The Tigers have officially hit their first speed bump of the season. After coming out flying, starting the season unbeaten at 3-0, our CC Tigers have gotten a wake-up call.
Their first loss was to University of Massachusetts. Lowell, who was ranked No. 6 in the preseason, but has, since then, dropped considerably in the rankings to No. 14 after losses to Denver University and Boston College. The next two losses came last weekend to Cornell University, who has remained relatively stationary in the rankings at No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 consecutively over the past month.
For the first time in school history, the Tigers traveled to the middle of nowhere – Ithaca, New York – to take on the Cornell Big Red. The Tigers were coming into the weekend with four regular season games already under their belt compared to zero for the Cornell Big Red. Advantage Tigers.
The game didn’t pan out the way we hoped. The Tigers were shutout for the first time in 47 games, losing 2-0. On Saturday night, Cornell completed the weekend sweep of Colorado College, cruising to a 3-2 victory. All five Cornell goals came on power plays, which were effective all weekend at five for fourteen.
Some who were in attendance compared the zebras out on the ice to the replacement officials in the NFL earlier this season. In the two games, the Tigers were penalized 15 times including one 10-minute major. Cornell’s, on the other hand, was only called for eight minor penalties. But we are a classy institution and are not inclined to place any blame on the referees.
Here’s what it comes down to: our CC Tigers Hockey team is like the 2011-12 New York Rangers. After losing three of their four top scorers from last year’s team, the Colorado College Tigers may struggle to score goals. They found the back of the net 16 times in their first three games against unranked opponents. However, since then, the Tigers only managed to score three goals in three games against the top 15 teams.
Cornell University does have one of the strongest defensive cores in the country, but the Tigers’ forwards have yet to prove their goal scoring tenacity against top teams. The Tigers, however, have something that many teams desire – a safety net between the pipes. When Thorimbert is playing at the top of his game, the entire team gets a boost. His ability to erase mistakes allows the Tigers to play with more freedom and hunger, which will generate more scoring opportunities. One thing appeared to be obvious this weekend – the Tigers need to work on special teams. How did the Rangers finish first in the Eastern Conference while only scoring the eighth most goals? They allowed the fewest goals, which had a lot to do with their 86.2 percent penalty kill.
With the loss of key goal scorers and a plethora of new faces, the Tigers seem to be struggling to find their identity early in the season. CC needs to take a page out of the blueshirts book and throw bodies in front of opposing shots, which will improve their special teams and will ultimately lead to W’s against top teams.