COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Propelled by a four-goal third period, Colorado College opened its regular season with a 6-2 victory over nonconference opponent Alaska-Fairbanks.
Despite the margin on the scoreboard, the Nanooks matched the Tigers both offensively and defensively.
“Their team matched our quickness, and they were bigger. They moved well, and they went to the net hard. The score is not indicative of the game. It was tough,” said Colorado College head coach Scott Owens.
Colorado College took the lead on a Colin Stuart goal with eight seconds remaining in the first period. Brandon Polich dumped the puck into the left corner where Joey Crabb picked it up and skated behind the net, to UAF goalie Keith Bartusch’s right. Bartusch made the save on Crabb’s shot, and Stuart rebounded it over Bartusch’s pads for the 1-0 lead.
Though the shots on goal were 7-5 in favor of Colorado College at the end of the first, there were many more opportunities. Each team had a power play; Colorado College was able to get off three power-play shots, while Alaska-Fairbanks had two.
On one Alaska-Fairbanks tripping penalty CC sophomore Marty Sertich was awarded a penalty shot. Sertich crossed the blueline, deked twice and shot on the left side. Bartusch easily made the save.
In spite of giving the Nanooks three power plays in the second stanza, the Tigers stayed alive. The Nanooks started off the second with a power-play goal at 2:49 by Corbin Schmidt, to tie the score, 1-1. Tom Herman passed the puck out of the corner to Schmidt at the blueline, who one-timed it past CC goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
The Tigers quickly answered at 5:06. Sertich made an up-ice pass to the neutral zone where Brett Sterling was waiting. Sterling took the puck into the zone and passed it to Andrew Canzanello in front of the net. Canzanello put the puck past Bartusch’s left side to go up 2-1.
Nanooks forward Aaron Voros took a penalty just over one minute later to give CC a fourth power-play opportunity. Forty-eight seconds into the penalty UAF forward Cory Rask took the puck into the offensive zone, where CC blueliner Brady Greco backchecked the puck behind the net. Rask got hold of the puck and flipped it in front to Tom Herman, who one-timed it from the doorstep to score the shorthanded goal, and tie the score again at 2-2.
The Tigers dominated the third period, scoring four goals, including a shorthander and a power-play goal. Opening the scoring at only 3:04 was Braydon Cox, whose shot from the point beat Bartusch on the near side, on a pass from Ryan Campbell.
Just over five minutes later, CC sophomore defenseman Mark Stuart scored from inside the blueline. Brandon Polich won the faceoff back into the zone to Stuart, who went top-shelf on the near side to beat Bartusch.
Then, with Scott Thauwald in the box, Colin Stuart stole the puck into the offensive zone. His attempt rebounded to Scott Polaski, whose shot trickled in the five hole.
CC’s sixth and final tally came on a power play. The Tigers cycled the puck through the zone and got it to Westin Tardy at the point. Tardy wristed the puck, which was tipped into the net by Joey Crabb.
“I think CC picked it up a little bit [in the third period]. They definitely had a bunch of chances — I know they hit a couple posts. And they just kept coming. They’re very fast and exciting. They finish well and they took it to us late,” said UAF head coach Guy Gadowsky.
McElhinney registered the win by making 25 saves, including 13 in the second period. The Nanooks defense held CC to 22 shots.