CC tightens up on defense, but loses late at Omaha 3-1

January 5, 2013
photo - CC's William Rapuzzi Photo by
CC's William Rapuzzi Photo by  

OMAHA, Neb. • For close to two periods Saturday night, Colorado College played a near-perfect road game.

The Tigers had reined in Nebraska-Omaha’s high-powered offense. They scored first. And they were on a power play late in the second period.

But UNO’s Bryce Aneloski scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with 1:34 left before intermission, and the Mavericks scored third-period goals 35 seconds apart to complete a sweep with a 3-1 win at CenturyLink Center.

Nos. 16 UNO (13-8-1, 9-4-1 Western College Hockey Association) jumped past St. Cloud State into first place in the WCHA while extending the Tigers’ winless streak to seven games (0-6-1).

“We played a little too run-and-gun for us last night, and you saw what happened,” CC coach Scott Owens said of an 8-4 loss Friday. “We have to tighten it up.

“I’d rather take my chances this way on the road. I thought we played a pretty good road game. We just couldn’t make a play to go up 2-0 in the second period, and the short-hander hurt us.”

CC (8-12-2, 5-8-1) hadn’t given up a short-handed goal all season until a late UNO score Friday. Saturday’s sequel hurt much worse.

UNO center Dominic Zombo tracked down the rebound of a shot by teammate Brent Gwidt along the boards near the left faceoff circle and sent the puck back to Aneloski — a senior defenseman — skating down the slot. Aneloski beat Joe Howe (4-6-1) between the legs at 18:26.

“It was really key to get that short-handed goal at the end of the second period,” UNO coach Dean Blais said. “It gave us all kinds of momentum and life.”

After managing 15 shots on goal through two periods, UNO put 14 more on Howe in the final period, breaking through on a shot from the point by defenseman Andrej Sustr just after the Mavericks won a faceoff following a roughing penalty on Mike Boivin.

Boivin, who had a hat trick Friday, had been trying to get around Sustr while taking the puck to the net.

“Boivin goes hard to the net making a strong play,” Owens said. “From the bench, I thought we were going on the power play (for a penalty on Sustr). But he must have nudged (UNO goalie John Faulkner). They win the draw and score.

“That’s the anatomy of a loss on the road. You can’t take penalties at the times we did.”

Sustr’s shot appeared to deflect off the skate of defenseman Peter Stoykewych before getting past Howe.

UNO made it 3-1 when Josh Archibald — who also had a hat trick Friday — beat Howe with a laser from the right faceoff circle for his fourth goal of the series and 11th of the season.

“Omaha’s skill level, their talent up front, the ‘D’ corps — they’re a good team,” Owens said. “We rebounded from last night’s game, but we still came up short.”

Owens dressed only five defensemen.

“I thought they gave us quality to the very end,” Owens said. “I was very happy with how they competed. If we’re able to play like that the second half of the year, I think we’ll be a decent club.”

CC scored first. William Rapuzzi stationed himself in front of the net and tipped an Eamonn McDermott shot from the high slot past Faulkner with 10:09 left in the first period.

“Colorado (College) played a lot better game tonight than last night,” Blais said. “They played a good road game and fixed what was broken last night, and they were in position to win the game tonight with a bounce or an opportunistic play.”

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