COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado College has made great strides on both sides of the ice this season. The improvements were evident again tonight, as the Tigers drilled Wisconsin 6-1 before a crowd of 7,450 spectators at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
Senior winger Derek Patrosso had two goals and two assists and Andreas Vlassopoulos had a pair of goals and one assist. Wisconsin outshot CC 32-28 on the night, but were unable to generate much of an inside attack on Tigers’ goaltender Richard Bachman, who is now 7-0-0 in WCHA play.
CC got on the board nine minutes in when Patrosso stuffed in a loose puck under the pads of Connelly. Jack Hillen initially tried to slide it past Connelly only to be stopped. Patrosso tapped the rebound into the back of the net.
On this night, and throughout the weekend, Wisconsin continued to struggle on the power play. Not only were they not converting on the man advantage, but they gave up shorthanded goals, as when Chad Rau grabbed the puck off of a Badger turnover, skated all alone past the blue line and beat Connelly low glove side. Rau’s unassisted goal at 12:38 made it 2-0 CC.
“Our turnovers killed us; it’s very simple,” said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves. “We had every intent of going out and there and playing well. The execution of passing the puck and connecting the dots early in the game put us in a huge hole.”
The ardent CC attack continued late in the first when Vlassopoulos collected a soft pass from Patrosso and fired a wrist shot low between the pads of Connelly. Vlassopoulos’ third of the year, at 19:15 of the period, made it 3-0. The three first period goals set the mood for the rest of the contest, as the Tigers were flying up and down the ice.
“We just moved our feet better. We were skating better,” said CC coach Scott Owens on his team’s effort. “We established the tempo because of the fact we were moving well; we forced them to make some mistakes and took advantage of them.”
The Tigers’ assault continued seven minutes into the second period when Bill Sweatt avoided a check from a Badgers’ defender, slipped through and found Vlassopoulos for an easy one-timer. The insurance goal came at 7:13 of the second stanza.
As if four wasn’t enough, CC’s second line contributed once more when Vlassopoulos found Patrosso in the middle slot unattended. Patrosso’s second goal of the contest and fourth point of the night made it 5-0 Tigers.
“We’re using both sides of the ice well, we’re spreading it out and the ‘D’ is making it easier to penetrate by working the puck from side to side,” said Patrosso.
The Badgers showed some life early in the third, as Patrick Johnson put away a Josh Engel rebound to make it 5-1 45 seconds in. The impact from the Wisconsin tally was minimal on this night, yet many CC players were upset that they relinquished the shutout for their young goaltender.
“They never should’ve had that goal,” Vlassopoulos said.
That spurt was short lived, as Hillen went coast-to-coast for CC and scored from a sharp angle. Hillen’s unassisted goal, at 3:42, made it 6-1.
The sticks proceeded to get up and both teams were issued multiple roughing minors. Later, Michael Davies was ejected from the contest after arguing his roughing call at 10:58 of the third.
Both teams shaped up on the penalties from that moment on, but the Badgers shooting efforts on Bachman came largely on the perimeter. CC’s quick start and strong overall attack were too much for Wisconsin.