COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado College senior goaltender Jeff Sanger set a school record for most career shutouts, making 24 saves as the Tigers finished a weekend sweep of Harvard, 3-0, Saturday night in front of 6,555 at Colorado Springs World Arena.
Both defenses tightened up considerably from the previous night and Sanger did not have to work too hard for his seventh clean sheet. His toughest save of the night came midway through the second period when Crimson captain Steve Moore split the defense for a mini-breakaway.
“It was a much more difficult weekend than I thought it would be,” Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. “We simplified the defensive game and they responded. Sanger was nice, particularly sharp, and it was nice for him to get the shutout.”
While Sanger was quietly putting together a career milestone in between the pipes, at the other end, Tiger freshman Colin Stuart notched one of his own to provide all the offense CC would need.
At 12:38 of the first period, Stuart backhanded a nice feed from Shaun Winkler past Harvard goaltender Oli Jonas for his first collegiate goal.
Junior Jesse Heerema gave Colorado College a two-goal cushion at 18:07 of the second period. Most of the Tigers’ offense came in transition, catching the Crimson defensemen a little out of position, resulting in odd-man rushes and Heerema’s goal came at the end of such a sequence.
Colorado had a two-on-none rush which Jonas robbed. The puck came out to Mike Colgan at the center point and Jonas fought through a screen to stop that, but the rebound came to Heerema, who put it in the open goal.
“We’re a better team in transition when we pick off turnovers and go,” Owens said. “We didn’t convert on a few, we were a little cute.”
Jonas made 29 saves on the night.
Aside from a handful of breakdowns, Harvard did an excellent job containing the high-powered Tigers, especially on the penalty kill — Colorado College was 0-for-3 on the power play. The feat was particularly impressive considering the Crimson lost by far its best defenseman, junior assistant captain Pete Capouch, to a mild concussion on a hit by Colgan in the first period.
Capouch is not expected to miss any games.
Harvard, though it failed to win either game, certainly hung with one of the nation’s top teams in its trip out west. In addition to the experience gained, it appears that Harvard finally will be healthy when it resumes ECAC play against Union next Friday at home. Harvard expects the return of junior Graham Morrell and with the successful debut of freshman Kenny Smith, the Crimson will finally have a full defensive unit — presuming Capouch can play.
“I was proud of the way we competed,” Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni said. “People got a little excited when we cracked the rankings. We’re not there yet, but we competed with a top-5 team. Is Colorado better than us, yes. But is the difference that great? No.”