COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sometimes, you get what you pay for, and the 7,696 standing-room only crowd in World Arena got just that Friday night.
Though the Colorado College Tigers and University of Denver Pioneers tied, 3-3, the game held a late tying goal for Pioneers’ fans and a Gold Pan victory for the Tigers’ faithful.
Ask each team, however, and both were glad to get a big conference point.
“[It was a] tough point to get; a tough game to play, having to come from behind in a building that historically has not been very kind for us,” said Pioneers’ coach George Gwozdecky. “In many ways, I was proud of our effort.”
“It’s a big point; they’re very hard to get,” said his Tigers’ counterpart Scott Owens. “It’s very, very hard, especially considering the schedule we have left. It’s always a big point.
Both teams had early chances to get on the board, but neither DU’s Kyle Ostrow nor CC’s Mike Testwuide could take advantage of their open net chances.
Despite being outshot 13-7 in the period, the Tigers scored first with a power-play goal 8:53 into the first period. Brian Connelly took a shot from the point that was tipped in front past DU goaltender Marc Cheverie (25 saves) by Stephen Schultz.
The Pioneers tied it up about 4:30 into the second period when Dustin Jackson skated into the Tigers’ zone, muscled his way through traffic to the front of the net and put the puck far side past CC netminder Richard Bachman (41 saves).
CC regained the lead at the 9:19 mark of the frame when Cody Lampl put an Eric Walsky rebound in the net. Just 1:36 later, the Tigers went up 3-1 on another tipped Connelly power play shot, this time with Bill Sweatt getting the goal.
The Pioneers rounded out the scoring in the frame with 4:43 to go in the period on a power-play goal of their own. Rhett Rakhshani passed the puck from behind the net to Joe Colborne in the slot, who put it under Bachman’s right shoulder.
Brian McMillin almost put the Tigers up 4-2 with about 2:40 left when he backhanded the puck out of the air towards the DU net, but it went off the crossbar behind Cheverie.
It appeared as if CC would hold their lead through the third, but Colborne tallied his second of the night to tie it up with 56.3 seconds remaining when he roofed one over Bachman’s left shoulder from the doorstep.
“I was kind of sliding back door thinking that I was going to scrum, maybe the puck would go behind the net or something and all of a sudden it was just out there on my stick,” said Colborne. “I was the lucky recipient.”
The teams battled throughout overtime, both getting several chances, but the contest ended in a tie.
“It’s a pretty weird sort of feeling,” said Colborne. “We obviously wanted two points, we had a chance for the Gold Pan, but when you look at it now, it was a huge, huge point for us in the standings, a huge character win for us that will hopefully carry us into Wisconsin.”
“We made the plays when we had to to get back in the game in time and tie it up so I was pleased with our effort and proud of our team to come back through some pretty good challenges tonight,” said Gwozdecky.
“If it wasn’t for Bachman, it would have been a loss,” said Owens. “It’s a strange deal. You get a tie, you get the Gold Pan, but it feels like a loss and they feel like a win and that’s the way it goes.”
The Tigers next play a non-conference matinee on Sunday against the United States Under-18 Team while the Pioneers are off until next weekend where they face the University of Wisconsin.