COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It took a period, but the Colorado College Tigers finally awoke from their offseason slumber and roared to life, scoring five times in the second frame en route to a 6-1 victory over Union in game two of the Ice Breaker Invitational on Friday night.
After taking 20 minutes to find its skating legs, Colorado College began to pour on the offense by using speed through the neutral zone and creating turnovers. Odd-man rushes accounted for three of the Tigers’ goals on the night.
“They have an amazing transition game and they have a great power play,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman. “Those were the two things we were trying to shut down, but we were a little too careless with the puck and that fueled their transition game, and we took too many penalties.”
The Tiger on the scoring end of all three of the two-on-one rushes was Derek Patrosso, whose three goals more than doubled his freshman season output. Patrosso buried passes from Scott McCulloch at 7:14 of the second period, Brett Sterling at 16:03 of the middle frame, and Marty Sertich at 1:28 of the third, firing the puck high over a helpless Union goaltender Kris Mayotte each time.
“We saw that in flashes last year, but it never really came together in games,” said Colorado College coach Scott Owens of his newest top-liner. “He’s got great hands, and we’re very pleased that he capitalized tonight.”
After the game, Patrosso spoke about the pressures which haunted him during his freshman campaign and the benefits of confidence.
“Over the summer and the past two years I’ve been working on my shot,” he explained. “I was relieved to get the first one, and after that it was just confidence. I think a lot of last year was just having confidence problems. I worked on that this summer by waking up each morning and telling myself I could score goals.”
As Leaman feared, Colorado College looked solid on its power play as well, scoring twice with the man-advantage. A Hobey Baker finalist just one year ago, Sterling notched his first goal on the new campaign on a beautiful backdoor pass from defenseman Brian Salcido midway through the second period. Meanwhile, Tiger freshman Chad Rau collected his first goal with a wrist shot from the high slot just two minutes later.
Scott McCulloch also scored for Colorado College with a one-timer from between the rings late in the second period.
The one bright spot on the evening for the Skating Dutchmen was the play of standout Olivier Bouchard. The junior’s dazzling stickhandling display at 11:01 of the second period helped set up Union’s lone goal, scored by Josh Coyle.
“He’s a good hockey player,” said Leaman of Bouchard. “We have a lot of good hockey players, but we didn’t show it tonight. ‘Booch’ made a good play. He made two or three good plays tonight.”
Meanwhile, the one dark spot for the already banged-up Tigers was the loss of Andreas Vlassopoulos midway through the third period. The freshman went down with an unspecified leg injury and will be sidelined for the remainder of the weekend.
No. 6 Colorado College will host No. 11 Maine Saturday night in the final game of the Ice Breaker Invitational. Meanwhile, Union will try to turn things around against Air Force.