Mar 5, 2021 | SPORTS | By Quinn Guevara | Photo by Patil Khakhamian
The Colorado College men’s hockey team has faced tough competition through even tougher circumstances.
In the first period of the season, the Tigers entered a bubble in Omaha, created by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, that boasted the toughest teams the NCAA has to offer. They competed and moved on to the second period of their season. They played competitive games against the current No. 1 team in the nation, North Dakota, and beat Minnesota Duluth, then the third ranked team in the nation.
In those first two periods, the hockey team dealt with COVID-19, on and off the ice. Due to the pandemic, the team’s schedule was inconsistent at best, which led to long spans where no games were played. Before their faceoff against Omaha on Feb. 17, the Tigers hadn’t played since Jan. 24 against North Dakota, 24 days prior.
This third period of the regular season is as uncertain as the rest. The Tigers lost the Gold Pan trophy to rivals Denver University last week and the team found out that the last two games against the Pioneers were cancelled due to COVID-19.
“We are disappointed to not play our final two regular-season games against Denver,” said Lesley Irvine, head athletic director, in a recent press release.
Defensemen Connor Mayer ’23 said, “We handle adversity well and I think we will just be excited to play again and have a lot of energy and hopefully end things on a positive note.”
To add to the disappointment, the Tigers had to move their senior night. The team is upset because those were supposed to be the last games played at the Broadmoor World Arena.
The Tigers now move their attention to the NCHC tournament, where they are ranked as the seventh seed. The Tigers will be playing St. Cloud State, who beat them in both meetings this year.
“I think we are comfortable playing them and know they bring a lot of speed,” Mayer said. “We also bring speed, and every time we have played them has been a great battle with us on the wrong side of things. But once again, it’s one game, so anything can happen.”
The Tigers could also potentially face North Dakota, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, which beat the Tigers all four times they played this year. St. Cloud State is the current eighth seed in the nation, and they play the current ninth seed Minnesota University at Duluth on Saturday. North Dakota plays Omaha on Friday, and these games will determine if the Tigers will play North Dakota or St. Cloud State.
No matter who the Tigers have to play going into tournament play, they’re ready.
“The team was ready for tournament play especially because it’s one game series,” Mayer said, “So even though the record hasn’t shown what we can do, this gives us a chance to make a statement as well as a possibility of make the tournament.”
After a long and unconventional season with an unusual ending, the Tigers are ready to make a push for the conference championship and maybe into the Frozen Four.