2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Tigers defeat Broncos in convincing fashion

Published: February 15, 2014, 10:22 pm, by Joe Paisley

Gerdes2013-14Colorado College freshman Luc Gerdes wants a DVD of Saturday’s game, or at least a copy of the first 3:26 of the third period.

The rookie left wing, playing in only his fifth game, assisted the opening goal and then scored the second to help the Tigers to a 3-0 home win over Western Michigan at World Arena.

It was his first college point and 3:05 later, his first goal as a Tiger.

“That was something special,” Gerdes said. “You don’t want to ever forget that.”

The dam broke only 21 seconds into the third period when Gerdes passed ahead to junior Charlie Taft, who skated between two Bronco defenders as he entered the Western Michigan zone.  He skated forward and pulled away form the defenders, creating enough room to cut to his left to flip the puck in with a backhander over WMU goalie Lukas Hafner’s right shoulder.

It was the fastest goal to start a period this season for the Tigers.

The score, coming on the Tigers’ 22nd shot in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game, energized the 6,560 in attendance and CC (4-18-6, 4-9-5-1 NCHC).

“Taft did all the work,” Gerdes said. “I’ll take anything I can get.”

So will the seventh-place Tigers who are 1-1-2 in their last four games.

“That was a big goal there that energized the building and the team,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We have out together four good games in a row.”

Only 3:05 later, Gerdes hustled across the crease and tracked down a rebound. He backhanded the puck on net and it ended up going in with 16:34 left for a two-goal lead.

It proved to be more than enough thanks to a strong team defensive performance.

The Tigers did a great job keeping the net clear of Broncos. Only two of Western Michigan’s 17 shots came from between the faceoff circles.

When the shots got through, Thorimbert (17 saves) was there. the senior recorded his first shutout since March 3, 2012 thanks to a Tigers penalty kill that allowed no goals and only four shots in 5:33 by the Broncos (14-11-5, 8-8-2-2).

CCThorimbert_DU1“The guys played very well in front of me,” Thorimbert said. “Western did not sustain any pressure in our zone. We knew if we just kept playing our systems, our shots would start going in.”

Western Michigan almost took a 1-0 lead when senior Colton Hargrove’s wrist shot caromed off the post with 16:25 left in the second period. Thorimbert later made a big save on a 3-on-1 Broncos breakaway

“It was a good team defensive effort and Josh was a brick wall as he has been all season,” Gerdes said. “He deserved a shutout the way he has played this season and its great that he got one.”

“The team deserved a shutout and it really helps our confidence knowing we can shut out team sin this league,” Thorimbert said.

CC had a couple rebound opportunities, including one for freshman Jaccob Slavin with 7:44 left in the second period when Hafner (27 saves) made a desperation blocker save that sent the puck up over the net.

The teams skated through a scoreless first period with the Tigers controlling play and generating a couple scoring chances while on the power play. The CC penalty kill completely disrupted the Broncos with the puck in the WMU end for most of the two minutes setting up an 11-4 edge in shots, including two from inside the Tigers zone.

Colorado College 3, Western Michigan 0

Western Michigan         0          0          0          –0

Colorado College         0          0          3          –3

First period – No scoring. Penalties – WMU, Kovacs, roughing, contact to the head, 14:05; CC, Skalbeck, elbowing, 16:23; WMU, Morrison, elbowing, 20:00..

Second period – No scoring. Penalties – WMU, Hargrove, elbowing, 11:39.

Third period –1, CC, Taft (Gerdes, Olofsson) :21; 2. CC, Gerdes (Bradley, Taft) 3:26; 3. CC, Rothstein (Skalbeck, Olofsson) 16:53 (PP). Penalties – CC, Stoykewych, hooking, 12:23; WMU, LaPorte, embellishment, 12:23; CC, Slavin, roughing, 13:27; WMU, bench, too many men, 15:00; WMU, Morrison, slashing, 19:54; WMU, Nitsche, roughing, cross-checking, 20:00; CC, Hansen, high-sticking, 10-minute disqualification, 20:00..

Power play – WMU 0-4, CC 1-5. Shots on goal – WMU 4-5-8 – 17; CC 11-10-9 –30. Saves-minutes – WMU, Hafner 11-10-6 – 58:03; CC, Thorimbert 4-5-8 – 60:00. Referees – Sterns, Thul. Linesmen – Stankevich, Staudte. Attendance – 6,560 (7,380 capacity).