October 8, 2021 | SPORTS | By Michael Braithwaite | Photo by Anil Jergens
On Saturday night, a sold-out student section and mostly-filled arena brought life to the first hockey game of the season.
While the event was technically an exhibition match, the long-awaited debut of Colorado College Hockey in Ed Robson Arena provided a palpable energy that was certainly felt by both teams.
The Tigers, energized at least in part by the excitement of the crowd, started the game off strong by delivering multiple large hits on the opposing Air Force Falcons.
This physicality prompted the first significant moment of the game: a CC power play after Air Force wing Parker Brown was given a two-minute minor penalty for slashing.
Then, just seven seconds into the powerplay — 1:17 into the history of CC hockey at Ed Robson Arena — CC forward Logan Will ’24 scored on Air Force goalie Alex Schilling.
The goal came as a result of a mosh near the net, during which Will was able to just barely collect a pass from teammate Jordan Biro ’24 and maneuver the puck into the net to put the Tigers up 1-0.
Even on the ice, it was difficult to see what occurred in real time, and the officials had to review the goal to ensure the puck had completely crossed the goal line.
“I don’t know if I saw a lot [during that play],” Will said postgame with a chuckle. “I was just able to get to the net and put it in.”
The Tigers faltered down the stretch, however, as they allowed two goals to the Falcons in the second period and were shut out in the third, despite outshooting them 30-25.
Midway through the second period, CC replaced their starting goalie, Dominic Basse ’24, with Matt Vernon ’23.
“They came at us early and put us on our heels,” said Head Coach Kris Mayotte postgame. “I thought Basse did well … I [also] thought Vernon played alright.”
A third goal was scored by Air Force with 1:49 remaining in the second period. Upon review, the officials determined that Air Force wing Will Gavin interfered with Vernon, nullifying the score.
The Tigers pulled Vernon during a team timeout with 2:50 remaining in the game, giving themselves an extra attacker.
From that timeout onward, the puck never seemed to leave the Falcons’ side of the ice. However, the Tigers were still unable to even it out in the end.
“We just weren’t good enough,” said Mayotte. “We weren’t willing to do the hard things … and they took advantage of it.”
Although the final score was 2-1 in favor of Air Force, the event as a whole was still a novel experience for CC fans who had long been eager for the opening of the new arena.
One of the biggest upsides to the hockey team playing their home games on campus is the ability for the CC student body to come to the games and show their support.
“It was phenomenal,” said Will regarding the presence of the student section. “I really enjoy it, the louder the better.”
Although limited to only 350 seats, it seems as if the CC student section will be one of the main sources of energy in an arena that seats over 3,400 people.
A student-driven energy was something that had been lacking from CC hockey games played at the Broadmoor World Arena, and is a large component of the overall community feel the new Ed Robson Arena provides.
Unlike in previous years, CC students now have the chance to maintain a strong presence at their hockey team’s home games.
The next game is this Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. vs. St. Lawrence University.