“Heart-wrenching loss” for Tigers as No. 1 Huskies rally to win in OT

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webColorado College could not hold off the top-ranked Huskies, who scored three unanswered to rally for a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday night in St. Cloud, Minn.

Patrick Newell scored the tying and game-winning goals after he assisted the first goal in the St. Cloud State comeback.

Newell’s shot with 3:51 left in regulation was redirected by defenseman Nick Perbix to make it 4-3. Newell then rifled a shot that CC goalie Alex Leclerc could not squeeze cleanly. The puck trickled in to tie the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game at 4-4 just 56 seconds later.

SCSU kept coming but Leclerc made huge saves over the next few minutes. CC survived a late penalty in regulation but Newell scored with 1:07 left in overtime off a backhanded pass by Robby Jackson to claim the three standings points and remain comfortably atop the league.

“It’s a heart-wrenching loss,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said in a radio interview. “We just have to figure out how to finish off games. We looked to pass instead of shoot. We never tested them after we went ahead 4-2.”

The league-leading Huskies (21-4-3, 13-2-3-2 NCHC) improved to 13-0-1 at home this season. CC led SCSU entering the third period in all four regular-season games this season only to finish 0-3-1. CC tied the Huskies on Friday before falling 3-2 in the 3-on-3 overtime to garner a single standings point.

On Saturday, the Tigers were in control after scoring three times despite being out shot by a 14-4 margin by the Huskies during the second period.

Kristian Blumenschein tied the game at 2-2 only 5:42 into the second period before Grant Cruikshank scored his second power-play goal of the night to make it 3-2 just 126 seconds later. Trevor Gooch then made it 4-2 with 9:41 left in the second period to end starter and LA Kings draft pick David Hrenak’s night (five saves, nine shots, .692 saves percentage).

It was the second night in a row that CC held SCSU scoreless in the second period. Senior backup Jeff Smith did not face a shot the rest of the second period with CC (11-14-4, 5-9-3 NCHC) going without a shot until early in the third.

Sixth-place CC is idle next weekend with seven regular-season games left.

CC’s Cruikshank scored his first man-advantage goal with 37 seconds left in the first period to cut the SCSU lead to 2-1 and set the stage for the second.

The Tigers fell to 12-23-8 all-time (8-10-5 on road) vs. a No. 1 team since the first national poll during the 97-98 season.  CC is now 2-3-1 versus the Huskies when SCSU is ranked No. 1.

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

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