Huge saves led to even bigger goals as the much-maligned Colorado College defense stepped up its game against the WCHA-leading Huskies.
Twice, big saves by Tigers senior goalie Joe Howe led to momentum-turning goals on the other end for CC in an entertaining end-to-end affair between two fresh, smooth-skating teams coming off bye weeks.
Junior Jeff Collett’s goal came moments after Howe made a big save midway through the first period.
In the third period, Howe stoned SCSU freshman Kalle Kossila’s drive to the net, leading to the game-winner by Charlie Taft 11 seconds later.
The Tigers hit the ice for 17 blocks against No. 7 St. Cloud State including a huge one by freshman Peter Maric.
“That was one of the best blocks I have ever seen,” said Taft, who scored twice in the third period in the 4-3 victory. “We had a lot of guys giving up their bodies.”
The blocks and a more concerted effort to get into passing lanes tightened up the CC defense considerably compared to games earlier this season. The only blemish was a defensive breakdown that allowed two goals in 11 seconds in the first period.
“We have had that happen a lot to us where we give up a second goal right away,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “We are not perfect; we gave up 43 shots but with Joe making the saves, we played better defensively.”
Howe finished with 43 saves and improved to 4-1-3 in his last eight starts.
Finch continues to impress
Freshman Russell Finch played in his fourth game in a row and continued to perform well.
“He surprised us in a good way,” Owens said. “He stayed within his (defense-first) role and didn’t take any unnecessary chances.”
Schwartz heats up
CC senior Rylan Schwartz scored his first goal since Jan. 12 at North Dakota (a 5-3 loss) for the go-ahead goal in the third period.
“Rylan broke out of a little bit of a funk,” Owens said. “The young guys are coming on and it was really nice to see the older guys, like Rylan, score.”