Emptying the notebook: Power play struggles, CC alumni weekend

Published: February 8, 2014, 9:56 pm, by Joe Paisley

Ian Young home whitesTigers power play struggles continue

Colorado College recorded its first power-play goal in 30 opportunities dating back to Jan. 11 at North Dakota, but could not find the net during two five-minute power plays in Saturday’s 2-1 road loss to No. 17 Minnesota-Duluth.

“We just couldn’t finish,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “At the end, we couldn’t get our shots through. Their (eighth-ranked) penalty kill is as good advertised.”

Over the past few weeks, CC tweaked its two power-play units to create a numbers mismatch and better maintain puck possession and pressure on opponents.

But first, the Tigers need to sustain possession. Too often, aggressive penalty killers were able to attack the CC puckhandler shortly after he enters the opposing zone and force a turnover. They sent the puck out of their zone, forcing the Tigers to use up valuable time setting another foray into the opposing zone.

On Saturday, the Tigers did a better job avoiding that set-up by dumping the puck in and winning more races to loose pucks in the Duluth zone. That led to 13 shots in 16 minutes, including six during a five-minute power play early in the second period but only two during one late in the third.

“It’s something we are working on and where we need to get better,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “We like our personnel. The guys we have out there have a history of production on the power play in college and juniors.”

The CC power play is now 1-for-30 over the past six games after opening the second half at a three for six clip (50 percent). The Tigers power play improved from 11.1 to 11.4  percent (12 for 105) with Ian Young’s score.

CC alumni celebration coming up

Tiger fans can mingle with past Tigers as part of the school’s 75th anniversary celebration during Saturday’s pregame reception at Hotel Elegante from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The alumni present, about 50, for Friday’s game will be recognized on the ice during first intermission.

Ice chips

Friday’s shootout loss was CC’s third. The Tigers lead the NCHC with four shootouts. …. CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert’s previous career-high in saves was 45 set as a sophomore. He had 50 on Friday.

AMSOIL Arena part of trend in NCHC

The $80 million, 6,756-seat AMSOIL Arena, home of the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, which opened in December 2010, continues a recent surge in renovations and new facilities around the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

That includes $1 million toward scoreboard upgrades at Western Michigan’s Lawson Arena before this season began. That anonymous gift came after talk of a new downtown facility quieted

A new facility is on its way at Nebraska-Omaha with a $76.3-million, 7,500 capacity on-campus arena is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

In Duluth, AMSOIL replaced the old Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center which remains attached to the new facility and hosts concerts and other events. The hockey arena features a $1 million, 8-by-14-foot scoreboard above center ice, 15 private suites and a Hall of Fame recognizing 35 men’s and women’s hockey players, which include former NHL standout Brett Hull, whose No. 29 jersey number was retired in Jan. 2013. He set the UMD record with 52 goals his sophomore season,.

JOE PAISLEY, THE GAZETTE