There was an unfamiliar noise blaring in the Colorado College locker room: celebratory music.
For the first time since Dec. 6, the Tigers were able to raise their sticks to the World Arena crowd in celebration after downing Miami 4-1 on Friday night.
They did in convincing fashion, dropping the RedHawks to 0-4-1 since Jan. 1.
"It feels good," said junior defenseman Aaron Harstad. "We haven't heard that song in a while. We played pretty much a full 60 minutes. If we can keep doing that we will win some more games."
The win lifted the Tigers (3-16-4, 2-7-3-1 league) into seventh ahead of the last-place RedHawks (9-11-3, 3-9-1-1), who entered the inaugural National Collegiate Hockey Conference season as a preseason favorite.
An offense mustering 1.77 goals, 58th out of 59 Division I teams, scored three in the first 15 minutes of the game. It was more than enough for Josh Thorimbert (27 saves).
"Josh just looked solid and played confident," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "It was a good team win with a good 60 minutes with a lot of guys contributing. This was real good for the guys."
Colorado College's speed along the outside gave Miami trouble, especially early when Tigers freshman Sam Rothstein collected the puck along the boards and fired a centering pass in to Alexander Krushelnyski in the slot. The senior immediately backhanded the puck over the rookie Alex Roos in the opposite faceoff circle, catching Miami sophomore goalie Ryan McKay out of position for the opening score only 92 seconds into the game.
CC kept up the pressure thanks to a good forecheck, which led to a 2-0 lead less than five minutes later.
"Our forwards controlled the puck down low really well," senior defenseman Eamonn McDermott said. "We came out strong for the first period."
Senior Archie Skalbeck gathered in the puck along the far boards, near where Rothstein assisted the opening goal, and fired a crossing pass out along the blue line where an undefended freshman blue-liner Gustav Olofsson skated into the Miami zone.
His shot through traffic got past McKay to make it 2-0 with 13:46 remaining in the opening period. CC started the game with a 7-1 edge in shots and had Miami on its heels.
CC junior Charlie Taft banged in his own rebound after a pass by Hunter Fejes to make it 3-0 with 4:15 left.
Miami's Cody Murphy scored with 46 seconds left in the third to spoil Thorimbert's shutout bid. Krushelnyski scored an empty-netter for the final margin.
Now, we will see how the Tigers handle Miami on Saturday.
"They are going to come out slugging," McDermott said. "We need to be ready to play another 60 minutes."