COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Struggling with three key injuries, the Colorado College Tigers were still able to hang onto a 4-2 lead to complete their weekend sweep of the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves on Saturday.
Junior forward Chris Hartsburg suffered a deep thigh bruise in the first period, sophomore defenseman Tom Preissing bruised a knee, and junior defenseman Mike Stuart aggravated a shoulder injury, forcing Colorado College to shorten its bench.
“Obviously, it made us play with a greater sense of urgency,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “Our power play toward the end was basically patchwork, with guys who had never played there before.”
The Seawolves got the game off to a quick start. Less than two minutes into the period, freshman forward Pete Talafous, with help from junior winger Mike Scott and senior defenseman Steve Ludwig, sent the puck over the shoulder of Colorado College goaltender Jeff Sanger. The goal was the second of this series for Talafous, who tallied the Seawolves’ lone lamplighter in last night’s matchup.
The Tigers answered at the 4:14 mark, when junior center Mark Cullen picked off a rebound to find the back of the net. Wingers Alex Kim and Peter Sejna assisted on the goal to tie the game at 1.
Colorado College seized the lead three-and-a-half minutes later when freshman defenseman Andrew Canzanello charged in alone on the breakaway and fired the puck from dead center. Canzanello’s goal, the first of his collegiate career, put the Tigers up, 2-1.
“It felt really great to get that goal,” said Canzanello. “I’ve had many chances this season, so it was about time to crack one in.”
Just over 12 minutes into the second stanza, Colorado College extended its lead to 3-0 when junior forward Trent Clark, picking up rebounds from senior defenseman Mike Colgan and sophomore center Joe Cullen, was able to tap the puck past Seawolves goaltender Chris King.
At 15:34, Anchorage narrowed the gap to 3-2, taking advantage of Tiger defenseman Mike Stuart’s slashing penalty.
Seawolves center Steve Cygan received the puck from sophomore forward Morgan Roach and put a shot on net from the corner of the slot. Sanger blocked the shot, but sophomore center Jesse Unklesbay was waiting in front of the net to snag the rebound and fire it in, scoring just four seconds into the power play.
CC opened up the gap to 4-2 just 3:18 into the third period. Sejna took the feed from senior defenseman Paul Manning, wrapped around the net, and passed to Mark Cullen, who was waiting in front of the net to flip it in.
Despite a late power-play opportunity for the Seawolves, the Tigers held on for the 4-2 win.
Colorado College’s series next weekend with St. Cloud State is a crucial one for seeding near the top of the WCHA standings.
“With these big games coming up, these key injuries are going to be a big concern,” said Owens. “We need to adjust and get sharper.”