything on net,” Bergh said. “It’s good to get the monkey off the back but it’s all about the wins. It will be a big game (at 6 p.m. Saturday).

CC survived a scare when two penalties in 22 seconds turned a Tigers man advantage into a 4-on-3 power play for the RedHawks. Leclerc made a stop on a wide-open Derek Daschke with 1:49 left in the period to secure the 1-0 lead heading into first intermission. CC  (5-5-1, 1-4 NCHC) held Miami to only two shots during another RedHawks 5-on-3 in the third.

“The (penalty kill) was huge,” Haviland said. “It starts in the cage but we did a great job getting into lanes. Blocking shots when we needed it. We got the clears — 5 on 3, 4 on 3 sometimes don’t go your way but they did tonight.”