CC's low scoring, goalie injury contributed to seventh-worst Tigers hockey season

March 19, 2014 Updated: March 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm
photo - Colorado College defenseman Eamonn McDermott will begin his professional career with the Idaho Steelheads. The senior signed a contract with the ECHL team and will make his pro debut on Saturday. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Colorado College defenseman Eamonn McDermott will begin his professional career with the Idaho Steelheads. The senior signed a contract with the ECHL team and will make his pro debut on Saturday. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Averaging only two goals hurt Colorado College throughout the past season, resulting in a seventh-place finish in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

That average was not good enough against Division I's second-toughest schedule, according to the KRACH ratings. That led to a 7-24-6 record that did not meet the expectations of coaches, players and fans.

"We are all disappointed with only getting seven wins," Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

Relying on inexperienced players and having most upperclassmen struggle led to problems on the power play (57th, 12.2 percent) and penalty kill (49th, 78.6 percent).

Those issues led to few timely goals and a 2-9-6 record in one-goal games, which contributed to the seventh-lowest win percentage (.270) for CC teams that played at least 20 games.

Preseason shoulder surgery for freshman goalie Tyler Marble was long ago, but it meant senior Josh Thorimbert played 36 of 37 games. That brutal workload showed in his individual stats and the team defensive numbers (50th, 3.27 goals).

"Our team defense and Josh were better than the stats," Owens said.

To the Tigers' credit, they never quit and pushed No. 2 NCHC seed North Dakota to three games in their best-of-three series last weekend. Overall, the players worked hard with a good attitude throughout the season, Owens said.

"It says a lot about the character in the locker room," Thorimbert said.

That showed in the development of the freshmen as well. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin made a strong debut and was named to the league second team and all-rookie squad. He is also a finalist for the league rookie and offensive defenseman of the year awards.

Slavin overtook senior Alexander Krushelnyski (24, 11 goals) for the team points lead (25, 20 assists) in the final game. Freshmen Sam Rothstein (20, 14 assists) and Alex Roos (17, 10 goals) also performed well as did blue-liner Gustav Olofsson (eight, four goals). All four freshmen appeared in at least 30 games.

Other rookies who saw considerable time were forwards Zach Aman (18 games), Luc Gerdes (12), Matt Hansen (12) and Christian Heil (26). The freshman class accounted for 39 percent of the team's goals and 39.6 percent of the points.

"It was important that we get them playing experience and develop them," Owens said, pointing out that seven rookies played in Saturday's playoff win. The team had five to seven in each game's lineup. "They all improved in important ways even if they only had a point or two."

Sophomore center Cody Bradley, who is younger than some of the freshmen, finished with 16 points (10 assists). That means four out of CC's top five top scorers are expected back next season.

"Overall it was not a good year," Owens said. "If there is a silver lining to this season, it was seeing the young guys make contributions. They are a large class with a real nice mix of personalities and skills. They showed a bit of what the future holds."

As usual, Owens will meet with athletic director Ken Ralph for his annual review after handing in a self-evaluation form, which typically takes two weeks. Both are in Minneapolis this weekend attending the NCHC Frozen Four and other league events.


CC's worst seasons

Here are the 20 lowest season winning percentages for Colorado College teams that played a minimum 20 games. The list is organized by winning percentage, which counts ties as half-wins:

Season Record Win pct. Coach

1961-62 0-23-0 .000 Tony Frasca

1987-88 4-33-1 .118 Mike Bertsch

1960-61 4-20-0 .167 Frasca

1982-83 6-28-1 .186 Bertsch

1992-93 8-28-0 .222 Brad Buetow

1969-70 7-22-1 .250 John Matchefts

2013-14 7-24-6 .270 Scott Owens

1983-84 9-25-1 .271 Bertsch

1964-65 7-18-0 .280 Bob Johnson

1972-73 10-24-0 .294 Jeff Sauer

1967-68 9-20-0 .310 Matchefts

1988-89 11-26-3 .313 Buetow

1985-86 12-26-2 .325 Bertsch

1959-60 8-17-1 .327 Frasca

1981-82 11-23-2 .333 Sauer

1990-91 13-26-1 .338 Buetow

1978-79 12-24-2 .342 Sauer

1965-66 9-18-2 .345 Johnson

1976-77 13-25-2 .350 Sauer

1970-71 11-17-1 .397 Matchefts


McDermott signs with ECHL Idaho

Colorado College senior captain and defenseman Eamonn McDermott signed to play for the rest of the season for the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads.

He is scheduled to make his pro debut Saturday in Boise against the Colorado Eagles.

"I think this is a real good opportunity for me to show off my skills," said McDermott, who finished with 52 points (45 assists) in 149 games with the Tigers.

He joins former teammate and Tigers captain William Rapuzzi (53 points, 37 assists, 52 games), who signed with Idaho this past offseason.

"He was a good guy to talk to about this organization and explained why I would want to play here," said McDermott, who hopes to garner an invite to an American Hockey League training camp this summer.

He is the first of the six Tiger seniors to sign a pro contract.

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