COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – In front of an announced sellout crowd of 7,456, and a game that not only was featured on CBS TV, but started with the unveiling of the new Penrose Memorial Cup, the Colorado College Tigers beat the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, 3-1.
Tigers’ goaltender Josh Thorimbert was stellar in making 31 saves.
“The guys battled, they competed, they blocked shots, they put their body on the line,” said Thorimbert. “We played sound defensively. It’s an easy game when all the shots are coming from the outside for a goaltender.”
The Tigers got on the board first. After having several good scoring chances while on a power play, Jeff Collett got the puck in the neutral zone and skated up the middle, dishing a pass off to Charlie Taft on the right side wing just inside the blue line. Taft corralled the puck and let fly a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Matt McNeely clean top corner glove side at 5:38.
“It means a lot for a relatively young team with so many newcomers, a real fresh energy that we’ve had all season long,” said Tigers’ coach Scott Owens of the win. “I think it validates their effort and I thought they came out and competed and battled and used their feet well to move quick. We were hungry. For our fans and all hype of the new league, I think it means a lot for our team.”
About a minute later, CC brought the fans to their feet when it seemed Archie Skalbeck beat McNeely with a shot from the slot, but the play had been whistled offside. Skalbeck was then checked into the corner by Tim Smith and a melee ensued, as the Bulldogs took exception to Skalbeck shooting after the whistle. When it was over, the Bulldogs went on a power play, but they were unable to capitalize.
“Guys were in the shooting lanes, working hard, battling, clearing pucks and letting me see the puck,” said Thorimbert of the penalty kill.
Early in the second, Thorimbert was forced to make several big saves, including a couple of point blank chances in the slot by Tony Cameranesi and Joe Basaraba, but the Bulldogs couldn’t score.
The proved costly later in the period Peter Maric got the puck down low on the right side and got a shot on net 3that beat McNeely along the ice in the far left corner at 13:53.
After struggling to get good chances on Thorimbert through two periods, the Bulldogs got a quick goal in early in the third when Basaraba got the puck and went in one on two, dishing off to Austin Farley on the right side, who got in behind the defense and cut across the crease, beating Thorimbert with a quick shot five-hole at 1:57.
“Tough to kind of play a period or a little more than a period and expect to win a game,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “Third period, we did what we had to do. We came out and got a lot of pucks on net and got one back, but couldn’t get the equalizer. Overall, it needs to be better.”
However, a blatant takedown of a CC player by Andy Welinski in the slot led to a Tigers power play and freshman Alex Roos got his first collegiate goal when he took a quick shot from the slot off a pass from Alexander Krushelnyski that beat McNeely stick side at 10:56.
“The first period, he had the same shot, but shot it over the next,” said Owens. “That’s a big-time play. His release is hard to pick up and he uses that long stick. It was a nice power play.
“The next challenge is tomorrow seeing if we can come back and do it back-to-back. The other thing is it is three points, and three points are a lot of points. Any kind of clean win you can get to get the points is huge.”