DULUTH, Minn. — Freshman goalie Richard Bachman handled a difficult week and Colorado College survived a lack of numbers to move closer to a Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season title Friday night at the DECC.
Colorado College gained sole possession of first place with a 3-0 victory over Minnesota Duluth before 4,632 spectators.
Bachman, who attended the funeral of a grandmother on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah, arrived in Duluth about 12:15 a.m., saw the DECC for the first time at a morning skate, and then shut out the No. 8-ranked Bulldogs for a second straight game.
The No. 4 Tigers (22-8-1, 17-5-1 WCHA) took a two-point lead over North Dakota, which is playing out of the league this weekend. UMD (12-11-6, 8-10-5) dropped from sixth to seventh in the WCHA, being passed by St. Cloud State after a 4-1 home win over Michigan Tech.
My family understood what I had to do, that I had to come here and play, and I had to play well for my family, said Bachman, who is from Highlands Ranch, Colo., and leads the WCHA in goals-against and save percentage. We kind of rose above everything and thats a good sign for our team.
Duluth was throwing shots hard at us and crashing the net. They were right with us the whole game.
What the Tigers had to survive was losing winger Addison DeBoer to a shoulder injury nine minutes into the game and then losing defenseman Nate Prosser to a checking-from-behind major penalty with three minutes left in the first period. Two other forwards are out because of injuries.
Colorado College coach Scott Owens liked the effort he got. Centers Andreas Vlassopoulos and Chad Rau scored goals 25 seconds apart in the second period, and Vlassopoulos added a goal early in the third. Bachman had 31 saves.
We scored some nice goals, then tried to let Duluth back in the game with a slew of penalties, but we looked quick all night and got a huge win, Owens said. Richard stood tall and looked confident. Hes the main reason were in first place, and we dont apologize for that.
UMDs Alex Stalock was also strong in goal as the Bulldogs led in total shots 31-28. The WCHAs top two penalty-killing teams were also perfect in that category as UMD went 0-for-7 and Colorado College 0-for-8 on the power play.
Bachman, who beat UMD 3-0 on Nov. 10 in Colorado Springs, Colo., now has a shutout streak against the Bulldogs of 137 minutes, 46 seconds. The Tigers are 10-2-1 in 2008.
It was a feeling-out process in the first period and in the second we got going, then we had some lapses, said UMD captain Matt McKnight. Our effort was decent for the most part, but three breakdowns ended up in three goals in our net.
We talked about it all week that Colorado likes to skate up and down the rink, and we wanted to slow it down and cycle the puck. We cycled the puck, but you still have to get pucks to the net.
The Tigers lost Prosser, a sophomore from Elk River, Minn., with 2:44 left in the first period on a checking-from-behind major as he knocked UMD winger Andrew Carroll head-first into the sideboards.
In the second period, Vlassopoulos connected from the right circle on a sniping shot at 8:12, and, following a UMD turnover at neutral ice, winger Mike Testwuide found Rau alone in front of Stalock for a goal at 8:37. For Rau, a junior from Eden Prairie, Minn., it was his 20th goal of the season.
The Bulldogs, home for the first time in five weeks, made Bachman work the last two periods.
He gloved Justin Fontaines shot in the second, stopped McKnight from close range midway through the third and got a leg on a Jordan Fulton shot late in the third.
But the Bulldogs couldnt break through and lost for the third time at home this season.
We made some bad mistakes and they cost us at least two goals, said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. You have to bear down a little more. Well have to play as hard and keep creating the same chances.
Kevin Pates covers Minnesota-Duluth for the Duluth News-Tribune in Duluth, Minn.