Finally, let the Pan-demonium begin. The Gold Pan has returned to Colorado College.
In perhaps its gutsiest effort of the season, No. 11 CC grinded to a 2-2 tie against No. 13 Denver on Saturday at World Arena, rallying from a two-goal hole in the first period and persevering through injuries to goaltender Josh Thorimbert and captain Nick Dineen.
CHECK OUT PHOTOS FROM THE GAME!
The draw scored CC (15-9-2, 12-7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) the rivalry trophy for the first time in three years, since the Tigers got five of a possible eight points in the season series. It also kept CC in third place in the WCHA – two points behind No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth and five points in back of No. 2 Minnesota. And CC moved to 16th in the PairWise rankings that are used to determine the 16-team NCAA Tournament field.
“You find a way to work your way back,” said CC coach Scott Owens, whose team got better forechecking as the game progressed, as well as improved neutral-zone play. “We had a lot of guys playing different spots and double-shifting. We earned that point, and we earned the Pan, and I’m proud of that. We didn’t back our way into it. We earned it.”
This time, CC hardly minded overcoming a lot of adversity, the most notable upper-body ailments that knocked out Dineen in the first, then Thorimbert (10-4-1) in the second. Joe Howe stopped all 17 shots that he faced after Chris Knowlton, a Colorado Springs native, collided with Thorimbert, and Dineen’s second-line center position was occupied by Tim Hall, with David Civitarese and Jeff Collett taking his power-play spot. Both Thorimbert and Dineen will be evaluated next week to decide their status for a trip to Bemidji State.
Another shot advantage – 35-31 after a 35-29 edge Friday in a 2-0 win at Denver – really helped CC because the Tigers scored on only one of five power-play chances, and Juho Olkinuora (6-6-3) was strong in place of Sam Brittain, whose knee wasn’t healthy enough to withstand back-to-back starts. Plus, Denver (15-9-4, 10-6-4) kept its composure when Larkin Jacobson was ejected in the second for striking Peter Stoykewych in the head.
In all, CC controlled the tempo most of the night after Denver rampaged to a 2-0 lead on goals by Nate Dewhurst, who scored for the first time this season, and Drew Shore, who marked on the power play for his team-high 17th goal. Jaden Schwartz and Collett tallied in the second to even the game, with Schwartz scoring on a 4-on-4 situation and Collett converting on the power play. Then in overtime, Schwartz almost scored after he won a faceoff, and Howe maintained the tie by making a sprawling save on Daniel Doremus.
Getting the Gold Pan back is “big for the program,” said Schwartz, who notched his 10th goal of the season. “All the seniors, it’s their last year. … You play for the standings, and you play for the PairWise. But you’ve always got to gear up for the Gold Pan, too. And you want to make sure you have it because when you lose it, it’s tough to get it back.”
COLORADO COLLEGE 2, DENVER 2
Denver 2 0 0 0 – 2
Colorado College 0 2 0 0 – 2
First period – 1. Denver, Dewhurst 1 (Doremus, Ostrow), 2:34. 2. Denver, D. Shore 17 (Zucker, LaLeggia), 8:42 (pp). Penalties – Bidwill, CC (boarding), 7:17. Doremus, Denver (roughing), 9:05. R. Schwartz, CC (roughing), 9:05. Mayfield, Denver (holding), 9:24.
Second – 3. CC, J. Schwartz 10 (Boivin, Young), 7:29. 4. CC, Collett 5 (R. Schwartz, Guentzel), 10:24 (pp). Penalties – Jacobson, Denver (contact to the head and game misconduct), 5:30. Stoykewych, CC (roughing), 5:30. Loney, Denver (boarding), 10:59. R. Schwartz, CC (interference), 19:04.
Third – None. Penalties – LaLeggia, Denver (roughing), 7:32. Wamsganz, CC (roughing), 7:32. LaLeggia, Denver (tripping), 10:39.
Overtime – None. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Denver 11-7-9-4-31. CC 12-11-9-3-35. Power-play opportunities – Denver 1 of 2. CC 1 of 5. Goalies – Denver, Olkinuora 12-9-9-3 (35 shots-33 saves). CC, Thorimbert 9-3-0-0 (14-12), Howe 0-4-9-4 (17-17). Attendance – 7,733. Time – 2:40. Referees – Don Adam, Tim Walsh. Linesmen – Bob Keltie, Stephen Stankevich.
Contact Brian Gomez: 719-636-0256 or email@example.com. Facebook: Brian Gomez. Twitter: @gazettehockey. Google+: Brian Gomez. YouTube: Colorado College Hockey, Covered by The Gazette. For the CC homepage, visit www.gazette.com/sections/sports/cchockey. For the CC blog, visit http://cchockey.freedomblogging.com.