COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado College scored two second-period goals 20 seconds apart en route to a 3-1 win over North Dakota, in front of 7,237 fans Saturday night at the Colorado Springs World Arena. With the win, CC earned its first sweep of the Sioux since the Tigers accomplished the feat Nov. 24-25, 1995.
“These were two huge games for us,” said Colorado College head coach Scott Owens. “The guys were down after last Saturday’s loss to Mankato. Usually teams bounce back, but they were having problems, so we worked hard during the week on sticking together and being a team, and you saw the results of that yesterday and today. This was just a great two games for us.”
CC goaltender Jeff Sanger agreed. “This was a huge win for us, not only the fact that we came away from this weekend with four points, but sweeping North Dakota is a really good feeling. They are the best; they keep playing and never quit. They did it last night and we managed to hold on and tonight we played a strong sixty minutes.”
Just as in Friday’s contest, the Tigers came out of the gate fast and took it to North Dakota early, establishing a tone and getting the near-sellout crowd into the game. Those fans almost had something to cheer about as Colorado Springs native Scott Polaski scored what appeared to be his first collegiate goal at 9:25 of the period, but the goal was waved off by referee Tom Goddard, who claimed that Polaski had intentionally used his body to put the puck into the net.
Despite not getting that goal, Colorado College continued to dominate the first period and at 16:45 scored the game’s first goal. With North Dakota forward Brandon Bochenski serving a holding penalty, CC won the offensive-zone draw and set up the power play. Defenseman Tom Preissing had the puck at the blueline and passed it to forward Alex Kim on the right boards. Kim sent a quick pass to Peter Sejna, who was waiting at the top of the slot. Sejna one-timed the pass, not getting all of it but getting enough to beat North Dakota goaltender Jake Brandt to make it 1-0.
The Tigers continued to play strong at the start of the second, getting three excellent scoring opportunities and cashing in on two of them. At 4:04, Sejna collected his second goal of the evening after picking up a loose puck and firing into an open North Dakota net. Both Polaski and Mark Cullen were stopped by Jake Brandt right in front of the net, but Brandt could not control the third rebound, as Sejna found it. CC padded its lead 20 seconds later when forward Colin Stuart scored an unassisted goal, his eighth of the season.
North Dakota got one back with only 52 seconds remaining in the second period. On a play very similar to Sejna’s second goal, Sioux forward Tim Skarperud found a loose puck in front and backhanded it into the CC net. Sanger made point-blank saves on both Brandon Bochenski and Ryan Bayda but could not control the third rebound.
“The team played real well tonight,” said Polaski. “I didn’t get my first goal but I’ll get another chance, and the most important thing is that we got the win.”
Sejna echoed the theme of Tiger team unity. “When we went out to North Dakota at the start of the year and got swept, it slowed us down, and we struggled to get going as a team. Now we are finally in sync and playing well. This weekend did a great job to show how far we’ve come.”
Sanger earned his ninth win of the season, stopping 20 North Dakota shots. Brandt stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced in net for the Sioux.
Colorado College (14-8-2, 10-7-1 WCHA) returns to action next weekend, hosting two College Hockey America teams at the World Arena. On Friday, they face cross-town rival Air Force, before skating against Niagara on Saturday.
North Dakota (10-13-2, 5-11-2 WCHA) travels to Michigan Tech next weekend for a pair of WCHA games.