It took a third-period rally, but the Colorado College Tigers completed their weekend sweep over the Michigan Tech Huskies with a 4-2 victory at World Arena Saturday night.
“I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Tiger coach Scott Owens. “It’s a team that’s pretty calm and it’s a team that’s got a lot of veteran presence and I thought we did okay.”
The Tigers started off the scoring three and a half minutes into the game with a power-play goal. Eric Walsky skated the puck through the slot and wristed it past MTU netminder Rob Nolan to give CC a 1-0 lead.
After that initial goal, both teams exchanged chances for the rest of the period with CC getting the best opportunity with seven and a half minutes left when the puck went behind Nolan, but never fully crossed the goal line.
“He played great,” said Huskies coach Jamie Russell of Nolan. “He played extremely well. He kept us in the game last night especially in the second and third period. [We got a] real solid 120 minutes from him this weekend.
“He stepped up. A lot of people were questioning him and I think he certainly answered that emphatically this weekend.”
The Huskies got on the board 2:34 into the middle frame two seconds after an early five-on-three advantage ended when Jordan Baker scored in the midst of a goalmouth scrum.
“That’s the thing. It was an unbelievable five-on-three kill — by [Scott] McCulloch in particular — and then all of a sudden, it’s you let down a little bit, Billy [Sweatt]’s just getting out of the box and they get a goalmouth scramble goal,” said Owens.
“It’s a little frustrating because we worked so hard at that.”
However, the Tigers regained the lead just 2:45 into the third period when Sweatt sniped a shot top-corner over Nolan’s left shoulder.
Then, at the halfway point of the period, Stephen Schultz extended the Tigers’ lead to two on a power-play goal with a shot from the bottom of the far faceoff circle.
“I saw the space; [Nolan’s a] small goaltender and [Andreas Vlassopoulos] gave me enough time … to step out, square myself and shoot him short-side,” said Schultz.
Russell called a timeout with 2:31 left in the frame to pull Nolan for the extra attacker. The move paid off when Brett Olson fired a shot through traffic past Tiger goaltender Richard Bachman with 21.2 seconds remaining. However, CC sealed the victory on Walsky’s second tally of the game — an empty-net goal with 1.8 seconds remaining.
“You’re down two goals and we had the faceoff in zone and we did a very good job and got a goal to pull within one. and for 21 seconds we did a very good job going forward with the faceoff with the puck deep in their end,” said Russell. “And [then] they flip the puck probably 195 feet and it goes in our net.
“But we did a good job. We scrapped and fought right to the end … I thought our effort was there for 60 minutes.”
“I thought the period break came at the right time for us to regroup,” said Owens. “Then I thought we came out from the first shift on and established ourselves. I thought we played hard. We played our hardest in the sixth period of the weekend.”
The Tigers next travel to Potsdam, N.Y., for a two game series against Clarkson while the Huskies host the U.S. Under-18 Team.