On Halloween Eve, it was only fitting that the fans in the Colorado Springs World Arena would get some tricks and treats. The 6,798 in attendance were treated to a wild and wooly game, with a total of 13 total goals. The trick, however, was on the home town fans, as their Colorado College Tigers fell to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, 9-4.
“I’ve said sometimes, it’s not only who you play, it’s when you play them and I think we caught CC at a good time,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. “The good thing is, we were able to get advantage of that, so it was great to get the four points.”
Within the first minute of play, fans were treated to rushes by both teams, setting the tone for the rest of the game. The Tigers started things off with an early rush and then 53 seconds in, the Gophers took the lead and never gave it back when Zach Budish came down the ice and one-timed a shot from Jacob Cepis over Tigers goaltender Joe Howe’s right shoulder.
“It started with a turnover early and we defended as poorly as we’ve defended all season long,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
The game calmed down a bit until the Tigers tied it up a little over halfway through the period when Jaden Schwartz one-timed a pass from brother Rylan past Gophers netminder Kent Patterson (24 saves).
Three minutes later, an on-the-doorstep Taylor Matson backhanded the puck through Howe’s legs to make it 2-1 Minnesota. A little over three minutes after that, Pat White broke down on a two-on-one with Tom Serratore and snuck a shot under Howe’s pad to make it 3-1.
CC narrowed the gap to 3-2 going into the second period thanks to a late power-play goal when Jaden Schwartz got his second of the night, knocking in a Gabe Guentzel rebound past Patterson with 7.2 seconds remaining in the first.
Much like the first period, the Gophers started off the scoring in the second as well. Cepis, hanging out in front of the net, tipped a shot past Howe 59 seconds in.
Within the next three minutes, the Gophers would go up 6-2, with both goals coming as a result of CC errors. A misplay by Howe (12 saves) resulted in a wide-open net for Jay Barriball and then a failure to clear by the CC defense resulted in an easy goal for Nate Condon four minutes in.
Immediately thereafter, Howe was replaced in favor of freshman Josh Thorimbert (23 saves).
“I pulled him just because of the way the game was,” said Owens. “I didn’t think they were goals that were his fault. But, you know what, it’s six goals, we’re three minutes in, I wanted to play Josh; I wanted to get Joe out of there.”
A minute later, CC cut the Gophers’ lead in half when Guentzel beat Patterson five-hole with a shot from the point.
Each team exchanged a goal apiece to make it 7-4 going into the final frame. Condon scored his second off a rebound and Tyler Johnson scored the Tigers’ second power-play tally of the night, knocking in his own rebound past Patterson.
“[The result] was certainly not expected,” said Lucia. “We needed other guys to step up and all the lines contributed tonight.”
“It was a complete disaster from a defensive standpoint, but you’ve got to give them some credit too,” said Owens. “They showed their depth at forward and their speed and they tormented us tonight.”
The Gophers next return home against Wisconsin while the Tigers play a home-and-home series with Denver.