CC bounces back for series split, but inconsistency remains a concern

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webColorado College gave its fans a glimpse of how good the Tigers can play less than 24 hours after a lackluster series-opening loss had some concerned and a few fuming.

To their credit, the Tigers bounced back from a five-goal loss on Friday with a 4-2 victory on Saturday to garner a National Collegiate Hockey Conference series split against rebuilding Miami.

The Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the series illustrated how CC struggles with consistency. The Tigers were hardly recognizable when comparing their performances this weekend.

“It was definitely a tough 24 hours for us,” said forward Troy Conzo, who scored twice in the first period Saturday to help stake CC to a 3-0 lead. “Our details weren’t there and our effort wasn’t there. It needs to be there for 60 minutes. Tonight, we knew what we needed to do and we executed those things.

“Consistency is definitely an issue for us right now. We have to realize we cannot split every weekend and expect to be in a good playoff spot.

“We have everything we need to win against anybody in the country. We have skill, speed and good goaltending. But it is a matter of everyone contributing for 60 minutes. which will give us that consistency.”

They got those contributions on Saturday.

Unlike Miami’s dominance in Friday’s 6-1 laugher, it was Colorado College that seized control by generating an early three-goal lead that ultimately proved decisive. A game-clinching goal by Josiah Slavin late in the third period stymied Miami’s comeback attempt.

“It wasn’t our best performance (Friday) night,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “You cannot take anything for granted. You have to keep telling them that if you play that way, look what you just did. We know we can do it. We just have to get the consistency which is the big thing.”

In the first period, Conzo scored twice for his second and third goals of the season while Chris Wilkie’s hard shot off a Miami defender found the net during the Tigers’ first power play of the night. That was Wilkie’s team-leading 15th goal and came at the midway mark of the opening period to make it 2-0 CC (8-9-1, 3-6-1-0 NCHC).

Up to that point, the RedHawks were unable to get many shots on net with the Tigers out shooting the RedHawks (6-11-3, 3-6-1-1) by a 15-4 margin in the opening frame and 28-11 through two periods.

That was the kind of effort Haviland was looking for.

“Absolutely,” Haviland said. “Everything we talked about that we needed do with time and space was done. It was not an easy (Saturday morning) meeting.”

Miami came back during the second period with a more determined effort and cut the CC lead to 3-1 when John Sladic lifted in a rebound after a shot by Chase Pietzke with 3:24 remaining in the second.

Derek Dascke scored his second of the weekend early in the third period when he rifled a power-play one-timer that beat freshman goalie Matt Vernon (29 saves). Suddenly the result was in doubt and Miami was riding some momentum.

“You give them that a little bit of that (momentum) with their first goal at the end of the second,” Haviland said. ”You knew they were going to come and then we get the too many men (penalty) and they score and it’s a new ballgame.”

Miami was unable to score the equalizer and the Broadmoor World Arena erupted in cheers when Slavin took a pass from Alex Berardinelli and finished on a 2-on-1 breakaway with 6:40 left for the final margin.

“Getting that fourth one maybe put them away,” Haviland said. “You learn from it. I am super proud with how they came back from Friday.”

“It definitely relieved a little pressure but we knew we still had some work to do,” Slavin said. “We played our game for a full 60 minutes and it showed.”

Miami pulled goalie Ryan Larkin (32 saves) with 3:30 left by Vernon stood tall down the stretch.

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

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