COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the second night in a row, the Colorado College Tigers came from behind to beat the Wisconsin Badgers. Luckily for the 5,451 at the Colorado Springs World Arena, the Tigers did it in regulation on Sunday, beating the Badgers, 2-1, and winning the best-of-three series, two games to one.
“We weren’t great early, but we hung in there,” said CC coach Scott Owens.
Stephen Schultz broke a 1-1 tie with a third-period power-play goal.
The puck came out of the corner to the high slot to Schultz, who one-timed it. His initial shot was blocked by the Badgers’ Jordy Murray, but it came right back to him and his second try was successful, beating Brett Bennett (24 saves) high glove side.
Wisconsin pushed for an equalizer, but Tigers goaltender Joe Howe stayed strong as he had all game, finishing with 33 saves.
“He competed and battled; he did what he does the best,” said Owens. “He wanted to be in there and right to the buzzer was making saves and he kept us in.”
The fatigue was evident from the overtime contest the night before, as it took most of the game for the teams to get things going. Both teams had scattered chances throughout the first two periods before the Badgers got a break with a late second period four-on-three advantage.
With 2:38 left in the frame, Justin Schultz sent a pass across to Craig Smith, who one-timed a shot high past Howe to give UW a 1-0 lead.
The Badgers held on to their tenuous lead until about halfway through the third period when CC was on a power play of their own. Jaden Schwartz sent a pass to Stephen Schultz, who let a shot fly. Bennett made the initial save, but Nick Dineen was on the doorstep to slam home the rebound.
“I was concerned about the physical fatigue, but I thought we were mentally fatigued … but we hung around,” said Owens. “They were tired, too. But then what happened is we got a power-play goal, we got energy off of that because the building got energy and we got energy and we started to ratchet it up a little bit.”
The Tigers advance to St. Paul to face Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA Final Five. The Badgers’ season, on the other hand, is most likely finished. They are 24th in the PairWise Rankings.
“As disappointed as we are, as angry as we are, [the players will] be able to walk out of that locker room with their heads held high,” said Badgers coach Mike Eaves. “They left everything out there.”