Mike Boivin dropped to his right knee, then pumped his right fist in celebration – looking like a kid who had tallied his first goal. Tons of excitement, followed by a load of relief.
Can you blame him? Colorado College was on the brink of disaster. And he was the hero.
Boivin scored with 2.8 seconds left, a bullet from just inside the blue line that withstood a video review that took 3 ½ minutes, and No. 6 CC salvaged the weekend by rallying from a two-goal deficit Saturday in a 4-3 victory against Alaska-Anchorage at World Arena.
Dakota Eveland deserves acclaim for Boivin’s first career game-winner, digging the puck out of the corner before Scott Winkler passed it from the left circle. Boivin got possession of the puck, briefly composed himself and rifled a shot into traffic, with Rob Gunderson (3-5-2) screened by Rylan Schwartz, who almost was called for goaltender interference. Gunderson was beat high to the glove side – a second too late in shifting to the left post.
“I just tried to get it past the first set of shin pads,” said Boivin, who had two goals for the first time in his career, also scoring in the first period. “Luckily, Rylan was in front of the net, and he had a good screen. The goalie couldn’t see anything. It just went right in.”
With Winkler attracting attention from two Alaska-Anchorage players that he drew away from the net, Schwartz admitted that he “had good positioning on the goalie, and I don’t think he saw it.” On being in the crease, Schwartz said, “At one point, I was inside there. But before Boivin shot it, I felt like I got out of there, and I was in front of the crease.”
It marked CC’s first of five games minus second-leading point producer Jaden Schwartz, who begins play this month for Canada at the world junior championships in Calgary and Edmonton. In his absence, CC (9-5, 7-5 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) pulled within 2-1 on Boivin’s first goal, and in the second, it got goals from Rylan Schwartz (on the power play) and David Civitarese, whose shorthanded effort evened the score at 3-3. Alaska-Anchorage received two goals from Brett Cameron and a goal from Eric Scheid.
The Tigers, avoiding a sweep for the second time in three weekends, haven’t had trouble generating offense, evidenced by their 40-26 advantage in shots and their 38-32 edge in faceoffs – they average a national-best 4.21 goals, and their power play ranks third in the country at 26.1 percent. When they’re able to move up and down the ice and when they garner quality scoring chances, they’re dangerous. Credit Gunderson for 36 saves.
But CC’s porous defense – opponents are averaging 3.36 goals, and CC is at 77.9 percent on the penalty kill – has the Tigers tied for fourth in the WCHA, eight points behind first-place Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth, with two less games played. Josh Thorimbert (4-1) has struggled as much as Joe Howe, who took the loss Friday, although he stopped 11 shots in the third, and Alaska-Anchorage (6-10-2, 3-10-1) was 0 for 3 on the power play.
“It wasn’t a game of beauty, but I thought we played well,” said CC coach Scott Owens, whose team went 1 for 5 on the power play, a night after it generated one man advantage and totaled 11 penalties lasting 44 minutes in a 6-3 defeat. He added, “We showed a lot of character and resilience to come back. … We got fortunate, but we were deserving.”
COLORADO COLLEGE 4, ALASKA-ANCHORAGE 3
Alaska-Anchorage 2 1 0 – 3
Colorado College 1 2 1 – 4
First period – 1. Alaska-Anchorage, Scheid 2 (Coldwell), 7:45. 2. Alaska-Anchorage, Cameron 3 (Spencer), 15:30. 3. CC, Boivin 3 (Collett), 16:32. Penalties – Sproule, Alaska-Anchorage (holding), 5:33. Bruijsten, Alaska-Anchorage (elbowing), 9:25. Coldwell, Alaska-Anchorage (cross-checking), 11:28. Leinweber, Alaska-Anchorage (obstruction-holding), 18:43.
Second – 4. Alaska-Anchorage, Cameron 4 (Leinweber, Kwas), 2:00. 5. CC, R. Schwartz 14 (unassisted), 4:04 (pp). 6. CC, Civitarese 3 (unassisted), 11:13 (sh). Penalties – Scheid, Alaska-Anchorage (interference), 3:36. Harstad, CC (elbowing), 9:44. Winkler, CC (interference), 15:16.
Third – 4. CC, Boivin 4 (Winkler, Eveland), 19:57. Penalties – Dineen, CC (elbowing), 16:23.
Shots on goal – Alaska-Anchorage 8-7-11-26. CC 20-11-9-40. Power-play opportunities – Alaska-Anchorage 0 of 3. CC 1 of 5. Goalies – Alaska-Anchorage, Gunderson 19-9-8 (40 shots-36 saves). CC, Thorimbert 6-6-11 (26-23). Attendance – 6,552. Time – 2:26. Referees – Todd Anderson, Brad Shepherd. Linesmen – Scott Staudte, Tim Swiader.
Contact Brian Gomez: 719-636-0256 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @gazettehockey. Facebook: Brian Gomez. For the Colorado College hockey homepage, visit www.gazette.com/cchockey. For the CC hockey blog, visit http://cchockey.freedomblogging.com.