COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Freshman goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 22 saves to earn his first career shutout as Colorado College shut out MSU-Mankato, 2-0, in front of 5,911 fans Friday night at the Colorado Springs World Arena. The win improved CC’s record to 12-7-2 (8-6-1 WCHA) and dropped MSU-Mankato to 9-13-1 (5-11-1).
“This was a great win for us,” said CC head coach Scott Owens. “It was not pretty, and it was not great for the fans to watch, but it is a huge win for us. With all of the other games in the league ending as they did, we had a great chance to gain some ground on the leaders, and we took advantage of that.”
After playing a relatively even first period, that saw neither team have any strong scoring chances, CC began to take the play to the Mavericks in the second period.
“I think tonight’s turning point came when they got a penalty midway through the second period,” said Owens. “We didn’t score on it, but the power-play unit had some great chances and it energized us.”
The Tigers put the first goal on the scoreboard just seconds after that power play ended. CC defenseman James Laux made a pass to fellow defenseman Andrew Canzanello who sent a wrist shot towards the net. Tiger forward Chris Hartsburg was sitting in front of the net and deflected the shot past Maverick goaltender Jason Jensen.
Another key moment came just seconds into the third period when McElhinney was forced to make a big save against the Mavericks. McElhinney made a huge save, and CC turned the puck up ice and scored to make it a 2-0 game.
Forward Noah Clarke took a shot from the top of the right circle that was partially blocked by the Maverick defenseman. Unfortunately for MSU-Mankato, the puck deflected right onto the stick of forward Tyler Liebel who buried it for his first goal of the season. Forward Scott Polaski also assisted on the goal.
The two goals spoiled a stellar outing by Jason Jensen, who stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced, many of which were high quality scoring opportunities. Jensen’s record fell to 5-8-1. McElhinney improved his record to 4-0-1 following the win.
“I was getting a little nervous towards the end,” said McElhinney. “But the defensemen helped me out. They blocked a lot of a shots, and prevented a lot of their offense from doing much. It was a good win for us.”