COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — No. 2 Colorado College salvaged a weekend split by blanking St. Cloud State, 3-0, in front of 7,118 at World Arena on Saturday to increase its conference lead to two points and clinch one of the top three spots in the WCHA.
Each of the Tigers’ three goals came in the second period as Braydon Cox scored the game-winner to bring his career goals total to five, all of which have been game winners. CC goaltender Matt Zaba made sure Cox’s streak stayed alive, turning aside all 30 SCSU shots for his second shutout of the season.
“It was a good solid 60 minutes,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “We defended well and Zaba was real good in the third period in particular. [We had] a couple more power-play goals and had pretty solid 5-on-5 play. We just had more jump and we were playing our system better. We had a little bit of freshness with a couple different guys in the line-up and I think that helped us.”
A physical first period saw lots of hitting and scrambling for the puck, but no scoring. Despite having its leading scorer, Dave Iannazzo, sidelined with an injury sustained on Friday, and CC coming out harder than in the first game of the series, SCSU was again up to par with the Tigers, playing an evenly-matched 20 minutes.
In the second frame, CC exploded for three goals, including two with the man advantage to bring its season total to 45 power-play goals, with 16 in the last eight games.
Cox opened the scoring at 2:45 after grabbing the puck from the Huskies low in the right slot, doing a quick turnaround and putting it in the top corner over SCSU netminder Tim Boron’s stick side.
The first of the two middle-period power-play goals came at the 7:15 mark when Brett Sterling received a pass from the nation’s points leader, Marty Sertich, and put it in from the goal line just outside the right side of the crease for his third power-play goal in two nights and 14th of the season.
Less than 10 minutes later, at 15:53, Sterling and Sertich each had a hand in feeding Joey Crabb the puck directly in front of Boron for the 3-0 CC lead.
With at least two power-play tallies in each of the last five games, SCSU coach Craig Dahl attributed the Huskies’ loss to CC’s success on the advantage.
“It was the two power-play goals,” said Dahl. “Skilled players made the difference tonight. Obviously I felt we were a little tired after the trip to Anchorage and then the win last night took a lot out of us, but we fought back hard in the third period.”
In the final stanza, the Huskies out shot the Tigers, 16-12, but Zaba remained solid in net to secure the shutout. He now has just one loss in his last 10 starts (7-1-2) and improved to 9-3-2 overall, while Boron, who made 29 saves in the SCSU loss, now holds a 9-13-2 record.