COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On a crisp, clear Saturday night in Colorado Springs, the Colorado College Tigers found themselves weathering a St. Cloud State storm for most of the third period of a surprisingly tight second game of the surprisingly tight series.
Down 3-2 in the final minute, the Huskies generated several quality chances against a scrambling Tigers defense. Colorado College goaltender Matt Zaba made several key saves, however, and helped his squad to a one-goal victory and a perfect 4-0-0 WCHA record.
Colorado College’s fourth line paced the Tigers (9-1-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) with the game’s first two tallies. Senior Aaron Slattengren found a gift on his backhand in the St. Cloud (2-5-1, 1-4-1) crease and buried the puck into an open side at 13:39 of the first period. The Tigers extended their lead 13 minutes into the second period when Scott Thauwald fired a slap shot high above the right shoulder of Huskies goaltender Time Boron in his first game back following an ACL injury suffered last January.
“It was a long time, but I guess all the rehab and hard work paid off,” said Thauwald. “It’s good to get back out there but there are still a lot of things I need to work on conditioning-wise. I felt a little tentative out there, but in time I’ll get it back.”
“I thought that whole line played well,” said Colorado College head coach Scott Owens of Thauwald, Slattengren, and Braydon Cox, who totaled four points on the night (2-2). “They had good energy, and Scott really didn’t look like he’d missed 10 months.”
Thanks to solid goaltending from Boron, however, St. Cloud hung around with Colorado College. The Huskies turned barks into bites in the third period, nipping at the heels of the Tigers for the entire 20 minutes.
St. Cloud scored just 20 seconds into the final period, as Andrew Gordon potted his third goal and sixth point of the season to narrow the Colorado College lead to 2-1.
Colorado College regained a two-goal edge seven minutes into the third period thanks to a seeing-eye shot from Trevor Frischmon. The senior snuck into the right circle untouched and snapped a shot off of the near post and into the back of the net to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
The Huskies’ top line responded less than a minute later, however. Joe Jensen glided in towards the Tigers net on a two-on-one rush and fired the puck just under Zaba’s outstretched left pad.
“That Jensen line is as good of a line as we’re going to see all year,” said Owens. “They really took it to us, played with a lot of energy, and Joe Jensen is a good hockey player.”
St. Cloud continued to pressure Zaba, and created multiple point-blank chances and odd-man rushes. But Colorado College proved why it was ranked No. 1 last week with its play down the stretch.
“They came out guns a-blazin’ at the start of the third and they got the energy off of that first goal,” said Owens of the Huskies. “But in the last couple of minutes I think we were pretty calm under the pressure.”
Colorado College will attempt to continue its WCHA unbeaten streak when it visits the equally hot Wisconsin next weekend.
“[St. Cloud] is good, but we haven’t played the Wisconsins, the Denvers, or the Minnesotas yet,” said Owens. “But it’s just nice to collect points when you think you can.”
Meanwhile, St. Cloud State hopes to get back on the winning track next weekend with a pair of games at Michigan Tech.