COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Behind a hat trick from senior Bill Sweatt, the Colorado College Tigers netted three third period goals for a 4-2 come-from-behind exhibition win over the University of Calgary before 4,356 at the World Arena in Colorado Springs.
“For this being the first official day of the season, I was fine,” said Tigers’ coach Scott Owens. “It was a little bit sloppy, but I thought overall it was what I expected. I really like the way we competed in the third period. It’s nice when Bill can step up and give us a lift.”
Both teams exhibited sloppy play in the first period. Calgary had a good chance in the first minute when Cory Pritz picked up a drop pass at the left point and rifled a shot just wide left, then Tigers’ netminder Tyler O’Brien made a glove stop on a quick wrist shot from Eric Frere.
The Tigers best chance came at the midway point of the period when captain Mike Testwuide had two quick shots from the crease, but Dinos’ netminder Jeff Weber came up with the saves.
A sloppy Tigers’ turnover late in the period led to the first goal of the evening, when Brock Nixon picked up the turnover and skated in alone on O’Brien and beat him five-hole at 18:48.
It looked like that goal would hold up, but with just 18 seconds left, Sweatt grabbed a loose puck in the crease and beat Weber five-hole.
“Anytime they score a goal, it’s good to respond,” said Sweatt. “It gave us a little bit of momentum going into the second. We kept fighting.”
Fatigue seemed to affect Calgary in the second period, which was plagued with a lot of clutch-and-grab hockey. Tigers’ freshman netminder Hudson Stremmel played the second period.
The Tigers looked to have a lot of momentum early from their late goal in the first, but Weber came up with a big save off a Sweatt shot from the crease.
The Dinos got the only goal of the period. Nixon struck for his second of the game off a seemingly harmless draw to Stremmel’s left and one-timed it in at 11:15.
Buoyed by the goal, the Dinos pressured Stremmel, who made a big save on a tip-in try by Torrie Wheat from the right crease.
“He made an unbelievable save on that one,” said Sweatt. “It’s going to be real interesting to see which goaltender takes the reins, but they’re all battling and making each other better because of it.”
Late in the period, while on a power play, Weber made a huge “look what I found” glove save on a shot by Gabe Guentzel from the right point to preserve the lead.
An early highlight-reel goal by Sweatt in the third sparked the Tigers rally. Andreas Vlassopoulos fed a pass to Sweatt. who was streaking up the left side boards. At the left faceoff circle, Sweatt dropped low to the ice and slipped the puck through the skates of a Dinos’ defenseman, then picked it up behind the defenseman in the slot and beat Weber five-hole at 3:25.
Sophomore David Civitarese netted the game-winner at 9:26. Tyler Johnson, stationed behind the goal line, fed a pass to Civitarese in the crease and he beat Weber high glove side.
Sweatt added an empty-net goal at 19:12 to seal the win. Freshman netminder Joe Howe, who played the third period, finished with eight saves. O’Brien had seven saves and Stremmel had five. Weber finished with 28 saves.
Coming into the season, the loss of goaltender Richard Bachman, who signed with Dallas after his sophomore year, made the Tigers’ goaltending a huge question mark. Owens liked what he saw.
“Our plan was to play each goalie for one period, and we were pleased with that,” said Owens. “They didn’t get a ton of work, but each had to make one big-time save. This thing isn’t going to be resolved in 10 days; it’s going to be an ongoing thing. We’ll probably play a couple goalies I’d guess this weekend and go from there.”