COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — They wanted a better start and they got it.
Backed by two goals apiece from Marty Sertich and Scott Thauwald, No. 5 Colorado College took it to Michigan Tech, 5-1, in front of 6,419 at the World Arena, completing a two-game sweep following a 6-1 Tiger win on Friday.
CC head coach Scott Owens wanted the Tigers to play a better first period after only getting eight shots on net in the opening period of the series. The Tigers delivered, putting 12 shots on goal and three in the net before the end of one.
“I was pleased with the way we came out tonight,” said Owens. “Obviously, getting a big jump and not giving them confidence was huge for us. I thought both teams skated so much better than last night. Getting the three goals quickly took a little bit of starch out of them but they battled back in the second period, it was a good team win tonight.”
Relentless defense that only allowed two shots on CC netminder Matt Zaba, paired with a group of fast, powerful forwards, allowed CC to take the early lead. After relieving Cam Ellsworth near the end of Friday night’s contest, roles were reversed as MTU sophomore goaltender Bryce Luker got the starting nod but was pulled after three Tiger goals within a two-minute span in the middle of the period.
“I thought Colorado College played very well,” said MTU head coach Jamie Russell. “We certainly dug ourselves a hole with three goals early but I thought we were playing pretty solid.”
Marty Sertich continued to produce for the Tigers, putting a one-timer high on Luker’s stick side at 12:08 after Jimmy Kilpatrick backhanded a pass in front of the net to the junior center. Weston Tardy earned the second assist on the play as the Tigers went up 1-0.
Forty-eight seconds later, Brady Greco netted CC’s second goal of the game, while Scott Polaski recorded his fourth assist of the series and Aaron Slattengren posted his third. Less than a minute later, at 13:51, a Trevor Frischmon feed to Scott Thauwald led to the third CC goal.
A penalty-laden middle frame that saw a total of eight minors allowed one goal for each team. After CC captain Mark Stuart started a fight with Chris Conner and received a double minor for roughing and instigating at 10:03, Brandon Schwartz put the Huskies on the board to cut the CC lead to two.
Schwartz’ goal came at 10:32 from Lars Helminen and MTU captain Colin Murphy, both of whom had been on six-game scoring streaks going into the Friday night game. Murphy also ranked third in the nation in scoring after a four-point effort last Saturday at St. Cloud.
With less than a minute left in the second, Thauwald got an easy tip-in while waiting on the doorstep, for his second tally of the night. Sertich and Jimmy Kilpatrick each posted an assist as the Tigers went up 4-1 heading into the last period of play.
Thauwald netted the game-winner in the previous night’s win, giving him three goals in the last two outings and helping to spread out the Tigers’ scoring.
“That was one of our big concerns,” said Owens. “The first month was pretty much the Sterling and Sertich show, but we were able to, these last few weeks, really get some scoring from different sources, like Thauwald and [Scott] McCulloch.”
Sertich notched his second goal of the game at 12:25 of the last period when he received a pass from Joey Crabb and skated straight toward the net, dumping it in just under Ellsworth’s stick hand to close out the scoring and give CC the 5-1 win.
After allowing five goals on Friday, Ellsworth allowed two on 24 shots in the final 45 minutes of play for MTU, while Luker let in three goals on 10 shots. Zaba made 18 saves for CC.
“I thought their goaltender played extremely well, ours struggled. We’re a young team, we make mistakes and even when we’re playing pretty solid in our own end, an 86-87 save percentage is tough when you have a real young team,” said Russell.
MTU now holds a 1-10-0 overall record and a 1-9-0 record in the WCHA, but Russell sees improvement.
“We’ve had a tough schedule,” he said. “We’re taking steps and moving in the right direction, but we want to be playing our best hockey at the end of the year.”