The No. 7 seed Tigers could not sustain a strong start, eventually falling 4-2 to the hosts in Game 1 of their National Collegiate Hockey Conference quarterfinal series. CC pulled senior goalie Josh Thorimbert (18 saves) with 1:46 left but could not mount a rally.
“We got away from what we were doing and started making turnovers and failing to get the puck out of the zone,” freshman Sam Rothstein (one goal, one assist) said. “We had our chances on the power play and on odd-man rushes.”
“We had a chance to put the game away in the first period and we didn’t,” junior Peter Stoykewych said referring to the five Grade A scoring chances generated by the Tigers.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is at 6:08 p.m. MT Saturday.
North Dakota dominated the second period and scored twice to take a 3-2 lead before 10, 217 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“They worked their way back into the game,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “I am disappointed we could not build off the positive start we had with a third goal.”
North Dakota tied the game at 2-2 on when junior Mark MacMillan made a crossing pass to a wide-open Michael Parks, who skated in and shot the puck in under the crossbar.
The goal continued a strong second period for the hosts, capped by an a poor pass by CC’s Jaccob Slavin that led to an unassisted goal for UND center Bryn Chyzyk with 1:23 left for a 3-2 North Dakota lead.
The eventual game-winning goal was the sophomore’s first score since Jan. 10 against the Tigers.
“It was a gift and I’ll take it,” he said.
The defensemen jump-started the Tigers offense when Stoykewych fired a shot that Rothstein redirected between UND sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg’s leg pads for a 1-0 lead. The goal came only 72 seconds into the contest. About five minutes later, Aaron Harstad fired a shot that made its way past Gothberg with 12:55 remaining.
North Dakota got back in the game when Drake Caggiula scored to make it 2-1 with 7:49 remaining and blunt the start by the Tigers (6-23-6).
“We were down 2-0 and shocked a little bit,” Chyzyk said. “That was a huge goal. That is a much better team than their record this season. They will be hungry tomorrow.”
North Dakota was the only higher seed to win Friday after No. 8 Miami upended St. Cloud State 5-4 in overtime, No. 5 Western Michigan edged Minnesota Duluth 3-2 and Denver tied its best-of-three series at a game apiece with a 5-1 road win over No. 3 seed Nebraska-Omaha.
No. 10 North Dakota 4, Colorado College 2
Colorado College 2 0 0 –2
North Dakota 1 2 1 –4
First period – 1. CC, Rothstein (Stoykewych, Olofsson) 1:12; 2. CC, Harstad (Slavin, Rothstein) 7:05; 3, UND, Caggiula (Ma. MacMillan, LaDue) 12:11. Penalties – UND, Rodwell, interference, 9:39.
Second period – 4. UNDS, Parks (Ma. MacMillan, Caggiula) 7:14 (PP); 5. UND, Chyzyk (unassisted) 18:07. Penalties – CC, Krushelnyski, hooking, 2:10; CC,McDermott, interference, 6:51; UND, Pattyn, roughing, 7:22.
Third period – 6, UND, O’Donnell (Schmaltz, Rodwell) 8:08. Penalties – UND, Ma. MacMillan, cross-checking, 10:47.
Power play – CC 0-3, UND 1-2. Shots on goal – CC 11-5-6 –22; UND 7-10-5 –22. Saves-minutes – CC, Thorimbert 6-8-4 –58:14; UND, Gothberg 9-5-6 –59:34. Referees – Sterens, Walsh. Linesmen – Eslinger, Schmitt. Attendance – 10, 217 (11,634 capacity).
Krushelnyski completing strong Tigers career
Colorado College senior Alexander Krushelnyski has been a strong all-around forward throughout his four years in a Tigers uniform.
This season he added another duty; mentor, said CC assistant Eric Rud.
“He’s a senior who has filled whatever role given him,” Rud said, adding that his work with freshmen Alex Roos and Sam Rothstein showed his willingness to help the rookies.
It was a different role than before and one that Krushelnyski took on as a learning experience after a career year (43 points, 28 assists) his junior season.
“Every team is different and every season is a learning experience,” he said. “Life is a learning experience.”
The senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., cracked the program’s Century Club with his 100th career point (41 goals) on an empty-netter that clinched the Gold Pan series win over Denver.
His ability to freelance draws a lot of attention whenever he touches the puck; you can hear the CC fans go abuzz when he does. That creativity generates chances for himself and his linemates.
“Communication has been important,” Roos said. “He was always willing to listen to whatever ideas we had. He didn’t dismiss it because we are new. With his ability to create, you have to make sure to get open and be ready.”
Krushenyski’s efforts on the defensive end were recognized by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference coaches when he was named as one of three finalists for Defensive Forward of the Year. He is on the league’s scholar-athlete team and one of eight finalists for that individual award.
“He’s a student of the game and plays important minutes,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “He’s an efficient penalty-killer who makes smart decisions with the puck. He has played well on both ends his entire career. He has earned respect around the league.”
Thorimbert climbs up career saves list
With 17:28 left in the second period, CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert made career save No. 2,070, which moved him past NHL netminder Curtis McElhinney (2,069, 2001-5) into ninth place all-time at CC. Jeff Sanger (2,161, 1998-2002) is in eighth. The record is 3,630 by Marty Wakelyn (1982-86).