COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The first of Colin Stuart’s two goals proved to be the game-winner as Colorado College defeated St. Cloud, 5-1, Saturday night in front of 6,222 at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
The top-ranked Huskies dropped to 13-2-1 (11-2-1 WCHA), while the No. 12 Tigers improved to 9-6-1 (5-6-1 WCHA).
“Coach [Scott Owens] challenged us after last night,” said CC forward Alex Kim. “Last night we had a lack of execution and we needed to fix that. Tonight, we stepped it up, played a full 60 minutes and picked up a hard-fought win.”
The first period of play was virtually a carbon copy of Friday night’s as Colorado College controlled much of the play. However, unlike last night, St. Cloud goalie Dean Weasler could not keep the Tigers off the scoreboard as CC converted on two of its 17 shots in the period.
Kim opened the scoring at 4:50 of the period, on a great play of defenseman Richard Petiot. Petiot carried the puck in from the blue line and shuffled a backhander on the net as he drove towards it. While Weasler was able to stop the initial shot, he was unable to control the rebound, which ended up on the stick of a streaking Kim, who backhanded it home for his seventh goal of the season.
“Petiot made a great play there,” said Kim. “Last night we didn’t get bounces like that. Tonight they went our way. We got a few early that helped us get a feel for the game. Last night, we could not solve Weasler, getting two goals early really helped get us going.”
CC added to its lead just over five minutes later on Colin Stuart’s fifth goal of the season. The play seemed to stop as the puck appeared to be trapped under fallen St. Cloud defenseman Colin Peters. However, Stuart dug it out, skated behind the net, and attempted a wraparound. Weasler made the save, but the rebound went right back to Stuart, who made it a 2-0 game.
The Tigers continued their strong play in the second period, scoring at 6:32 of the period. Tiger forward Peter Sejna carried the puck into the Husky zone on a two-on-one. He faked a pass across, which pulled Weasler off the near post, then put a wrist shot just inside that post to make it a 3-0 game.
The Tigers made it a 4-0 game six minutes later. CC defenseman Tom Preissing sprang Stuart on a breakaway. Stuart beat Weasler with the shot to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Exactly 50 seconds later, CC scored again on James Laux’s first career goal to essentially put the game away. Jason Krischuk and Chris Hartsburg received assists.
“The bottom line was that we worked really hard tonight,” said Kim. “James Laux scored his first goal, Curtis [McElhinney] made some big stops, and got an assist on the fourth goal. We just put it all out there. Tonight was a team effort, 21 guys came together.”
St. Cloud scored its lone goal at 4:10 of the third period on Ryan LaMere’s fourth goal of the season. Mark Hartigan received an assist.
CC freshman goalie McElhinney made 23 saves to record his third win of the season. Weasler stopped 33 shots in the loss.
St. Cloud State returns to action next weekend for a home-and-home series with Bemidji State. The Huskies travel to Bemidji for a 7:35 p.m. CT game on Friday, then host the Beavers on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CT at the National Hockey Center.
The Tigers are off until December 27, when they travel to Milwaukee to compete in the Bank One Badger Showdown. Colorado College will skate against New Hampshire in the tournament’s first game while Brown and Wisconsin will play in the second game.