By Joe Paisley
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For one night at least, Colorado College fans’ hopes for a much-improved season were met after the Tigers scored their most goals at home in almost five years.
As a result, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program is already off to a better start, especially at home, than last season following CC’s 6-1 rout of visiting Alaska-Anchorage at Broadmoor World Arena.
“It’s very important for us as a team and it’s very important for them (as fans),” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “We talked about between the second and third (periods) how we had one win here last year. We’re not going to hide from it. We have to establish our home ice as a tough building to come into and we did a good job of that tonight.”
It took 25 games last season for the Colorado College Tigers to record their first home victory, a 3-0 win over then-12th-ranked North Dakota on Jan. 27. The Tigers averaged 1.94 goals during that struggle of a season.
That team, 8-24-4 last season, was nowhere to be found Friday night. The six goals were the most scored by CC at home since a 6-5 overtime win over Denver on Feb. 9, 2013.
Haviland knows that one win, however sweet, is only one. It’s October and the 2-1 Tigers must improve. But he liked what he saw so far in his team’s 2-1 start.
“We played with pace and moved the puck well,” Haviland said. “I liked the way we kept coming and coming. We moved our feet and made plays. It’s the way we played in Vermont.”
CC sophomore winger Nick Halloran was the catalyst for the Tigers’ strong start, recording a career-best four points (one goal, three assists) to propel the hosts to a 4-0 lead by midway through the second period. Junior Trey Bradley also recorded three assists. Six different Tigers scored.
“I thought we got better as the game went on and that’s the trick (to winning),” Bradley said.
The Tigers scored all six against reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association goalie of the week Olivier Mantha (30 saves), who made a number of impressive stops, especially during the second period when CC out shot the Seawolves 19-5. He was replaced early in the third.
“They managed the puck really well and played a very structured game,” said UAA coach Matt Thomas, who was an assistant under Haviland during their ECHL days. “They definitely had better legs than us.”
Thomas expects the 0-2-1 Seawolves to put the loss behind them.
“That’s a slap-in-the-face kind of loss that you hate to have,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing how we respond (Saturday).”