After taking a week off from competitive play, the men’s hockey team didn’t come back with the bang they had been hoping for, but instead ended their weekend on the road with a pair of ties against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.
The games were filled with plenty of excitement, despite the mundane 2-2 and 3-3 outcomes. The highlights included three game misconducts that led to CC players being ejected on both Friday and Saturday nights, a doubling of penalties per night from nine to eighteen, and a penalty shot goal by senior captain and Anchorage native, William Rapuzzi.
The Tigers suffered a blow when sophomore Aaron Harstad was injured during the initial frame of Friday’s game. It was Harstad’s second major injury of the season and forced him to sit out for Saturday’s game as well.
Junior Jeff Collett was also forced to leave the ice 13 minutes into Friday night’s game after committing a major penalty: checking from behind. The same consequence befell senior teammate Scott Winkler the following evening.
In Friday night’s game, junior Alex Krushelnyski put up the first CC tally and his 11th goal of the season before the first period ended, allowing the Tigers to tie the game at 1-1 late in the first period.
The second period proved uneventful as both teams went scoreless, but the third period brought back the excitement that became characteristic of the weekend’s games.
Andrew Hamburg gave the Tigers the lead halfway through the third period with a power play goal assisted by sophomore Ian Young and junior Alex Krushelnyski. Unfortunately for CC, Alaska’s sophomore forward Scott Allen quickly answered with a goal of his own with only four minutes left in the final period.
“The tie on Friday was disappointing,” senior forward Andrew Hamburg said. Given that they were going up against the worst team in the league, more was expected from the ninth-ranked Tigers.
Despite the self-described “disappointing” tie on Friday, the Tigers were unable to improve the outcome the second time around, as Saturday’s game, though riveting, proved equally heartbreaking.
Alaska took the lead late in the first period with a power play goal, a result of Rapuzzi’s penalty for hooking, the third CC penalty of the night. The high penalty count would serve as a major difference between Friday and Saturday night’s games. Saturday’s game tied for the highest penalty count of any CC game this year with 18 penalties and one game misconduct served.
Scott Winkler was ejected for checking from behind early in the second period; an all too familiar blow to the Tiger’s offensive.
Senior defenseman Mike Boivin put the first CC goal in the net, demonstrating the Tigers’ depth of talent as team. Boivin, who is one of two senior defenseman said, “Our mental outlook on Saturday was completely different. We were there to win and get those two points.”
Colorado College’s head coach Scott Owens made a judgment call eight minutes into the third period by letting Rapuzzi take a penalty shot instead of taking a two-player advantage. Rapuzzi, returning to his hometown for the first time in almost two months, took this opportunity to tie the game at 2-2.
Similar to Friday night’s game, CC pulled ahead with a goal executed by junior forward Archie Skalbeck and assisted by another Alaska native, freshman forward Jared Hanson.
Then, for the second night in a row, the Tigers’ hopes were crushed when the Seawolves
answered their goal all too quickly, tying the game at 3-3 with 1:13 minutes left in the third period.
Four of the nineteen players, almost one-fifth of the Tigers, are Alaskan natives, so the pressure to perform was higher than normal. The two freshmen, Hunter Fejes and Jared Hanson, weren’t ready for the pressure that the hype would bring.
“For me, it was the first time playing in this arena in front of everyone from home; it made me more energized and excited to play,” Fejes said of the natural excitement, while upperclassmen Scott Wamsganz and William Rapuzzi seized the opportunity to make their hometown fans proud.
The away series was hard on the Tigers, who have been struggling on the road all year,
with a record of 6-6-2 at home compared to 4-8-2 on the road. If CC has any hope of defeating their cross-state rival, the DU Pioneers in this weekend’s Golden Pan showdown, they’ll need to turn their luck around, because that series includes a game on the road.