COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On a cold snowy night that kept many of the announced attendance of 5,551 at home, the Colorado College Tigers did something they hadn’t done since the first game of the year: win. The Tigers upset No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha, 4-2. Jeff Collett had a goal and an assist and Josh Thorimbert made 23 saves in the win.
“It was a sense of relief to score some goals, to have three goals by the 40-minute mark,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens. “Omaha is so offensive, and they came out so hard. We’ve had points this season where we’ve been in similar situations in the third period and we haven’t been able to close anybody out and I thought we stood in there pretty well tonight. It felt good. It was just a good team win.”
Barely had the puck dropped before the fans were almost taken out of the game, but a Nebraska-Omaha goal was disallowed because it was knocked in with a high stick.
While there weren’t consistent rushes in either zone, both squads took advantage of their power plays. CC struck first at 11:14 when Alexander Krushelnyski, who was standing on the far post, got a rebound of an Alex Roos shot from the left circle and knocked it into the open net.
The Tigers had several good chances after that to grab a two-goal lead, but couldn’t capitalize, and when the Mavericks got a late power-play chance, they scored when Ian Brady ripped it past Thorimbert at 17:23.
In the second period, the Tigers used momentum from an early penalty kill to do something they hadn’t accomplished since a game against Western Michigan on Nov. 1: take a two-goal lead.
First, Jared Hanson pounced on a rebound near the left side post of a Jeff Collett shot and knocked it in under Ryan Massa at 6:06. Then, after CC killed another penalty off, Sam Rothstein got off a quick shot from the slot that beat Massa at 14:30.
“I got a nice pass from Roos behind the net; he ended up coming around to the back door and I tried to throw him a pass and it ended up luckily bouncing off a defender’s shin pad and into the net,” said Rothstein.
Nebraska-Omaha got back into the game early in the third when Zahn Raubenheimer, who was in front of the net, got a pass from Johnnie Searfoss and backhanded it in at 7:25. The Mavericks then had a great chance to tie shortly after that when they got another power play, but it was power-less, generating no good chances.
“Our killing has been consistently pretty good,” said Owens. “The pressure one was the one in the third period, especially because Collett, one of our better penalty killers, was in the box. I thought Josh quietly made a couple of big saves in the third period that will go unnoticed.”
That cost them when Collett, streaking toward the net on the left side, slid his stick out and tipped Gustav Olofsson’s shot from the left circle past Massa at 13:31 to regain the two-goal lead.
“It’s just something we’ve been working on, a middle-lane drive,” said Collett. “It’s a big night for us. Thorny, Krush, they played unreal. It wasn’t just us; it was a team game tonight, and that was key.”
“I just think that we had everything too comfortable three weekends in a row being at home, and then we had Thanksgiving off, and you don’t get the same synch,” said Mavericks coach Dean Blais. “Our passing and receiving, our passes were there, but it looked like sticks blew up handling the puck. CC was a desperate team, needed a win, and I thought they wanted it more than us tonight. I thought they were hungrier than us and deserved the game.”