The Tigers broke through for their first win since Oct. 18, downing No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha 4-2.
“It’s a weight off our shoulders,” said freshman Sam Rothstein, who tallied the eventual game-winner in the second period.
Tigers senior Jeff Collett iced the National Collegiate Hockey Conference victory when he redirected a shot by freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson with 6:29 remaining for the final margin.
The Tigers know a win is huge for their confidence, but it is only one game.
“It would be huge for us to put together two strong games in a row, especially against the top team in the league,” Collett said.
First-place Nebraska-Omaha (8-7, 5-2 NCHC) had rallied within one when Zahn Raubenheimer lifted his own rebound in over CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert’s right leg pad to make it 3-2 with 12:35 left.
“We knew they would be coming out hard,” Collett said. “We knew we had to put together 20 minutes in the third period.”
The four goals are a season high, surpassing the 3-1 season-opening win over No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth. The victory snapped a 0-10-2 streak.
The win moved the Tigers (2-10-2, 2-5-2) into sole possession of fifth place in the eight-team league.
“The win feels real good, but I also like how we played,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We got after it and everyone contributed. Josh made a couple big saves when it was 3-2.”
A Mavericks’ penalty with 3:59 left helped CC whittle down the clock before UNO pulled junior goalie Ryan Massa (24 saves) with 1:15 remaining. But Thorimbert (23 saves) and the Tigers defense stood tall.
CC dominated the second period, out shooting UNO 11-5. More importantly, it gave them a much-needed cushion before 5,551 paid attendance at World Arena.
CC sophomore Jared Hanson scored his first of the year when he collected a rebound off a shot by Collett from besides the Omaha net, and reached back to tuck the puck in with 13:54 left in the second. That rebound bounced over behind the left post where Hanson tracked it down.
Rothstein made it 3-1 when he knocked in a bouncing puck with 5:30 left in the middle period.
Colorado College struck first when Alexander Krushelnyski knocked in a rebound after a short-range shot by Alex Roos was deflected by Massa and bounced across the crease to the senior.
The Tigers have now scored a power-play goal in four of their last five games.
Nebraska-Omaha tied it at 1-1 on their first power play with a nice pass from besides the CC net out to defenseman Ian Brady from freshman Jake Guentzel. Brady fired a one-timer low just inside the opposite post past Thorimbert with 2:37 remaining in the opening period.
Thorimbert is CC’s rock on defense
Lost in the concern over the Colorado College offense has been a strong senior season for goalie Josh Thorimbert.
“He has given us a chance to win a lot of nights, especially at Clarkson and Western Michigan,” Owens said. “He has matured into a real fine goaltender. He has been a great teammate. He has been outstanding.”
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native bounced back from a subpar junior season (3.73 goals against, .872 saves percentage) with a 2.99 goals against mark and .904 saves percentage entering Friday’s game.
He made 15 saves and allowed one power-play goal through two periods Friday.
NCHC names championship weekend
After 800 fan votes, NCHC Frozen Faceoff was voted as the name of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s championship weekend and postseason tournament March 21-22, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. On March 21, the two semifinals will be played at 3:08 and 6:38 p.m. MT.
On March 22, the third-place game is 2:38 p.m. with the championship at 6:38. Both semifinals and championship will air on CBS Sports Network.
Annual Teddy Bear Toss is Saturday
CC fans are asked to bring a stuffed animal to Saturday’s game to be thrown onto the ice for the annual Teddy Bear Toss during first intermission.
The toys will go to the Bob Telmosse Foundation for its 31st annual Christmas Giveaway from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 21 at The Freedom Financial Expo Center, 3650 N. Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs. For more information, go to santa-bob.org.
Sophomore Cody Bradley (upper-body injury) did not dress for Friday’s game. … Freshman Alex Roos returned to the lineup after missing last Saturday’s nonconference contest. … Kids’ tickets for Saturday night’s game are $5 at cctigers.com or the World Arena box office. … Last weekend’s sweep was the first at home since March 2012. It was also the first home shutout of the Tigers in 52 games, dating back to a 6-0 loss to North Dakota on Jan. 29, 2011.
Colorado College 4, No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha 2
Nebraska-Omaha 1 0 1 –2
Colorado College 1 2 1 –4
First period – 1, CC, Krushelnyski (Roos, Slavin) 11:14 (PP); 2, UNO, Brady (Guentzel, Montpetit) 17:23 (PP). Penalties – UNO, Davis, interference, 10:17; CC, Harstad, hooking, 16:36.
Second period – 3, CC, Hanson (Collett) 6:06; 4. CC, Rothstein (Roos, Krushelnyski) 14:30. Penalties – CC, DiGiando, holding, 1:31; CC, Krushelnyski, hooking, 11:23.
Third period – 5. UNO, Raubenheimer (Searfoss, Megna) 7:25; 6. CC, Collett (Olofsson, Stoykewych) 13:31. Penalties – UNO, Walters, cross-checking, 3:33; CC, Collett, holding, 9:01; UNO, Cooper, interference, 16:01.
Power play – UNO 1-4, CC 1-3. Shots on goal – UNO 11-5-9 – 25; CC 11-11-6– 28. Saves-minutes – UNO, Massa 10-9-5 – 58:45; CC, Thorimbert 10-5-8 – 60:00. Referees – Beaurline, Sullivan. Linesmen – Stankevich, Staudte. Attendance – 5,551 (7,380 capacity).