Another weekend, another test for the Colorado College hockey team.
The 14th-ranked Tigers follow a tough weekend against No. 2 Denver by hosting third-ranked New Hampshire and a talented Yale team on back-to-back nights at World Arena on Friday and Saturday. CC (7-5) has done its best to shake off the effects of being swept by Denver and will be ready when the defensively stout Wildcats (8-1-1) take the ice Friday.
“I think we’re a team that’s ready to prove itself again and a team that is a little disappointed and ready to battle,” said junior forward Archie Skalbeck, who has four goals and six assists this season. “We’re trying to just learn from (the Denver series), put it behind us and keep getting better as a team and as a unit.”
No. 3 New Hampshire is the nation’s top defensive team, and sophomore goalie Casey DeSmith has been stellar.
The Hockey East defensive player of the week has played every minute for New Hampshire and leads the conference in goals-against average (1.19) and saves percentage (.961) to go along with his four shutouts. The Wildcats enter the weekend on a four-game winning streak in which they have allowed just one goal.
“New Hampshire is real good,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “They are clicking on all cylinders. They have a good power play, but Casey DeSmith has been unbelievable.
“That’s going to be a tough game, but we get them in our building the day after Thanksgiving, so we can have some success.”
Yale (3-2-1) is up the following night, with the Tigers facing another stiff test from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) foe. The Bulldogs, which have won two of their last three games, defeated CC 5-1 at the World Arena in 2010.
“Yale has been good the last four or five years,” Owens said. “They’re skilled, they play an up-tempo game, and they have a great first line. They’re not going to be intimidated by an Olympic-sized sheet, because they move well.
“For us, it’s like playing a top four or five team in the WCHA.”
Owens thinks the two-game tilt will be a quality entertainment option for fans looking to complete a festive holiday weekend.
“I think it’s great,” Owens said. “You can eat some turkey, watch some football, then get out and watch some hockey. It’s kind of what (life) is all about.
“Hopefully we can get some points and pick up some wins this weekend.”
No. 3 New Hampshire (8-1-1) at No. 14 CC (7-5)
7:37 p.m. MT Friday, World Arena
Coaches: New Hampshire — Dick Umile (507-265-88, 23rd season); Colorado College—Scott Owens (306-190-43, 14th season)
All-time series: New Hampshire leads 11-5
Top players: New Hampshire — Kevin Goumas, jr., F (3g, 10a); Austin Block, sr., F (8g, 2a); Trevor van Riemsdyk, soph., D (4g, 6a); Casey DeSmith, soph., G (1.19 gaa, .961 save percentage). Colorado College — William Rapuzzi, sr., F (6g, 8a); Rylan Schwartz, sr., F (5g, 8a); Scott Winkler, sr., F (7g, 5a); Alexander Krushelnyski, jr., F (5g, 7a); Eamonn McDermott, jr., D (1g, 10a)
Outlook: The Tigers haven’t played New Hampshire since 2007, but the Wildcats swept the last two series against CC that year and in 2006. The Denver series was physical and draining for CC, but the Tigers will have to rebound quickly against a tough team that is on a roll.
Yale (3-2-1) at No. 14 Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT Saturday, World Arena
Yale coach — Keith Allain (119-74-17, seventh season)
All-time series: Yale leads 8-7
Top Yale players: Kenny Agostino, jr., F (4g, 4a); Andrew Miller, sr., F (2g, 4a); Jeff Malcolm, sr., G (3-1, 1.50 gaa)
Outlook: Yale is a talented and hungry team, but they may be a bit fatigued against the Tigers Saturday night after taking on Denver at altitude the night before. It’s an important game for CC, which plays top-five teams the next four times out after taking on the Bulldogs.