COLORADO SPRINGS — Sometimes, it’s the shot chart that tells the story of the game. Other times, it can be either the penalties or the final score.
Saturday night, the Colorado College Tigers outshot the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 42-23 and gave up a five-minute major, but the final 3-3 score was the true story of the contest.
“You’re mad you didn’t get the two points and then you’re relieved you didn’t give up two, three goals on the five-minute major,” said CC head coach Scott Owens. “It’s just the way it was.”
The Bulldogs went up early, just 2:38 into the first period. Mike Connelly took a shot from the left faceoff dot that seemingly had eyes as it found its way to the back of the CC net behind goaltender Joe Howe (20 saves).
7:10 later, the Tigers tied it up on the power play on an amazing individual effort by Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz broke into the zone solo on a one-on-three and wristed a shot past Bulldog netminder Kenny Reiter (39 saves).
It appeared as if the teams would go to the first intermission tied, fitting of the evenly played period, but a late CC penalty gave an opportunity to Duluth and the Bulldogs took advantage. With 51.5 seconds left in the period, Connelly passed the puck out of the corner in front of the net to J.T. Brown who put it past Howe to give UMD a 2-1 lead.
While the first was even, the second period was seemingly all CC, as the Tigers outshot the Bulldogs 23-5. They didn’t get on the board, though, until about 11 minutes in with a five-on-three power play. Gabe Guentzel from the right point passed down to Tyler Johnson on the doorstep who knocked the puck in past Reiter to tie the game at two.
Despite the lopsidedness in shots, the Bulldogs regained their lead with 3:45 left in the period on a power play of their own. With Arthur Bidwell in the box for an interference call the home crowd found highly questionable, Justin Fontaine found Brown skating across the crease who slammed it home past Howe for his second tally of the night.
The Tigers kept pushing, however, and Johnson scored his second of the night to tie it up with just over two minutes left in the frame. Guentzel took a shot from the left point that bounced off Reiter’s leg pad. Scott Winkler fanned on the rebound, but Johnson was able to tap it high past Reiter to make it 3-3.
“It’s hard to give up two leads, but it was a good, hard-fought game and that’s how this league is; a lot of tight games,” said Bulldog head coach Scott Sandelin.
UMD had a chance in the third to take the lead when CC’s Joe Marciano was given five minutes and a game misconduct for checking from behind four and a half minutes in, but the Tigers were able to kill it off—a bright spot for a penalty kill that has struggled lately.
“We got into a good rhythm,” said Owens. “The forwards were changing every 30, 40 seconds, the defensemen were making good bumps and good clears; we felt pretty good.”
Both teams had several chances in overtime, but were unable to score.
“I thought it was a gutsy win for us,” said Owens. “We battled for the entire weekend and did we deserve a little bit better tonight? Yeah, but you could have just as easily lost this game in the third period as well.”
The Bulldogs return home next weekend to host Nebraska-Omaha in the final weekend of the regular season while the Tigers travel to Wisconsin to play the Badgers.