Penalties, uneven performance helps Gophers garner series split at CC

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webMinnesota took advantage of penalty-prone Colorado College to rally for a 4-3 road win.

The Saturday night victory, which saw the Tigers squander 2-0 and 3-1 leads, gave the Gophers a nonconference road series split.

“We have to figure out a way to win when we have them on the ropes,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “We have to finish them off. We can’t wait until February to figure that out.”

UM’s Blake McLaughlin popped open with 10:07 left in the third period for the go-ahead goal against Tigers goalie Ryan Ruck (32 saves) and the visitors’ first lead of the contest. The score came 63 seconds after CC was unable to convert during a 5-minute power play.

That major for contact to the head on UM’s Sammy Walker gave the Tigers the chance they needed to regain the lead after Minnesota went 2 for 5 on the man advantage during the second period to tie the game at 3-3.

But CC never got on track during the long power play with the Gophers adjusting to the Tigers’ tendency to look for Chris Wilkie and his NHL-caliber shot.

In the second, three consecutive CC penalties, including one to end a Tigers power play early, gave the UM skilled players the room they needed to convert. Walker batted in a power-play rebound and then assisted a Matt Staudacher goal just 28 seconds later to tie the game at 3-3 with 2:27 left in the second period.

“It took us out of our rhythm,” Haviland said. “Whether they were good calls or not, they were called. You cannot take five or six penalties (a period) and expect to win a game. It’s just not going to happen.”

The Gophers out shot CC by a 8-0 margin over the final 3:04 of the second to set the tone.

“We didn’t have a pushback for a little bit and that was addressed after the game with them,” Haviland said.

The Tigers’ uneven performance throughout cost CC.

“We have to be more disciplined,” said graduate transfer Andrew Gaus, who opened the scoring 2:01 into the game at the Broadmoor World Arena. “Some of those calls were us being lazy and using our sticks too much. We had spurts here and there but overall we did not play a complete game and it costs us.”

Ice chips

CC is now 40-30-2 all-time in regular-season openers, including 41-14-1 at home. … Halloran’s three assists Friday tied a career high. He added two helpers on Saturday. …. The Tigers have a bye week before resuming nonconference play against Michigan State at home Oct. 25-26. … The CC fan trivia participants went 1-1 on the weekend.

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

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