COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In the playoffs, heroes are born.
In a closely contested game between the Colorado College Tigers and the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, Mike Testwuide ended up being the hero, scoring the game-winning goal three minutes into overtime, lifting the Tigers to a 3-2 win and a 2-0 series sweep.
“I blacked out, I don’t know,” said Testwuide. “Bill [Sweatt] made a good play up the boards and I made a nice little play through a guy’s legs, and then I kind of held the puck, waited a little bit, and a guy dove I think. I don’t really know what happened after that. I’m so excited right now.”
Testwuides shot ended up going over the left shoulder of Seawolves’ netminder Jon Olthius (27 saves).
“He was one of the guys that wanted to be in the game at this time. He wanted to be a difference-maker and for that, it was great for us,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “He got in the paint area and got off a good shot. He’s a kid with a lot of confidence right now.”
Alaska Anchorage dominated the first two periods of play and it showed on the scoreboard. The Seawolves took the first lead six minutes into the opening frame when they took advantage of a tired CC penalty kill. Kane LaFranchise fired a shot from the left point that went short side on Tigers’ goaltender Richard Bachman (18 saves).
The Tigers did have a few good chances to tie it up, with the best coming with about two minutes to play in the first period, when a Jack Hillen shot rang off the right post.
Anchorage continued to carry the play into the second period, though the two teams exchanged goals. CC tied it up a little over four minutes into the second period when Sweatt knocked home a Testwuide pass backdoor on Olthius in a play similar to the one the two connected on in Friday night’s game.
Anchorage regained the lead, however, with about three and a half to play in the middle frame when Josh Lunden walked the puck out of the left corner and blasted a rocket past Bachman from the hash-marks.
“They were definitely stepping up and making some big hits and it rattled us a bit,” said Testwuide. “They were slowing our game down, because our game’s pretty much all speed, and they figured out a way to slow us down.”
The Tigers, however, came out with that speed blazing in the third period and ended up getting the game-tying goal.
“It came down to whoever was going to score that goal in the third period, to make it either 3-1 or 2-2, and I felt if we could get it to 2-2, we could win the game,” said Owens.
About six minutes into the third, CC did just that, when Testwuide picked up a drop pass from Chad Rau in the slot and whipped it past Olthius.
“He made a play to the net, I got the puck, I waited and waited; a guy went down on his knees, waited and I knew I was going to bury it five-hole,” Testwuide said. “The first two periods might have been a little shaky, but then in the third period, we knew we had to step up; we came out and we dominated the third period. We gave everything we had.”
“It was playoff hockey,” said Owens. “We looked a little sloppy again early, but I give them credit again. I’m happy we won; I feel a little bad for them because they had a young team and they had a good game plan.”
Though Testwuide’s goal in overtime ended the Seawolves’ season on a sour note, UAA head coach Dave Shyiak was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I thought the kids played a great game,” he said. “It was an outstanding game against an outstanding hockey team. It could have gone either way’ they got the bounces; we didn’t.
“[I'm] real proud of them. Like I told them, we’re a young team; we’re the youngest team in the league as far as the number of freshmen and sophomores and we’re obviously not happy with the wins we had this season, but I thought we set the standard of how we want to play this year. We play an entertaining brand of hockey, we forecheck, we’re physical, we generate shots, we generate scoring opportunities, and that’s something to build on for the future.”
The Tigers next play in St. Paul, Minn., at the WCHA Red Baron Final Five against a to-be-determined opponent on Friday, March 21.