Colorado College put together its best 60 minutes of the season in Friday's 4-2 win by playing with vigor and a smart, physical approach.
"We really focused on being positive and playing a full 60 minutes," CC assistant Joe Bonnett said.
The Tigers also played with an edge to their game, finishing checks along the boards, and dishing out several hits in the middle of the ice to slow down No.?16 Nebraska-Omaha's transition game.
Most importantly, they did not back down.
"We wanted them to play physical but smart," Bonnett said. "We didn't want them to take themselves out of the play to just hit the other guy. We wanted them to make contact and create a turnover."
The best example of that came in the third period when freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson hit Mavericks senior Ryan Walters and took away the puck. He skated forward into the UNO zone and fired a shot that senior Jeff Collett redirected for a goal and the final margin.
"The coaches have been calling us out to play more physical," freshman center Sam Rothstein said. "To get those second-effort chances, you need to be physical."
It was also important against a team like the Mavericks.
"We knew they play a physical game and we didn't want to take anything from them," Collett said. "Even if they beat us to the 50/50 pucks we knew we needed to get into them and take the puck away from them."
Third-period effort, special teams decisive Friday night
There would be no third-period meltdown on Friday despite a concerted effort from Nebraska-Omaha to mount a rally after CC dominated the second period.
"We've had points this season where we've been in similar situations in the third period and we haven't been able to close anybody out and I thought we stood in there pretty well tonight," Tigers coach Scott Owens said afterward.
After allowing a power-play goal late in the first period, the CC penalty kill, ranked 19th coming into the weekend, stifled the next three UNO advantages, allowing no shots in four minutes in the second period.
The Mavs managed two shots during its third-period power play but senior goalie Josh Thorimbert made the big saves.
"Our killing has been consistently pretty good," Owens said. "The pressure was on in the third period, especially because Collett."
CC sophomore center Cody Bradley returned to the lineup while Rothstein sat with an unspecified injury. ... St. Cloud St.'s Joey Benik won the NCHC's Movember contest for best mustache.