Colorado College Tigers cannot match Minnesota-Duluth’s play in decisive second, fall in series-clinching rout

cc vs wmu2Fifth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth showed why it’s the two-time defending NCAA champions with a 6-1 rout of last-place Colorado College Saturday night.

The Bulldogs dominated the second period, potting four goals, including the game-winner just 59 seconds into the middle frame.

This weekend’s series sweep mirrored the one in Duluth in November — a close game won by the Bulldogs on Friday (4-3) followed by a rout on Saturday (5-0).

“We talked about that (Saturday) morning,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said, referring to the team’s morning meetings. “This team across the hall elevates their game. You need to elevate our game and I think we did for the first 20 (minutes). But the game is 60.”

It’s a familiar pattern for the Tigers against the National Collegiate Hockey Conference powerhouse.

“In the last couple years against these guys we are really good against them on Fridays and on Saturdays they go to another level,” Haviland said. “We need to find that level. That’s the reason they’re two-time defending champs. They know how to go to that level and keep pushing you.”

The stats show it. With the win, Minnesota-Duluth improved to 91-2-3 (18-1 this season) since March 13, 2015 when taking a lead into the third period.

One of the few Colorado College highlights was when the Tigers spoiled UMD goalie Hunter Shepard’s shutout bid. A hard shot by Grant Cruikshank forced its way under the senior’s right arm and landed behind him. CC senior Nick Halloran tapped in his 11th of the season to make it 5-1 midway through the third. That excited the home crowd, but UMD scored about a minute later for the final margin.

Vernon stood tall against several quality scoring chances for the Bulldogs, making 11 of his 15 saves and allowing just the opening goal late in the closely-contested first period.

But the second was all Bulldogs (20-10-2, 15-5-2-0 NCHC).

An inauspicious start put UMD ahead 2-0 when Nick Swaney lifted in a wraparound attempt over Vernon’s left leg pad after seemingly surprising the freshman netminder. The tally came just 59 seconds into the middle frame.

That goal deflated the Tigers, who could not match UMD’s intensity and skill the rest of the second.

“The second goal is the one that really took the wind out of our sails,” Haviland said. “Verny (Vernon) needs to make that save. From there, they get all the confidence and we were on our heels. I didn’t see us with much bite there in the second. There were a couple easy goals our guys could have prevented, not meaning our goalie.”

A prime example came less than five minutes later when Luke Lohei split two flat-footed CC defenders and lifted the puck over Vernon’s shoulder by the near post. That ended Vernon’s night as Haviland tried to jump start the Tigers (11-19-2, 4-16-2-1) by putting in Ryan Ruck (23 saves).

But Ruck was rusty, having not played since Jan. 10 and not practiced much either.

UMD added two goals about four minutes apart. Noah Cates scored off a breakaway set up by a long pass by Scott Perunovich (31 assists) with 6:35 left. Quinn Olson and Cates then played back-and-forth with Olson burying the chance with 2:39 left for a 5-0 advantage.

CC almost got the break the Broadmoor World Arena crowd (3,043 announced) desired. When his penalty expired, Jack Gates jumped out of the box, but he over skated the pass and was unable to get off a quality shot during the final seconds of the period.  That summed up the second for CC.

Looking ahead to next weekend, postseason

Miami’s sweep of Omaha (3-0, 4-0) relegated CC to last place in the eight-team NCHC and set up an all-but-assured trip to top-ranked North Dakota for the first round of the playoffs on March 13-15.

CC plays No. 6 Denver in a home-and-home series next weekend with the Tigers needing a sweep to retain the Gold Pan Trophy. DU downed St. Cloud State 5-2 on Saturday to garner a road series split and keep its sights on garnering home playoff ice.

Ruck performed well at times, prompting Haviland to keep the door open on the transfer starting on Friday.

“We’ll reevaluate on Monday, but I certainly will think about it,” Haviland said.

First Leap Day loss

The Tigers are now 3-1-1 on Feb. 29th starting with a 5-5 tie against Michigan State in 1964. CC later won at Denver, 4-2, in 1980, at UMD, 5-1, in 1992 and downed visiting Minnesota State, 5-2, in 2008.


Cruikshank hat trick lifts Tigers to outdoor game victory over Air Force

200217_F_XS730_1003Colorado College sophomore Grant Cruikshank will always remember the Faceoff at Falcon Stadium outdoor college hockey game.

He has three good reasons. The Wisconsin native recorded his first NCAA hat trick, including the victory-clinching empty-net goal with about 37 seconds left, to lift the Tigers past Air Force, 4-2, before 7,178 hardy fans on a cold Monday night.

“It was a lot of fun,” Cruikshank said. “The experience of playing outdoors at Air Force was the biggest memory for me. To walk away with a win is icing on the cake. I grew up playing on ponds and lakes my whole life so I knew it wasn’t going to pretty. It would be a greasy game with pucks going over sticks. It was just a very cool experience.”

An experience all the better with a nonconference sweep for the Tigers (10-16-2), who resume National Collegiate Hockey Conference play at Omaha this weekend. Air Force fell to 8-17-5.

Tigers coach Mike Haviland was smiling broadly before and after the game.

“It just doesn’t happen often and may not happen (again) if they play 10, 15 years after,” he said. “I was certainly excited. It brings you back to being a kid. It was cold, it had snow flurries, it had everything. This is something that will last a lifetime.”

The Falcons knew they would eventually look back on the game more fondly.

“I have been on a couple NCAA Final Eight teams and this is definitely up there,” senior Matt Pulver said. “It’s certainly something I will never forget.”

The teams gathered at center ice to salute the fans, who stuck around to the end as the temperature dipped to 22 degrees by game’s end. Many of the former teammates and friends took pictures together.

“They’ll be happy to have those photos someday,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “It was the classy thing to do by both programs. This was a big night for Air Force, for Colorado College and Colorado Springs.”

There was also an entertaining game that wasn’t decided until the moments.

CC pulled ahead early in the third period on Chris Wilkie’s 20th goal of the season, only to see Air Force answer back just 98 seconds later on a goal for defenseman Luke Rowe. That left the game at 3-2 with 15:01 left in the third and set up the exciting finish.

Both second-period goals came off rebounds when Air Force’s Brandon Koch cut the CC lead to 2-1 with 34.5 seconds left in the second period. Koch batted in the loose puck after a hard shot by Trevor Stone bounced out in front during the Falcons’ third power play.

Colorado College had taken a 2-0 lead by Cruikshank batted in his own rebound on a short-side breakaway less than eight minutes earlier for his second goal of the night and 10th this season. Bryan Yoon picked up his second assist of the game.

“We played a real good second period,” Haviland said. “We started to get our groove a little bit, hang onto the puck down low. I think that is when we really started to settle into the game. We found a way to get the empty-netter. It was a good road win for us. Hopefully (the Tigers are) going in the right direction now.”

Colorado College opened the scoring when Cruikshank redirected a pass to the front by Yoon with 6:42 left in the first. The power-play tally came 30 seconds into the man advantage.

“I don’t know if that was just roommate chemistry but he is a great passer,” Cruikshank said.

CC never trailed this holiday weekend, a troublesome problem for the Falcons, who much like CC are trying to play well and become a dangerous playoff opponent.

“It’s been that way all year,” Pulver said. “Whenever we get punched in the gut, we respond. We need to be the ones that punches first.”

“Pulvs is right,” Serratore said. “You can’t chase the scoreboard. That was a key for us this weekend; getting the first goal but CC wouldn’t allow that. CC, and this is no dig at our boys, was the better team this weekend. That’s a well-coached team that will be a team no one wants to face when their playoffs begin. I don’t care where they finish in the standings.”

Both teams played back a bit to start the game, with both getting used to the unusual lighting, different boards and unusually quiet atmosphere with fans so far removed from the ice.

“After the first couple minutes we settled in and started to grind them out, play to our strengths and kind of took over the game,” Wilkie said. “After a while we realized it was just a hockey game. You tune out the rest of the things after you get the Oohs and Aahs out of your system like Havi said to us all week.”

Ice chips

It was the first outdoor college game played at the service academy. It was also the highest outdoor game at 6,621 feet. … The ice held up well, especially as the temperature dropped after sunset. …  In its 10 victories this season, the Tigers have allowed just 19 goals. CC has given up 80 in the other 18 games (0-16-2). … CC now holds a 63-13-2 record against the Falcons. … The Tigers retained the Pikes Peak Trophy on Friday with a 6-2 home win. The two schools established the rivalry hardware in 2013 in honor of John Matchefts, a former head coach at both schools. … About 400 attended the Robson Arena ceremonial groundbreaking on Saturday. … Wilkie’s 20 goals ties him with UMass’ John Leonard for second in Division 1, and behind NCAA leader Griffin Loughran (21) of Northern Michigan.

Troy Terry sparks Pioneers past Tigers to force decisive Game 3 Sunday night

du vs ccDENVER — A career-high 46 saves for Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc were not enough as No. 4 Denver star Troy Terry led the Pioneers to a  3-2 come-from-behind win

“He was great again,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “He gave us a chance and that’s all you ask for your goalie to do. He has been outstanding.”

The victory forced a decisive Game 3 at 6:05 Sunday night at Magness Arena in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference quarterfinals series.

Denver battled back with its biggest star shining for two timely goals. Troy Terry was credited for the tying goal after the referees ruled the puck went in off a CC player’s stick after three-straight short-range shots by 19-9-8 Denver were blocked or turned away.

The goal with 17:43 left knotted the score at 2-2. Terry later scored with 5:31 remaining for his second of the night and the game-winner.

Denver found more open ice as the 15-16-5 Tigers tired. It showed on Terry’s tally with him able to lead a solo rush into the CC zone. He cut between defenders and fired a rising shot that beat Leclerc high stick side for the final margin.

Haviland was not going to use fatigue as an excuse so much as give credit to Terry’s considerable NHL-ready talent.

“The best player in college hockey showed up tonight,” Haviland said. “Simple as that. He makes the play off the rush there. He can do that to you. He is dangerous.”

CC was in position to win its first NCHC playoff series after Tigers defenseman Kristian Blumenschein waited and then fired, beating Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet as traffic crossed in front of the Pioneers senior for the go-ahead goal with 2:20 left in the second period. The power-play tally, CC’s second in the series, put the visitors ahead 2-1.

“There was desperation on both sides,” Haviland said. “There has to be. We need more desperation for me, but it was a good hockey game. There were a lot of ups and downs. It was a tough way (to lose).”

CC struck first when Trey Bradley forced a turnover by Ian Mitchell near the Tigers blue line. Bradley collected the loose puck in neutral ice after Mitchell fell and then cut across the slot, beating Jaillet with a soft backhander behind him after the Pioneers netminder went down to stop a fake on the forehand.

The unassisted shorthanded tally with 3:19 left made it 1-0. It was the Tigers’ second shorty of the season.

Things got more physical with Denver drawing a 5-minute major on Nick Halloran, who cross-checked Adam Plant in the helmet with 2:15 left. A flurry of penalties were called during the ensuing scuffle and set up Denver for  an extended power play to end the first and start the second.

That drew a chorus of boos and got the Magness Arena crowd into the game. They erupted when Henrik Borgstrom scored  2:06 into the second. He rifled a power-play shot into the upper corner against a screened Leclerc to make it 1-1 and end the CC sophomore’s shutout streak vs. DU at 150 minutes, 34 seconds, which included two straight wins.

That Borgstrom goal was a product of a more sustained effort by the Pioneers to get bodies on front of Leclerc, making his life more difficult over the final two periods. Even then, Leclerc was almost enough for CC to pull off a series sweep before Terry took the game over.

“There was a lot of emotion in the game and I liked the way we played,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “We played a team game. I liked how hard we were and how resilient we were.”

halloran road unis

Tigers knock off No. 2 Denver, end 17-game winless streak against Pioneers

CC Hockey vs WisconsinColorado College bounced back from an embarrassing home loss to end a 17-game winless streak against No. 2 Denver behind a 40-save shutout by sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc at Magness Arena on Saturday.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Leclerc said on 1240 AM. “We felt we let our fans and teammates down (in a 5-1 Friday loss) and we needed to bounce back. Guys were sacrificing their bodies to block shots (19) and make my life easier even though I am the one with the equipment.”

“We told ourselves that we needed to win against them,” he added. “We only had one thing on our minds and that was to come out of here with a win. We need to savor this moment of success and take that into practice and next weekend (against No. 13 Omaha).”

The win in Denver pushed CC (13-13-4, 7-10-3-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) into sixth place ahead of Omaha (15-14-1, 8-12-0) and only two points behind No. 15 and fifth-place Western Michigan (14-14-2, 9-10-1).

Tonight really helped us put ourselves in position to get home ice,” coach Mike Haviland said.

Colorado College played better as the game went on to put further pressure on the Pioneers as the early 1-0 lead held.

“It was a factor of us not being hard enough offensively,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said in a media release. “Our effort was great. I thought we skated well, we protected pucks well…but I thought they played with more desperation.”

DU pulled goalie Tanner Jaillet with about 80 seconds left but shot blocks by Westin Michaud (:20 left) and Troy Conzo (:08 remaining) helped the Tigers hold for their first win over Denver since Feb. 22, 2014 – a span of 1,424 days —  and the Tigers’ first under Haviland. The victory ended a 17-game winless streak (0-15-2).

“Tonight was a big step for us,” CC junior co-captain Andrew Farny said. “We had guys selling out all game long.”

“These guys don’t like to lose and they take it personal,” Haviland said. “We didn’t play hard enough last night but we certainly did tonight. Going 1-1-2 against the defending national champs shows the progress this program has made.”

Denver kept the puck in the CC end for most of the opening period, but it was the Tigers that entered first intermission with their initial lead of the weekend. Few at the time guessed it would prove to be the game-winner.

Conference-leading scorer Nick Halloran (41 points) scored his 18th goal of the season on the power play with 29 seconds remaining for a 1-0 lead. The power-play tally ended on 0 for 14 skid over three games.

halloran road unisIn other NCHC action, No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth downed last-place Miami 3-0 for its second shutout of the weekend against the reeling RedHawks. It is the first time in program history that Miami has been shut out for three-straight games. The scoring drought is now at 212 minutes, 1 second dating back to the second period on Friday, Feb. 9 (5-2 loss to No. 3 St. Cloud State.

No. 9 North Dakota bounced back for a road split by downing No. 13 Omaha, 3-0, and end the Mavericks’ seven-game home win streak. Cam Johnson returned to action after two games off to make his 11th career shutout (26 saves); second all-time at UND behind 15 for Karl Goehring.

League-leading St. Cloud State, ranked third in the USCHO poll but tops in the Pairwise rankings, defeated No. 15 Western Michigan 4-2 for the road sweep. The Broncos fell into in fifth place.

SCSU, which clinched home playoff ice on Friday, now has 45 standings points to second-place Denver’s 40, setting up a huge weekend series in Minnesota that will determine ownership of the Penrose Cup regular-season championship. UMD and North Dakota are tied for third with 30 points.

Fejes scores with 10.5 seconds left in OT thriller

CC hockey and video 001Colorado College freshman Hunter Fejes scored the “biggest goal of my life” when he scored with 10.5 seconds left to lift the Tigers past rival Denver in a 6-5 overtime thriller Saturday night.

“I looked up and saw 22 seconds and said man we cannot lose this game,” Fejes said. “It’s definitely a career highlight for me there. I saw Jeff (Collett open for a pass) but since it was going down to the wire, I thought I should shoot it and I just got lucky.”

Fejes took two strides to his left, stopped and fired a shot from between the circles that beat Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora inside the near post glove side to make most of the standing-room-only crowd of 7,750 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena jump to their feet in celebration and the Tigers leaping onto the ice in celebration.

“It’s very nice to see the younger kids emerge,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens about Fejes’ two goals and assist. “I am happy for the fans who have stuck with a 10-14 team. They got their money’s worth tonight.”

All in all, this team deserved it tonight. It’s a big two points.”

The win pushes CC up into eighth place, five points behind Denver, No. 11 Minnesota State and No. 19 Wisconsin, who are tied for fifth.

It was fitting that no lead was truly safe in this rivalry series.

The host Tigers took a 5-2 lead with 6:05 left only to see the No. 9 Pioneers score three goals in 3:18 to tie the game at 5-5 after CC junior Alexander Krushelnyski scored on a breakaway with 6:05 left for what looked to be the game-clinching score.

While Krushelnyski’s goal was being announced, DU’s Larkin Jacobson scored an unassisted goal five seconds later to make it 5-3. Denver’s Joey LaLeggia tallied on a slow wrister through traffic 67 ticks later to make it 5-4. Denver (15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA) then tied it with 2:42 remaining on a goal by Zac Larraza.

In 198 seconds, a CC rout became a huge Denver comeback and the fourth overtime game (1-0-3) in a row for the Tigers (11-14-5, 8-10-4).

“I am really glad for Joe Howe, because even though he gave up five goals, he ended up with the W,” Owens said.

The DU rally negated a big second period when Colorado College scored four in one period for the first time this season to rally from down 2-0 and take a 4-2 lead into the third.

Three of the four goals came from the point with CC senior captain William Rapuzzi playing a role in the final three.

Rapuzzi assisted the tying and go-ahead goals (Hunter Fejes, Joe Marciano) and then screened Olkinuora on Mike Boivin’s score, his 13th of the season, to stake the Tigers to the two-goal lead.

CC junior wing Archie Skalbeck jumpstarted the Tigers and energized the crowd when he snapped a wrister inside the post as he skated across the point. That made it 2-1 and the added energy led to a Denver penalty 15 seconds later.

The CC power play generated three quality chances but could not convert.

The game settled down for a few minutes until Rapuzzi made a strong crossing pass to freshman Hunter Fejes, who redirected the pass top shelf to beat Olkinuora to tie the game at 2-2 midway through the second period. Rapuzzi pass from the opposite post caught Olkinuora a half-second slow sliding over for Fejes’ shot.

Rapuzzi then set up Marciano’s goal a shot from just inside the blue line that beat Olkinuora glove side to the roar of the crowd. Boivin scored from the same area to make it 4-2.

Denver had seized control early with Nick Shore rifling a shot over CC senior goalie Joe Howe’s left  should less than five minutes into the game.

Colorado College has taken a 1-0 lead only 10 times out of 30 games so far this season.

DU made it 2-0 when Ty Loney redirected a shot by defenseman Joey LaLeggia only moments into a power play with 8:44 left in the opening period.

The Tigers had their chances with three Grade A chances missed, either with a missed redirect or pass through the crease that went through untouched. Olkinuora also made two good saves early in the period to keep the game scoreless for a time.

Colorado College 6, No. 9 Denver 5 OT

Denver                 2              0              3              0              — 5

Colorado College              0              4              1              1              –6

First period – 1. Denver, N. Shore (Zajac, Levin) 4:54; 2, Denver, Loney (LaLeggia, Makowski) 11:16. Penalties – CC, Taft, slashing, 11:04.

Second period – 3. CC, Skalbeck (Boivin), 3:32; 4. CC, Fejes (Rapuzzi, Young) 9:44; 5. CC, Marciano (Rapuzzi, Fejes) 13:43; 6. CC, Boivin (Krushelmyski, Schwartz) 15:38. Penalties –DU, Doremus, hooking, 3:37; DU, Mayfield, holding, 14:31.

Third period – 7. CC, Krushelnyski (Stoykewych) 13:55; 8. DU, Jacobson (unassisted) 14:00; 9. DU, LaLeggia (Makowski, Knowlton) 15:07; 10. DU, Larazza (Didier, Ostrow) 17:18. Penalties – DU, Mayfield, holding, 10:08.

Overtime – CC, Fejes (unassisted) 4:49. Penalties – none.

Power play – Denver 1-1, CC 1-3. Shots on goal – DU 13-7-14-2 – 36; CC 9-16-9-4 –38. Saves-minutes – DU, Olkinuora 9-12-8-3 – 64:49; CC, Howe 11-7-11-2 – 64:49. Referees – Shepherd, Beaurline. Linesmen – Swaider, Pedigo. Attendance – 7,750 (sellout).

Duluth scores late to edge Tigers in third

Mike_Seidel actionColorado College was hoping to build off its road split at No. 6 North Dakota when it hosted Minnesota Duluth Friday for its first home game in 41 days.

Instead, the Tigers reverted to their troublesome pattern of committing turnovers in their own zone, and watching them lead to back-breaking goals. The Bulldogs, now tied for fifth with UND, took advantage of two turnovers by CC seniors and scored twice in the third, including the game-winner with 1:43 remaining to pull out a 3-2 victory.

“It is a pattern from earlier this season but not in Grand Forks,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We made some strides. (Friday night) we commit a turnover and the puck ends up in the net.  It just seems we could not get some traction off the heels of last weekend.”

Colorado College senior defenseman Mike Boivin’s one-timer from between the faceoff circles had tied the game at 2-2 with 2:45 remaining and energized the announced crowd of 7,061 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena.

It didn’t last.

Two shifts later, Adam Krause intercepted a Scott Winkler pass in the CC zone and fired a hard shot on net that led to a rebound for Caleb Herbert, who raced in and banged in the second chance.

“That was a good hard-work goal for Herbert,” Bulldogs head coach Scott Sandelin said. “He just kept coming and coming.”

Earlier, Minnesota-Duluth senior Mike Seidel picked off an errant Colorado College pass deep in the Tigers’ zone and scored his 12th of the season midway through the third period give the visiting Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.

“That was makes this (loss) a kick in the gut,” Owens said. “We battled back, had the crowd into it and some momentum. We get a good shift from the fourth line and then they score. Both goals at the end were off turnovers committed by seniors.

“Our top guys were not good tonight and this is the time of year you need them. “

Minnesota Duluth’s Justin Crandall scored his first since Nov. 30 when he tapped in a loose puck with 8:37 left in the second period to tie the game 1-1 headed into the third.

He has scored all four of his goals this year in series openers. Crandall’s goal came about because Caleb Herbert broke loose in the Tigers zone, skating in from the left side and forcing CC goalie Joe Howe to come out of the net. His shot sailed behind Howe across the goal face to the opposite post where Crandall was waiting.

UMD enjoyed a 28-14 edge in shots through the first two periods including an 11-3 edge in the second period and a 14-0 start only 8:41 into the WCHA game.

As a result, Howe made 17 saves in the first period. That spurt included the Tigers’ league-worst penalty kill handling three minutes of UMD power play (seven shots) before the CC power play generated the team’s first shot of the game; by Boivin with 10:52 left.

CC out shot Duluth 10-3 for the rest of the first period and capitalized on it when freshman Cody Bradley passed from the corner across to the right faceoff circle to freshman Hunter Fejes who skated a couple strides forward and lifted the puck past UMD goalie Matt McNeely’s glove for a 1-0 lead with 1:58 left in the opening period.

Howe finished with 35 saves and kept CC in the game especially early.

“He was really quick and very competitive early,” Owens said. “He hung in there pretty well but he did not get (offensive) support.  We got the good goaltending but we did not get to three goals at home. You have to credit Duluth for that. Their defense is underrated.”

That defense looked solid, using a good back-check to disrupt a strong transition team like the Tigers (9-14-2, 6-10-1) and not allow CC to use its speed heading into the UMD zone.

“We talked about that coming in,” Sandelin said. “We made a few defensive mistakes on their goals but we played well toward the end of the second period and into the third that set thigns up for us to go ahead.”

Minnesota Duluth 3, Colorado College 2

Minnesota Duluth           0              1              2              –3

Colorado College              1              0              1              –2

First period – 1. CC, Fejes (Bradley, Collett), 18:52; Penalties – CC, McDermott, cross-checking, 3:08; CC, bench, too many men, 4:03; UMD, Herbert, roughing, 8:41.

Second period – 2. UMD, Crandall (Hebert, Basaraba) 10:23 (PP). Penalties – UMD, Bergman, interference, 7:04; CC, McDermott, cross-checking, 9:30.

Third period – 3. UMD, Seidel (unassisted) 9:53; 4. CC, Boivin (Rapuzzi, Krushelnyski) 17:15; 5. UMD, Herbert (Krause) 18:17. Penalties – UMD, Cameranesi, tripping, 7:26; CC, McDermott, holding the stick, 8:24; UMD, Krause, roughing, 8:24.

Power play – UMD 1-3, CC 0-3. Shots on goal – UMD 17-11-10 – 38, CC 11-4-11 – 26. Saves-minutes – UMD, McNeely 10-4-10 – 60:00; CC, Howe 17-10-8 – 59:02. Referees – Adam, Walsh. Linesmen – Stankevich, Staudte. Attendance – 7,061.

Serratore lifts Gophers past Tigers in third

serratoreNo. 4 Minnesota kept up the pressure and the Colorado College defense finally cracked, with hometown boy Tom Serratore scoring on a shot through traffic with 6:37 remaining in the third period to lift the visiting Gophers to a 4-2 victory on Friday night.

“For Tom, it’s big to score the game-winner in his hometown,” said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. ”He has been such a good solider. We moved him up to the third line and he has been producing.”

The goal came 47 seconds after a CC clearing attempt failed and the tiring Tigers could not clear the zone before the puck ended up in front for a shot CC goalie Joe Howe did not appear to see clearly with the four players locked up in front screening him. Serratore, the son of Air Force head coach Frank Serratore, was happy to bang the loose puck in.

“It is always good to score against the Tigers,” he said.

Minnesota’s Zach Budish scored an empty-netter with 1:08 left for the final margin.

The loss drops CC to 1-5-1 in its last seven games during a stretch of 10 straight games against ranked opponents to close out the first half. The Tigers have struggled to close out the close games, dropping to 4-6-1 in one-goal games (not including empty-netters).

“We have to find a way to win those close games,” said Tigers head coach Scott Owens. “I like the team. It was 6:37 left and we were right there. I would like to see someone step up and take charge.”

The Tigers held a upperclassmen-only meeting following the loss.

The game was delayed for seven minutes when Minnesota defenseman Justin Holl broke the Zamboni door glass as he tried to check CC junior wing Archie Skalbeck. Holl went high, missed the crouching Skalbeck and busted the glass to the delight of the announced crowd of 7,021 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena with 2:43 left in the third.

The Tigers awoke from their slumber in the second period thanks to their top line.

Senior captain William Rapuzzi took a pass as he skated across the face of the Minnesota net and backhanded the puck past UM freshman goalie Adam Wilcox to tie the game at 2-2 headed into the third period.

The goal was CC’s second in only 101 seconds.

“There were good things,” Owens said. “I like how the defensive corps played after (sophomore Aaron) Harstad went down.”

Harstad is out with an undisclosed upper body injury and will not play on Saturday, Owens said.

Rapuzzi’s ninth goal of the season came with 3:22 left, only 1:41 after Archie Skalbeck, who made the pass to Rapuzzi, scored off a pretty crossing pass from senior Rylan Schwartz to spark the host Tigers only 1:45 after Minnesota’s Sam Warning scored his second goal of the night and season. Skalbeck’s score made it 2-1 Gophers.

Warning scored three seconds after a UM power play expired on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle to stake the visiting Gophers to a 1-0 lead in the first period.

He added his second goal of the night and the season when he corralled a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and wristed the puck under CC goalie Joe Howe’s arm as he slid over.

“It’s good to see Sam score,” Lucia said. ‘He had been hurt (nine games, upper body injury) and it took him a couple games to get back to speed. We needed him to score those two big goals or we would not have won.”

UM out shot the host Tigers 12-4 in the first period, but CC came back with a superior effort in the second to trim the advantage to 20-15. The Tigers, which gave up 88 sots last weekend and the 97 two weeks ago made some progress by allowing only 31.

“We did a good job keeping out of the box,” Owens said. “We had 2-3 pretty good efforts late but either (freshman goalie Adam) Wilcox came up with a play or we could not convert. I would like to have us get one goal on the power play.”


U.S. national junior prelim camp roster invitee Brady Sjkel of Minnesota was a coach’s scratch on Friday. … The Gophers’ ranks were depleted by the flu. … The Tigers held a seniors-only meeting after the game. … Last night’s CC lineup was identical to the previous Friday when it beat No. 9 North Dakota 5-2. … Minnesota coach Don Lucia served as head coach at CC from 1993-99, leading the Tigers to three WCHA titles, a 1996 national runner-up finish and a return to the 1997 Frozen Four. … UM sophomore Kyle Rau, younger brother of former Tiger standout Kyle, is a good harbinger of the Gophers’ success. They are 10-0-0 this season when he records a point. The Gophers won for the first time when he did not record a point. … Erik Haula’s two assists makes it 11 games in a row with a point or more. … Baseball Hall of Famer “Goose” Gossage, a Colorado Springs native, dropped the ceremonial first puck before the game. … Rapuzzi has recorded a point in eight straight games.

No. 4 Minnesota 4, No. 19 Colorado College 2

Minnesota          1              1              2 —         4

Colorado College             0              2              0              –2

First period – 1. UM, Warming (Marshall, Reilly) , 7:36. Penalties – CC, Hamburg, hooking, 5:33; UM, Isackson, boarding, 12:51.

Second period – 2. UM, Warning (Schmidt) 13:12; 3. CC, Skalbeck (Schwartz, Rapuzzi) 14:57; 4. CC, Rapuzzi (Skalbeck, Schwartz) 16:38. Penalties – UM, Reilly, interference, 3:29; UM, Haula, unsportsmanlike conduct, 6:33; CC, Bradley, unsportsmanlike conduct, 6:33; UM, Serratore, charging, 10:12; UM, Rau, unsportsmanlike conduct 17:10; CC, Hanson, unsportsmanlike conduct, 17:10.

Third period – 5. Minnesota, Serratore (Budish, Haula), 13:23; 6. Minnesota, Budish (Condon) 18:52 (EN). Penalties – UM, Holl, tripping, 6:54; UM, Helgeson, roughing,  19:50; CC, Taft, roughing, boarding. 19:50.

Power play – Minnesota 0-2, Colorado College 0-4. Shots on goal – Minnesota 12-8-11 – 31; Colorado College 4-11-11 – 26. Saves-minutes – Minnesota, Wilcox 4-9-11 – 60:00; Colorado College, Howe 11-7-9 – 59:48. Referees – Bokai, Thul. Linesmen – Stankevich, Stodgell. Attendance – 7,021.

Yale rallies to down Tigers in overtime

Former Tiger goalie Richard Bachman took part in a ceremonial puck drop before the game.

Yale completed a memorable road trip through Colorado, following up a 2-1 overtime win on Friday over No. 2 Denver with a 6-5 victory in the extra frame at Colorado College on Saturday before an announced crowd of 6,654 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Yale senior Josh Balch scored his first goal of the year, firing a hard shot that went between CC senior goalie Joe Howe’s leg pads with 1:39 remaining in overtime to end it.

“They have been good for us haven’t they?” Yale head coach Kevin Allain said. “Coming back in the third period and winning in overtime is a real testament to our fitness level and the work of our strength and conditioning coach.”

No. 14 Colorado College led unranked Yale 5-4 entering the third period after Tigers freshman Jared Hanson banged home his first goal as a Tiger with 6:23 left in the second. Hanson knocked the puck in before Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm controlled the rebound with his glove, the referees ruled after a video review. The assists went to forwards Jeff Collett and Scott Wamsganz, who picked up his first point this season.

“We have to close out games at home,” said Tigers head coach Scott Owens. “We got a good goal by Jared for a lead going into the third period and couldn’t finish.”

CC took its first lead since Nov 10 (a 6-3 home win over Bemidji State) when Scott Winkler’s power-play slapshot forced its way in between Malcolm’s leg pads to make it 4-3. That lead lasted only 45 seconds before Yale’s Trent Ruffolo scored with 9:07 left.

“The key is when they got ahead we didn’t quit,” Allain said.

The fireworks started early, especially with CC giving up 48 shots on goal, a night after allowing a season-high 49 in a 4-4 tie against No. 3 New Hampshire. Howe took the loss despite making 42 saves. Yale backup Nick Maricic made nine saves in relief of Malcolm, who was pulled after Hanson’s goal.

“He made a couple huge saves,” Allain said. “We wouldn’t have won it without him.”

The biggest came with 18.3 seconds left in regulation when CC captain William Rapuzzi collected a loose puck behind the net and passed in front for a one-timer by Archie Skalbeck. The low shot went off Maricic’s right leg pad and bounced wide of the net.

Yale and Colorado College scored a combined three goals in 39 seconds to knot the nonconference game at 2-2 with 14:48 left in the opening period.

Yale took a 1-0 lead only 57 seconds into the contest when Antoine Laganiere skated across the face of the Tigers net to beat Howe.

CC would answer when a hard shot by senior Rylan Schwartz went off the Yale right post and then bounced back in off the senior forward’s left hip with 15:27 left. The ECAC member Bulldogs attacked quickly off the resulting faceoff, banging in the second rebound to make it 2-1 only 13 seconds later.

The Tiger tied it up 26 ticks later when defenseman Eamonn McDermott’s shot went off the boards and in off the back of Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm’s right skate as he slid over the cover the post with 14:48 left.

Yale took a 3-2 lead when defenseman Tommy Fallen popped free in front after Kenny Agostino, Friday’s hero against No. 2 Denver, fell down along the boards with the puck under him. He righted himself and sent a pass out front to Fallen, who was unmarked while the Tigers looked for the puck.

Yale 6, No. 14 Colorado College 5

Yale                                       3              1              1              1              — 6

Colorado College             2              3              0              0              — 5

First period – 1. Yale, Laganiere (Cooper, Ruffolo) :57; 2. Colorado College, Schwartz (Boivin) 4:33; 3. Yale, Root (Agostino)  4:46; 4. CC, McDermott (Winkler) 5:12; 5. Yale, Fallen (Agostino, Weberg) 11:57. Penalties – CC, Boivin, boarding, 17:05.

Second period – 6. CC, Skalbeck (Rapuzzi, Marciano) 1:20; 7. CC, Winkler (unassisted) 10:08; 8. Yale, Ruffolo (Laganiere) 10:53. 9. CC, Hanson (Collett, Wamsganz) 13:47; Penalties – Yale, Laganiere, checking from behind, 8:13; CC, Marciano, cross-checking, 17:30.

Third period – 10. Yale, Miller (Laganerie, Fallen) 12:02 (PP). Penalties – CC, Stoykewych, interference, :29; Yale, Agostino, hooking, 8:04; CC, Wamsganz, high sticking, 10:14; Yale, Cooper, tripping, 10:14; CC, Krushelnyski, slashing, 11:52; CC, Wamsganz, cross-checking, 14:02; Yale, Agostino, holding the stick, 14:45.

Overtime –11. Yale, Balch (Wilson, Obuchowski), 3:21. Penalties – Yale, O’Gara, cross-checking, 2:16; CC, Rapuzzi, slashing, 2:16.

Power play – Yale 1-5, CC 1-3. Shots on goals – Yale 15-15-15-3 – 48; CC 13-12-5-4 – 34. Saves-minutes – Yale, Malcolm 11-9 – 33:37, Maricic 0-5-4 – 29:44; CC, Howe 12-14-14-2 – 63:21. Referees – Klosowski, Morrison. Linesmen – Staudte, Swiader. Attendance – 6,654.

Tigers rally from down four to forge tie

The never-say-die Colorado College Tigers mounted a furious comeback in the final 3:32 of regulation to forge a 4-4 tie against No. 3 New Hampshire on Friday night.

The 14th-ranked Tigers (7-5-1) had looked as done as Thursday’s turkey when down 4-0 to the best defensive team in the country midway through the second period and facing the hottest goalie in the nation in Casey DeSmith, who set a school record shutout streak of 203:32 (111 saves) over the past two weeks, ending in a 3-1 win over Boston University on Sunday.

Instead, CC beat DeSmith four times over the next 30 minutes, the most he has allowed this season, to force overtime and get the 6,794 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena back into the nonconference game.

“We gave up a point there,” said New Hampshire coach Dick Umile. “We played well enough to win, but you have to give credit to them. They fought back. “

It looked like UNH would hold on, but a couple turnovers late sparked the Tigers. CC senior Rylan Schwartz scored with 3:32 remaining to make it 4-3 and suddenly the building was electric.

The Wildcats were just trying to hold on for the road win when Schwartz fired a hard shot wide of the net. There was enough power behind the shot for the puck to bounce off the end boards and end up in front, where senior captain William Rapuzzi knocked the puck in to tie the game with 1:55 remaining.

“I am disappointed with how we handled pressure in the final three minutes,” Umile said.

The visiting Wildcats (8-1-2) chased CC junior goalie Josh Thorimbert after going ahead 4-0 midway through the second period on a goal by Scott Pavelski. It was the second home Friday in a row that CC senior goalie Joe Howe replaced Thorimbert in the second period, and the second in a row that the host Tigers mounted a rally.

That move and concurrent penalties creating 4-on-4 hockey seemed to spark the Tigers.

“It was a combination of Rylan Schwartz really stepping up his game and Joe (Howe) coming in making a couple big saves,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “It was a great tie for us, coming back down four against the best defensive team in the country.”

Howe finished with 27 saves in almost 35 minutes, including three huge ones in overtime. He stopped UNH’s Dalton Speelman on a breakaway with 2:10 left, stopped Kevin Goumas with 1:42 left and smothered a one-timer by John Henrion 21 second later to secure the tie.

“Their goalie came up big,” Umile said.

CC sophomore defenseman Ian Young scored his first goal as a Tiger with 6:42 remaining during that 4-on-4 stretch.

CC senior defenseman Mike Boivin scored his sixth of the year when his wrister with 2:46 left went over DeSmith’s right shoulder to make it 4-2 entering the third period. His goal was set up perfectly by freshman center Cody Bradley in his first game back from injury.

It had certainly looked like a rout earlier. For the 10th game this season, CC fell behind early, and like last Friday’s 6-5 loss to No. 2 Denver, it was a four-goal deficit.

New Hampshire’s defense lived up to its No. 1 national ranking (1.22 goals) in the first period, holding Colorado College to only eight shots on goal to move out to a 2-0 lead. Casey Thrush put the visiting Wildcats ahead when he skated deep into the Tigers zone to fire a hard shot glove side past Thorimbert from short range only two minutes into the nonconference contest.

New Hampshire went ahead 2-0 when a hard shot from just inside the blue line by defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk was stopped by Thorimbert. The puck ended up in Thorimbert’s pads and the puck fell into the goal as he straightened up to look for the puck with 9:11 remaining in the first. Thrush made it 3-0 two minutes into the second period.

No. 3 New Hampshire 4, No. 14 Colorado College 4 OT

New Hampshire                      2          2          0          0          — 4

Colorado College        0          2          2          0          — 4

First period – 1. UNH, Thrush (Gaudreault, Pesce) 2:02; 2. UNH, van Riemsdyk (Goumas, Sorkin) 10:49. Penalties – CC, McDermott, hooking, 18:10.

Second period – 3. UNH, Thrush (Goumas, Henrion) 1:51; 4. UNH, Pavelski (Correale, MacDonald) 10:02; 5. CC, Young (Schwartz, Marciano) 13:18; 6. CC, Boivin (Bradley, Hamburg) 17:14. Penalties – CC, McDermott, roughing, 12:36; UNH, Pavelski, unsportsmanlike conduct, 12:36.

Third period – 7. CC, Schwartz (Skalbeck, Rapuzzi) 16:28;  8. CC, Rapuzzi  (Schwartz, Boivin) 18:05.  Penalties – none.

Overtime – No scoring. Penalties – none.

Power play – UNH 0-1, CC 0-0. Shots on goal – New Hampshire 16-16-14-3 – 49; Colorado College 8-9-12-0 – 29. Saves-minutes – UNH, DeSmith 8-7-10-0 – 65:00; CC, Thorimbert 14-4- 30:02; Howe 10-14-3—34:58. Referess – Klosowski, Morrison. Linesmen – Stadute, Swiader. Attendance – 6,794.

CC battles back for 5-4 road OT victory

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski one-timed a pass from behind the Wisconsin net by Charlie Taft for the game-winner 25 seconds into overtime as Colorado College defeated host Wisconsin 5-4 at the Kohl Center.

Taft knocked down a pass by Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel and immediately passed toward the front where Krushelnyski was attacked the net.

The win, CC’s first in OT since Dec. 16, 2011 at Minnesota State (David Civitarese), ended a three-game losing skid.

“This was a good character win,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said in a radio interview afterward.  “You have to respect our determination tonight. The Kohl Center is not an easy place to play when the students get into it.”

Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring only 89 seconds into the game after the puck deflected in off a CC defenseman’s skate.  The Tigers (4-3, 1-0 WCHA) did not look sharp but shook off their slow start by dominating the second period.

CC freshman Hunter Fejes scored his first goal as a Tiger and CC added a power-play goal by defenseman Mike Boivin, his first of the season, to tie it at 2-2 headed into the third period. CC, which out shot the host Badgers 17-7.

Wisconsin (1-3-1, 1-1-1) scored a power-play goal less than a minute into the period before CC responded and took its first lead of the contest. Scott Winkler one-timed a pass from the corner by Krushelnyski to tie the game at 3-3 and senior captain William Rapuzzi added a power-play goal with nine minutes left for a 4-3 edge.

Rauzzi hauled in a long pass from defenseman Eammon McDermott from inside the CC zone and got behind the Badgers defensemen for a one-on-one chance against Rumpel.

“Eammon McDermott continues to dazzle with his long passes,” Bonnett said. “Winkler is a big guy with a strong stick in the paint.”

It was Rapuzzi’s third goal, matching his total from his junior season, which included two empty-netters.

Wisconsin would answer when Keegan Meuer batted in his own rebound with about four minutes left to force overtime.