Colorado College got contributions from throughout the lineup to pull away for a 3-1 home win over No. 18 Denver that gave the Tigers possession of the Gold Pan Trophy for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
CC has won the trophy 12 times in 21 seasons.
“It was a good team win tonight,” senior Alexander Krushelnyski said. “It’s awesome. Tonight was a special night. There is nothing like bring back the Gold Pan.”
The sweep, CC’s first this season, is the payoff for a strong work ethic by the Tigers.
“The guys have worked hard all season,” Krushelnyski said. “This shows it is finally paying off.”
“We got contributions from everybody tonight,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.
The senior does not expect the Tigers to let down after a thrilling weekend, which also doomed their rival’s hopes for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Both Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, which lost 6-2 to No. 11 North Dakota Saturday, fell out of contention for that after being swept this weekend.
“This helps our confidence more than anything,” Krushelnyski said.
The coaches will worry about avoiding any letdown.
“We’ll enjoy this for a little while but we know we take on a good Nebraska-Omaha team with a lot of offensive skill,” Owens said. “It will be tough.”
Liked what you saw? Check out the rebroadcast
Saturday’s game will be replayed on Altitude Sports at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 and 7 p.m. Monday and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Both goalies stand out in Gold Pan finale
CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert made 25 saves, including a big one on Denver leading scorer Trevor Moore with about a minute left. The Tigers defense played well, holding Denver without a shot in the third period until 9:27 remained. Moore did not record a point this weekend.
“Josh has been playing well all season,” Krushelnyski said. “He has kept us in a lot of games.”
CC penalty kill containing potent Denver power play
A key to Friday’s road win over No. 18 Denver was the performance of the CC penalty kill. The Pioneers entered the weekend No. 5 with the man advantage (22.7 percent).
in Division I but managed only one score out of five chances, including a big power play chance late in the third period.
The Tigers did a good job denying the Pioneers entry into the CC zone late in the game after Denver was able to do so with regularity earlier.
“They did a good job making plays at key pressure points,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “When we forced them to the outside, we were quick to getting on the puck. They were aggressive when appropriate. They are feeling confident and comfortable within the system.”
The Tigers went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill Saturday night for a 7-for-8 weekend.
Long distance connection
The first two goals Friday by the Tigers were scored by players born 4,814 miles apart in sophomores Jared Hanson (Palmer, Alaska) and Cody Bradley (Tampa, Fla.). According to Mapquest, the 57-hour drive would cost $2,696 in gas alone.
Denver sophomore Joey LaLeggia, the NCHC’s top-scoring defenseman (19 points, nine goals), missed his third game in a row with a shoulder injury. … The next home game on Friday March 7 against No. 4 St. Cloud State will start at 7:07 p.m. to accommodate CBS Sports Network’s schedule. … Alex Roos’ game-winner was goal No. 25 by the rookie class, which accounts for 42.66 percent of CC’s 60 as a team this season. … No. 8 Wisconsin of the Big Ten will travel to Colorado to take on CC and Denver for single games over one weekend next season. … Denver goalie Sam Brittain and Nebraska-Omaha forward Ryan Walters are among the 10 senior CLASS Award national finalists. … Eleven of the previous 14 games in the Denver-Colorado College series have ended in a tie or been decided by a single goal.