‘Unacceptable’ effort drops Tigers into nonconference split with Michigan State

cc vs wmu2Colorado College co-captain Alex Berardinelli does not want to see a repeat of Saturday’s lackluster performance again.

Ever again.

“It’s just not acceptable,” the senior forward said after a 5-1 home loss to Michigan State Saturday night. “Something like that should never happen and will never happen again. That is not the structure we are built on. It’s not the culture we want to have here. It’s unacceptable and it will never happen again.”

But it did as Michigan State scored three early goals in little more than five minutes and never trailed in a contest that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. The Spartans (2-2) easily shook off the lackluster Tigers for the nonconference series split.

“We have to learn that it is a series,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “The team across the hall (that lost 3-1 Friday) is not happy. They came out and played like that. We came out and played like we wanted an easy game.”

“We lost the game in the first five minutes. You chase the game all night and you can’t play like that. We have to prepare better. That goes back on me. (The players) have to take some accountability on that too. We are all in this together.”

The three-goal surge ended the night for freshman goalie Matt Vernon (five saves, 6:48) who came one late power-play goal shy of a shutout in his Tigers debut Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena. On Saturday, Ryan Ruck made 20 saves in relief against the Spartans, who were picked to finish last in the seven-team Big Ten conference.

“We were standing around a lot,” Haviland said. “Give them credit. They were skating and moving and we were watching. That goes back to back to being ready to play, They were ready and we weren’t. We chased the game the whole night.”

The Tigers (2-2) were unable to capitalize on two breakaways in the first period before getting back into the game, at least temporarily, when Ben Copeland scored on the power play with 34 seconds left in the first period.

But CC’s inconsistent effort wasted that momentum and MSU put the Tigers away when Nico Muller scored midway through the second for a 4-1 lead.

The Spartans added another in the third for the final margin. Pat Khodorenko recorded three assists while Spartans goalie John Lethemon made 35 saves.

“I saw some push at times but not enough to where it should be,” Haviland said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We go into league play against the best teams in the country, I believe. We have to figure it out.”

Ice chips

CC’s all-time record is now 47-35-1 against the Spartans. This weekend’s series were the first games between the two programs since a 5-4 Tigers win at the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2010. … Bailey Conger’s two goals Friday doubled his career total. … Chris Wilkie as kept of the CC scoresheet for the first time this season (six points, three goals). … CC opens National Collegiate Hockey Conference play against No. 18 Western Michigan Nov. 1-2 in Colorado Springs.

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

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