Three things: Jan. 18

Catch a Tiger by the tail
Last week, Omaha coach Dean Blais said that for his Mavericks “you have to be mentally prepared to play a good hockey team” before their series with last-place Colorado College.

Unfortunately for Blais, his players didn’t get the memo, as Colorado College got its first win in NCHC play this season by beating first-place Omaha 4-3 on Friday.  CC, which in its streak of futility on the road had often squandered leads, this time rallied from a 2-1 second-period deficit by scoring three straight goals, then held on in the end.

The Tigers’ big guns came up big, as Jacob Slavin had a goal and two assists, Cody Bradley had two assists, and Hunter Fejes scored two goals, including scoring the game-winner unassisted in the third. Tyler Marble made 26 saves for the Tigers.

The momentum didn’t carry over to Saturday, as Omaha’s Avery Peterson scored his second goal of the game at 19:10 of the second to put Omaha up 2-1, and Tanner Lane scored at 1:48 of the third to drive a dagger into the Tigers.

CC travels to Grand Forks to take on North Dakota next weekend, while Omaha has a weekend off.

Denver rebounds
After getting swept by Omaha a week ago, Denver hosted a hot St. Cloud team and swept the Huskies by scores of 3-1 and 4-1 to leapfrog over St. Cloud into fifth in the ever-competitive NCHC.

On Friday, Denver coach Jim Montgomery pulled goalie Evan Cowley after he gave up a goal late in the first period, though Cowley had made 11 saves to that point. Tanner Jaillet replaced him and shut the door. Jaillet also played Saturday, giving up one goal on 29 shots.

Denver coach Jim Montgomery said of Cowley, “I thought there were a lot of rebounds. He made a couple of real good saves on guys wide open, but we look for the consistency of our goalies, and you know what, we thought he was guessing a little bit.”

Hobey Baker candidate Joey LaLeggia was stellar for the Pioneers all weekend, scoring a goal and an assist Friday and matching that output Saturday.
Said Montgomery of LaLeggia, “There was a twinkle in his eye, and you could see it in his step and how he was playing on the ice. He has games where it’s like, you know what, if we’re not going to be able to play I’ll do it by myself, and he energizes the team and we follow him.”

Denver travels to Oxford, Ohio, to face No. 9 Miami next weekend.
Bustout from the Broncos
After struggling in the first two months of the season, Western Michigan has quietly gone 7-1-2 and moved up to sixth in the NCHC standings.
This weekend, the Broncos traveled to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs, and emerged with five of six points getting a tie and winning the shootout Friday, and then building on that with a 4-2 win Saturday.
Lukas Hafner made 24 saves on Friday and 25 on Saturday.
Offensively, the Broncos were led by Colton Hargrove, who scored three of the Broncos six goals on the weekend, including the game-winner and an insurance goal in the third period in Saturday’s win. Hargrove also assisted on Nolan LaPorte’s goal Saturday that gave Western Michigan a 1-0 lead.
This streak is very reminiscent of last year, in which Western Michigan struggled in the first half and started the second half on a 7-2-1 tear, eventually making the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in Minneapolis.
Western Michigan goes on the road next weekend to face St. Cloud.