December 7, 2013 Updated: December 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm
More lessons continue to be learned by the Colorado College Tigers during a challenging start to the hockey season.
Nebraska-Omaha junior Josh Archibald potted the winning shot in a sudden-death shootout to edge Colorado College after the teams skated to a 3-3 tie Saturday night.
UNO won the shootout 2-1 after scores by Archibald and Ryan Walters and CC’s Alexander Krushelnyski, giving the visitors the two points in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings. The overtime tie came about after CC jumped to 2-0 and 3-2 leads only to see those evaporate under steady pressure from No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks (8-7-1, 5-2-1-1 NCHC) peppered the CC defense and senior goalie Josh Thorimbert (41 saves), who was making his 15th consecutive start, all game.
“You gain experience and you learn from playing games like this when you’re battling to survive,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “I’m hopeful this kind of stretch and the experience from it will get us where we want to be playing as a team by late January. There are small positives to be found.”
CC picked up four league points thanks to the Friday win (three) and shootout loss. That one point from Saturday kept CC in fifth place in the eight-team league.
Both teams looked tired after a physical contest Friday when CC prevailed 4-2.
One of the positives is the Tigers (2-10-3, 2-5-2-1) scored for the second night in a row in the third period. Getting seven goals on the weekend is big when you consider the team had managed 17 in its first 13 games.
They just couldn’t make the lead stand on Saturday.
“(Scoring in the third) was really big for our team confidence,” said freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who tallied two assists early for his first multi-point college game. “It is tough when you give it right back, but we played hard.”
About 90 seconds after Tigers freshman Alex Roos scored his team-high fourth goal with 8:41 remaining in regulation, Archibald scored his 11th this season to knot the game at 3-3 with 7:15 left.
Colorado College saw its 2-0 lead evaporate over the final two periods when UNO tied the game with 12:05 left. Johnnie Searfoss scored about three minutes after the CC power play failed to convert during almost seven minutes with the man advantage.
“It’s a good (league) point yet it is disappointing because we had that five-minute power play and could not take advantage,” Owens said. “Our fatigue really showed on the power play when we couldn’t get to the loose pucks first.”
Those seven minutes, including a later tripping penalty, came about after most of the 6,005 fans at World Arena were silenced late in the second period when UNO senior center Brock Montpetit collided with Thorimbert, drawing a five-minute major for charging. Thorimbert stayed down for a while but came back and played well.
In the first period, CC jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to some strong offensive work by Slavin. Tigers freshman Matt Hansen scored his first goal and point as a Tiger, taking a pass from Slavin, who recorded his first multi-point college hockey game, as the blue-liner skated between the faceoff circles. The score made it 2-0 with 2:06 left in the first period.
Earlier, CC senior Michael Morin backhanded in a rebound for a 1-0 lead with 10:32 left. Slavin’s rising shot was stopped by Massa, but the puck bounced to his right where Morin, who now has three points (two goals) in 28 career games, stood in front of a wide-open net.
After those two goals, Massa (six saves) did not start the second. Backup freshman netminder Kirk Thompson made 17 saves.
Omaha took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to slash the Tigers lead to 2-1. UNO junior center Dominic Zombo redirected the puck in between senior goalie Josh Thorimbert’s legs with 16:16 left in the second period.