The Colorado College men’s hockey team opened the 2014-2015 campaign with a two-game sweep of the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) Chargers last weekend, winning on Friday 3-2 and Saturday 4-3. This is a strong start for what is sure to be an illustrious career for new Head Coach Mike Haviland. In fact, these two wins put this year’s team at nearly a third of the total wins from last season.
The Tigers’ next test arrives at the Broadmoor Arena this weekend all the way from Grand Forks, N.D. The third-ranked University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Sioux will likely be a much more formidable opponent than the Tigers faced last weekend.
Notable losses from last year’s UND squad include senior captain Dillon Simpson, a stalwart defenseman, and Rocco Grimaldi who signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers after leading UND in scoring as a sophomore. Diligent hockey fans will recognize No. 31 Zane McIntyre between the pipes for UND.
McIntyre, formerly Gothberg, led the Sioux to the Frozen Four as one of just three goalies in the nation who allowed an average of less than two goals per game while playing more than 1900 minutes. Players to watch include Michael Parks, Mark Macmillan, Drake Caggiula, and incoming first-year Nick Schmaltz, a speedy center and first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Tigers look to build on their early success with strong defensive play from seniors Peter Stoykewych and Aaron Harstad. While both are imposing players in the defensive end, they have also shown some offensive flair this year. Harstad scored the first goal of the season Friday, while Stoykewych netted the game-winner Saturday night.
Also watch for sophomore d-man Jaccob Slavin, who led the team in points last year, to create opportunities on the power play and use his speed to create odd-man rushes. The Tigers will look for more offensive production from sophomores Sam Rothstein and Alex Roos, juniors Cody Bradley and Peter Maric, and seniors Charlie Taft and Scott Wamsganz.
CC will need to capitalize on scoring opportunities and play shutdown defense against a formidable Sioux squad to keep the win streak alive. This year represents a new era for Tiger Hockey.
New head coach Mike Haviland has brought a winning pedigree to a program that won just seven games last year and revitalized enthusiasm for hockey in the Colorado Springs community. This weekend’s opening series of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference should provide a strong test for the Tiger,s who look to continue their early-season success against one of the top teams in the nation.