COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In a game between two of the top teams in the WCHA, the sold-out crowd at the Colorado Springs World Arena certainly got their money’s worth. The fans in attendance were treated to a wild, back-and-forth game which the Colorado College Tigers won, 6-5, over the visiting University of Wisconsin Badgers.
“I thought we came out well, I thought we skated well,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “I was very pleased with the way we came out to set the tone and get the building [involved].”
Just like last night’s contest, the pucks started going in the nets early. Unlike last night however, the Tigers got on the board first. Rylan Schwartz took a shot from the left point that was tipped past Badgers’ goaltender Scott Gudmandson by Andrew Hamburg 55 seconds into the game.
Less than a minute later, Brian McMillin flipped a pass from Tim Hall over Gudmandson’s left leg to put the Tigers up 2-0, prompting Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves to call his timeout.
“It was just to grab the reins a little bit, settle everybody down, talk about how there was a lot of time to play and try to turn this thing around,” he said.
In some sense, it worked, because the Badgers cut the Tigers’ lead down to one 88 seconds later when Ben Street got a breakaway and shot the puck stick-side past CC goaltender Joe Howe (35 saves).
From then, the game quieted down a little bit. With 5:42 to go in the opening frame, McMillin scored his second of the game. He took a shot in front, picked up his own rebound on the other side of the net and put it past Gudmandson (13 saves).
Nine seconds later, Hamburg got his second of the night with a quick goal right off a faceoff, causing Eaves to replace Gudmandson with Brett Bennett (15 saves).
The period took an ugly turn two and a half minutes later with pushing and shoving between the two teams, resulting in players for both sides being penalized for roughing.
The teams came back calmer and better behaved after the first intermission and, in the case of the Badgers, energized. At 3:34 into the second, Blake Geoffrion made it a 4-2 game when he fired a rocket from the top of the slot that beat Howe high and popped out as quickly as it went in.
“They made the goalie change and they kind of hung around,” said Owens. “They’re a good, offensive team.”
However, CC was quick to respond, regaining their three-goal lead a little over two minutes later. The Badgers won a faceoff to the right of Bennett to Cody Golubef, who tried to clear it around the net. However, the clearing attempt was picked up left of the net by Tyler Johnson who quickly put it past Bennett.
Wisconsin started the third period with a goal as well when Jordy Murray one-timed a pass from Derek Stepan up and over Howe about four minutes in to make it 5-3.
Neither team was done scoring, however, as Bill Sweatt took advantage of a missed clear in front of the Badgers’ net and an out of position Bennett to put CC up 6-3 with 7:01 remaining. Then, with 2:08 left, Street got his second of the contest when he poked a loose puck under a sprawled Howe to make it 6-4.
“I thought both the fifth and sixth goals came at a very opportunistic time,” said Owens. “They kind of came at a time where it just held them off a little bit, they threw everything at us and then we quit moving our feet. We were kind of stuck in our tracks.”
Eaves pulled Bennett in the last minute of play, with the gamble somewhat paying off when Michael Davies scored with .8 seconds remaining to make it 6-5, which would stand as the final score.
“That was probably the only silver lining to tonight, is that we didn’t give up; guys battled to the last 1.4 seconds and then we got the puck in the net on a hope and a prayer play, but they didn’t give up but at the same time, so disappointing not to have the start that we needed to have,” said Eaves. “We lost the game in the first period.”
The Badgers next return home to face the University of Denver while the Tigers travel north to face the University of Alaska-Anchorage.