COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — All good things must come to an end, and Sunday night, that was true for the Colorado College Tigers.
The Tigers, who had been riding a six-game winning streak, saw their winning ways come to an abrupt halt, being shut out by goaltender John Faulkner and Nebraska-Omaha, 3-0.
“I knew that it would be a tough game,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “It was a character win for us tonight.”
The game took a while to get going, perhaps due to the odd time or the odd start, with both teams exchanging chances, but nothing major.
However, with 1:51 left in the first, the Mavericks broke the scoreless tie. Alex Hudson dove to block a shot in his own end, knocking the puck to the neutral zone where it was picked up by Matt White. White carried the puck all alone on a breakaway and beat CC goaltender Joe Howe for the 1-0 lead.
UNO carried that lead through the second period, despite a few close calls, including a Tyler Johnson shot off the pipe 12 minutes in.
The Mavericks kept hanging around, however, and broke through 5:44 into the third to make it 2-0. Joey Martin sent a pass across the high slot that Rich Purlsow one-timed glove side past Howe (38 saves).
“We scored the first goal — and that’s always important, the first goal — and when we got the second I felt pretty comfortable with the way we were playing that we’d win the game,” Blais said.
UNO made it 3-0 about five minutes later, when Ryan Walters and Brock Montpetit came down on a two-on-one, with Montpetit going back door on Howe.
The lead ended up being too much for the Tigers, as they were too fatigued to claw back into the game and Faulkner (24 saves) stayed strong.
“We hung around in that game, as tired as we were and as slow as we were,” Tigers defenseman and captain Ryan Lowery said. “It was 1-0 for the vast majority of that game and going into the third we just tried to tell ourselves that we may not be there physically and not feel energized, but mentally, we can bear down and battle through and find a way to win. But we didn’t come out on top.”
“They played a pretty good road game but that being said, it was 1-0 for whatever it was, 45 minutes; we certainly had a chance,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “We didn’t have much zip tonight and we looked fatigued a little bit, the D corps looked fatigued, the forwards half a step slow and a couple crossbars here and there and that’s kind of the anatomy of a 3-0 loss.”
The Tigers next play in two weeks in the Great Lakes Invitational while the Mavericks next play in two weeks in a road series with non-conference foe Quinnipiac.