MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 7 Colorado College Tigers started the third period trailing the Minnesota Golden Gophers by three goals 5-2. Just 14 seconds into the third period, Gabe Guentzel scored on a shot from the left point on a drop pass from Nate Prosser.
CC made it a one-goal game at 3:46 of the third on a breakaway goal by Tyler Johnson.
“We played with a lot of pride in the third; we made it a one-goal game,” said Scott Owens of his team’s comeback bid.
“It was a tough break to start the third,” commented Gophers’ coach Don Lucia.
Minnesota’s Aaron Ness then took a minor tripping penalty at 12:55 that put Colorado College on the man-advantage with a chance to tie the game, but the Gophers’ penalty kill held.
“The power play was the part that disappointed me in the third,” said Owens
The Gophers got the momentum back after the kill and got a critical goal at 16:53 by Cade Fairchild. Zach Buddish fed the puck back to the point, where Fairchild fired a shot into the upper corner glove side past Tigers’ goaltender Joe Howe.
Tony Lucia added an empty-netter at 18:20 to complete the scoring at 7-4.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said Don Lucia. “One of the keys was playing with a lead.”
Minnesota started the second period strong, scoring on a three-on-two rush that turned into a four-on-two play when eventual goal scorer Josh Birkholz joined the play late for a drop pass from Nick Leddy. Birkholz’ wrist shot beat Howe high at 2:53.
CC pulled within two goals at 16:05 when Kris Fredheim scored a power-play. The defenseman charged the center lane, where Tyler Johnson hit him with a pass from the left sidewall. Fredheim redirected the puck past Gophers’ goaltender Alex Kangas.
Nick Leddy and the Gophers answered within two minutes at 17:48 on a screen from the left point.
Colorado College started the first period stronger than Friday’s game tallying six shots to Minnesota’s four, but halfway through the period, things unraveled for the Tigers.
In a span of 1:42, Minnesota scored three goals and the Tigers one.
At 13:11, Mike Hoeffel started the scoring with a rebound goal while on a two man advantage. Jacob Cepis started the play by sending a diagonal pass back to Jordan Schroeder at the top left point. Schroeder one-timed the shot. The rebound fell in front of Howe, where Hoeffel slammed it home.
David Fischer made it 2-0 Minnesota 40 second later off a faceoff. Nick Larson won the draw back to Fischer. Fischer slid a pass to Birkholz and moved up the center lane. Birkholz gave the puck right back to Fischer, who one-timed it in the far left lower corner.
CC responded 20 seconds later where Prosser dug a puck out of the left corner and found Rylan Schwartz alone in front of Kangas. Schwartz slid the puck to his backhand and past Kangas.
The forth goal in the outburst came 42 second later on a puck juggled by Howe. Ness took a shot from the left point that trickled behind Howe. Cepis crashed the net and got a stick on the goalie’s skate, which pushed the puck in the net.
Next weekend Colorado College plays host to North Dakota while Minnesota heads to Minnesota-Duluth.