COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — This was a night that Colorado College senior Andrew Hamburg will not forget any time soon.
The Phoenix senior scored four goals to propel the 19th-ranked Tigers past city rival Air Force 6-2 on Friday night before a stunned crowd of 3,207 fans at Cadet Ice Arena (2,470 capacity).
“It was a gift,” Hamburg said, referring to Cody Bradley’s pinpoint passes as the freshman recorded three assists in only his second college game. “He is such a skilled player. He was getting me the puck right where I needed it.”
It was the first four-goal performance by a Tiger since Scott McCulloch on Oct. 7, 2006 in an 8-1 home win over Alabama-Huntsville.
“It has been such a long time since I scored a hat trick,” Hamburg said. “Four? Maybe when I was real little.”
Hamburg had scored a natural hat trick, the first of his college career, to propel the Tigers to a 3-1 lead before a bad penalty gave the host Falcons the chance they needed to get back into the nonconference contest late in the second period.
Air Force took advantage when senior captain John Kruse buried a rebound after Tony Thomas’ drive to the post created the opportunity in front.
That goal energized the crowd going into the second intermission, but CC senior Scott Winkler silenced the Falcon faithful when he one-timed a crossing pass from sophomore wing Charlie Taft only 73 seconds into the third to make it 4-2.
“You’re never comfortable against these guys because they play hard the whole game,” Tigers’ coach Scott Owens said. “We knew whoever scored the first goal in the third was probably going to win it.”
Hamburg added his fourth goal six minutes later, finishing off Bradley’s third assist, and the rout was on. Winker added his second goal of the night almost three minutes later the final 6-2 margin. It was Air Force’s worst home loss to CC since a 7-0 defeat on Nov. 29, 2002.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. “We could have given up nine or 10. Thanks to Jason Torf, we didn’t.”
The lopsided loss was frustrating for Serratore who saw his Falcons (0-1-2) play a poor game three times in a row.
“We played this poor last weekend, but those teams couldn’t exploit it like CC did,” he said. “We are bleeding out of so many orifices right now [and] I would like to tune into just one area. We are just not a good team right now. I am embarrassed for the players and the coaching staff. Obviously, the coaches did not prepare these players well enough going into the season. We are an experienced team starting back at Hockey 101.”
Hamburg scored twice in 124 seconds to push the 3-0 Tigers ahead 2-1 early in the second period after trailing 1-0 after one.
His first goal was a classic hard work score, while his second was a beauty often only found on dry erase boards.
Bradley’s pass across the crease bounced over to Hamburg, who crashed the net and poked in the puck to tie the nonconference game at 1-1 only 1:42 into the second period.
Hamburg’s second goal came on the power play when he got behind the two Air Force defensemen at center ice and hauled in a long pass from junior defenseman Eamonn McDermott to split the two and set up a breakaway. His shot past Torf’s glove made it 2-1 with 16:16 left in the second.
“He did things the right way,” Owens said. “Cody would make the pass and he kept going to the net it paid off for him tonight.”
Air Force fourth-line center Jason Fabian banged in a loose puck in front of the Colorado College net to give the host Falcons a 1-0 lead in the first period. Fabian’s shot went inside the near post before Josh Thorimbert could slide over completely.
“There was a lot of hard work on that line,” Fabian said. “It just happened to get to me and I put it in the net.”
The goal kept the Falcons’ opening energy at a high until things settled down midway through the period and the Tigers began to outshoot the Falcons.
“They weathered the storm in the first period and stuck to their game in the second and third periods,” Serratore said. “My hat’s off to Colorado College.”
“This win is really good for us,” Hamburg said. “The senior class is 3-1 against Air Force. We’ll take that.”