The Tigers team defense looked like it picked up, somewhat, from where it left off last season with the skaters hitting the ice to block shots and the forwards coming back to clean out rebounds and collect loose pucks in front to make goalie Josh Thorimbert’s life easier.
He appreciated it.
“They put their bodies on the line,” the senior said. “It makes it an easy game for a goalie when all the shots are coming from the outside.”
Only 13 of Duluth’s 31 shots were from between the faceoff circles, including seven in the third period when the Bulldogs spoiled his shutout bid.
“This was a big win for a mostly young team,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “I liked the effort. They battled and used their feet. The forwards came back and helped out. You can nitpick the defense but all in all, it was a good performance.
They showed a hunger. The next challenge will be seeing if we can comeback Saturday.”
Three points nothing to sneeze at
Friday’s victory, albeit in only the first game of the season, was important for the Tigers since it was a win in regulation and worth three points in the NCHC standings. CC is tied with North Dakota, which downed No. 1 Miami 4-2 earlier, atop the leaderboard.
Overtime wins also count for three points but shootout wins are worth two and a shootout loss one.
“Any clean win you can get is huge,” Owens said.
“Three points is a lot and any points you can collect now is important because it will only get tougher as the season goes on,” senior Jeff Collett said.
Josh Thorimbert had this to add in this video interview.
The student section has been full or nearly full for all three games so far this season, including two exhibitions.
“The student section has been great this season,” sophomore Peter Maric said. “It was loud. It’s going to be a fun year and a tough year.”
Penrose Trophy gets teams’ attention
The large silver and copper trophy awarded to the regular-season champion definitely had the attention of both teams when it was brought onto the ice Friday for a ceremonial puck drop involving El Pomar Foundation CEO Bill Hybl.
Its gleam beckoned Thorimbert and his teammates.
“It really catches your eye,” he said. “As a hockey player in this league that is what you play for; a chance to hoist a trophy like that.”
Western Michigan 6, Alaska-Anchorage 2
FAIRBANKS — Chase Balisy made two assists and Shane Berschbach scored twice to power Western Michigan past Alaska-Anchorage Friday afternoon at the Brice Gold Rush.
No. 6 North Dakota 4, No. 1 Miami 2
OXFORD, Ohio – Zane Gothberg made 35 saves and mark macMillan and Brendan O’Donnell each had a goal and an assists to push North Dakota past Miami in the very first NCHC game played.
Nebraska-Omaha 2, Northern Michigan 1
Marquette, Mich. – Brock Montpetit scored one goal and assisted to other for the visiting Mavericks, who got 28 saves from Kirk Thompson.
Denver 2, Alaska-Fairbanks 0, midway second period; St. Cloud State idle.