2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Tigers fall 2-1 in overtime at Omaha

Published: March 1, 2014, 6:48 pm, by Joe Paisley

Massa picOMAHA, Neb. – The Tigers can leave Omaha knowing they bounced back and played better hockey.

But they left without a win and as the seventh seed in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs.

Colorado College fell short in a 2-1 overtime loss at Nebraska-Omaha Saturday, one night after a 6-0 loss. The setback in the series finale was especially tough since CC could not score over the final 60:20 of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game.

“We have had a lot of games like that this year,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens, referring to a 1-8-6 record in one-goal games. “We competed and we battled. But it never should have reached that point (overtime). But scoring is tough for us.”

UNO senior defenseman Michael Young scored from a few feet away for the game-winner 55 seconds into the extra frame. A rebound bounced over to Young, who scored his first goal of the season, for the third-place Mavericks (15-15-2, 12-8-2-1 NCHC).

The loss means the Tigers (6-20-6, 6-11-5-1, 24 points) are unable to overtake sixth-place Denver (15-13-6, 9-10-3-2) and its 32 league points with two games remaining. Minnesota-Duluth downed Miami 1-0 on Saturday to send the RedHawks (17 points) into the playoffs as the low seed.

No. 5 St. Cloud State downed No. 10 North Dakota 3-1 to forge a tie atop the standings (42 points apiece) with UNO in third with 39. Any of the three could finish as the No. 2 seed and be CC’s playoff road opponent.

Tigers senior Charlie Taft scored only 35 seconds in to stake CC to a 1-0 lead early. The wrist shot was made from a tough angle to beat UNO junior goalie Ryan Massa (26 saves). The score set the tone for a better game by CC.

“We knew we had to put forth a better effort,” Taft said. “We played tough but couldn’t we couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Nebraska-Omaha tied it at 1-1 when Jake Guentzel scored on a power play with 8:20 left in the opening period.

Senior goalie Josh Thorimbert bounced back from a tough Friday (one save) and kept CC in the game with two big-time stops in the final 1:45 of regulation and 35 saves overall.

He kicked away a shot by Ryan Walters on a breakaway with 1:45 left and then recovered to stop a rebound attempt by Dominic Zombo with 54 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Now, Thorimbert and his teammates must wait to see who they will play in the postseason, which may be next week’s home foe, SCSU.

“With the exception of when we were on the PK (penalty kill) we played them (UNO) pretty evenly,” he said. “We need to keep playing hard and working to get better for the playoffs.”

Nebraska-Omaha 2, Colorado College 1 OT

Colorado College         1          0          0          0          –1

Nebraska-Omaha         1          0          0          1          –2

First period – 1. CC, Taft (unassisted):35; 2, UNO, Guentzel (Young, Montpetit) 11:40 (PP). Penalties – CC, Olofsson, cross-checking, 5:17; CC, Stoykewych, boarding, 10:04.

Second period – No scoring. Penalties – UNO, Seeler, cross-checking, 4:28; CC, Rothstein, holding, 10:10; CC, Krushelnyski, unsportsmanlike conduct, 10:10; UNO, Cooper, slashing, 15:30; CC, McDermott, tripping, 17:44; CC, Stoykewych, checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct, 18:47.

Third period – No scoring. Penalties – UNO, Searfoss, slashing, 7:25.

Overtime – 3. UNO, Young (Walters, Montpetit) :55. Penalties – none.

Power play – CC 0-3, UNO 1-6. Shots on goal – CC 11-11-5-0 – 27; UNO 8-13-14-2 –37. Saves-minute – CC, Thorimbert 7-13-14-1 – 60:55; UNO, Massa, 10-11-5-0 – 60:52. Referees – Dreger, B. Shepherd. Linesmen – Fitzpatrick, Stanton. Attendance – 8,744 (16,680 capacity).

STANDINGS

Conference Overall
Team Pts GP W L T SW Win% GF GA GP W L T Win% GF GA
North Dakota 42 22 14 8 0 0 0.636 73 61 32 19 10 3 0.641 101 84
St. Cloud State 42 22 13 6 3 0 0.659 76 59 32 19 8 5 0.672 114 86
Nebraska Omaha 39 22 12 8 2 1 0.591 76 60 32 15 15 2 0.500 106 101
Minnesota Duluth 34 22 10 10 2 2 0.500 60 64 32 15 13 4 0.531 90 91
Western Michigan 34 22 10 10 2 2 0.500 64 66 34 16 13 5 0.544 91 89
Denver 32 22 9 10 3 2 0.477 54 54 34 15 13 6 0.529 86 77
Colorado College 24 22 6 11 5 1 0.386 47 64 32 6 20 6 0.281 61 100
Miami 17 22 5 16 1 1 0.250 52 74 32 11 18 3 0.391 92 98