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CC can't string good games together, or stop Miami power play

By: JOE PAISLEY joe.paisley@gazette.com
January 25, 2014 Updated: January 26, 2014 at 10:44 am
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photo - Charlie Taft, shown here against New Hampshire on Nov. 29, scored Colorado College's lone goal in Saturday's loss to Miami. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)
Charlie Taft, shown here against New Hampshire on Nov. 29, scored Colorado College's lone goal in Saturday's loss to Miami. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette) 

Colorado College had a chance to show it had figured out how to sustain two strong performances in a row.

It is a lesson that remains unlearned.

Miami's power play was a perfect 4-for-4 by midway through the second period and a strong first period by the Tigers was squandered in an eventual 6-1 home loss Saturday.

"And we got the kind of start we needed," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "There were a few pucks lying there (for rebounds) in the first period and then (sophomore goalie Jay) Williams got more and more confidence as the game went on."

The CC penalty kill, which entered the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game at No. 21 in Division I (82 percent), could not slow down the RedHawks, who scored five seconds into their first man advantage in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.

But it was in the second, a period which the Tigers have been outscored 34-14 this season, when Miami's power play took over. Miami scored five goals - by five players - in a span of 6:53 for a 6-1 lead. Three came on the power play, which entered the game on a 1-for-29 downturn since Jan. 1.

The contrast in periods was remarkable. Miami scored five times in the second (16 shots) but managed only five shots combined in the first and third periods.

"We had that second period again," CC coach Scott Owens said. "Then they get on a roll and we just stood around. We have done that far too often."

"That is on us," Tigers sophomore Cody Bradley said. "We have to figure out a way to play a full 60 minutes, not just 40."

CC had a chance to get back into the game with a five-minute power play that lasted through the end of the second and into the third period, but the Tigers could not muster much pressure. A 5-on-3 advantage later in the third that lasted for 1:53 generated four shots but no goals.

CC finished 0 for 5 with the man advantage. Miami finished 4 of 5. The Tigers have gone 0 for 19 over the past four games since opening the second half at a 50-percent clip (five for 10).

In the opening period, Miami adjusted to the width of World Arena's Olympic sheet but still had trouble with the Tigers creating chances with their speed along the outside and then cutting in toward the RedHawks' (10-11-3, 4-9-1-1 NCHC) net.

More importantly, that speed allowed the Tigers (3-17-4, 3-8-3-1) to get to the front of the Miami net to put considerable pressure on Williams (career-high 38 saves) during the first period.

It was that speed that led to the opening goal. Junior Charlie Taft, who has elevated his play since the holiday break, used his smooth skating to create a chance.

As he skated fast behind the Miami net, he alertly passed toward the front, catching Williams sliding to his right for Bradley, who one-timed the pass inside the near post with 12 minutes left in the first period.

CC came close to taking a 2-0 lead when a rebound that popped up over a prone Williams was batted out of the air at waist level by Miami captain Austin Czarnik, with 6:25 left in the opening period.

"We needed to get a couple goals early," Owens said.

Instead, the RedHawks drew a power play and cashed it in only five seconds later when Czarnik passed over to Riley Barber, who scored with a wrist shot with 6:08 left. Barber (two goals, one assist Saturday) and Czarnik (two assists), the league's top scorers, were held without points in Friday's contest.

"It's about discipline," Bradley said. "We can't give the top two scorers in the league those opportunities or they will hurt us."

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