January 28, 2020 | SPORTS | By Michael Braithwaite | Photo by Anil Jergens
The Colorado College hockey team fell flat in its game against the No. 5 University of Denver Pioneers on Saturday night, losing the game 4-0 at Ed Robson Arena. The contest was the second game in the annual Gold Pan series vs the Pioneers, a series in which the Tigers let in nine goals and failed to score once.
In his postgame press conference after Saturday’s contest, CC Head Coach Kris Mayotte voiced his displeasure towards how his team performed over the weekend and gave his kudos to the Pioneers for their top-ranked offensive prowess.
“They turn [our] mistakes into [their] opportunities really fast,” Mayotte said. “I thought we had a better start [on Saturday night, but] they put pressure on your game in a lot of different areas and they have the ability to expose you.”
This ability showcased itself all weekend long, as the Pioneers scored their first goal just 3:20 into Friday night’s match-up and went on to beat the Tigers 5-0, outshooting CC 40-19 along the way.
Just as they had the previous night, Denver started their offensive showcase early in Saturday night’s game, scoring just over six minutes after the puck was dropped.
The score came on a miscommunication that saw DU forward Carter King steal the puck from CC defenseman Nate Schweitzer ‘25. King then passed it to teammate McKade Webster who fired a shot past CC goalie Dominic Basse ’24. The Pioneers went up 1-0.
Denver scored again with 5:16 remaining in the period after another CC turnover gave the puck to DU captain Cole Guttman in front of CC’s goal. Guttman fired at point-blank range past Basse to give the Pioneers a commanding 2-0 lead.
The second period was more of the same for the Tigers, as Basse let in another goal after Webster maneuvered the puck through CC’s lackadaisical defense and sent a shot into the back corner of the net, putting DU up 3-0 on the Tigers.
After the score, the Tigers replaced Basse with Matt Vernon ‘23, who played incredibly well in relief. He made multiple highlight-reel saves and earned praise from Captain Bryan Yoon ‘22.
“[Vernon] did a fantastic job,” said Yoon postgame. “He played so good for us, and he bailed us out a lot, [even though] we left him out to dry a little bit.”
Vernon only let up one goal, a score by DU defenseman Sean Behrens, throughout the rest of the game, finishing with 28 saves on 29 shots in his 37:52 of play. Vernon had also played well in relief of Basse during Friday night’s game, only allowing one goal on nine shots during his 20 minutes of play.
Like the previous night, the Tigers failed to play up to their potential and looked completely out-skated on the rink. However, unlike the previous night, the Tigers were not only defined by their poor play but also by sloppy penalties.
The Tigers had a man in the penalty box for a whopping 36 in-game minutes – over half of the contest – and had their only goal of the series was nullified at the end of the second period by a goalie interference penalty.
Yoon, with a sigh, discussed his frustration with the overwhelming amount of penalty calls postgame, saying that CC let their emotions get ahold of them too much.
When asked postgame about the penalty issues, Mayotte mentioned that the team will begin to sit players who commit bad penalties. “If the accountability of your teammates isn’t enough for you to do the right thing, [the coaching staff] will take it into our own hands,” Mayotte said.
Overall, it was a dismal series for the Tigers, as CC was outshot by DU 81-35 over the two-game span. Fans in Ed Robson Arena were so dejected watching CC’s play on the ice on Saturday night that RoCCy had an entire section of seats to himself by the end of the game.
Struggling to find positive takeaways after Saturday’s matchup, Coach Mayotte had little to highlight about CC’s play other than the stellar showing from Vernon.
“We got guys some penalty kill time that don’t normally get it,” Mayotte said. “But [other than that], no.”
CC will look to rebound from its tough series vs. Denver this weekend at home against No. 16 Omaha. The first game will take place on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Ed Robson Arena.