Junior Westin Michaud scored twice, and Alex Leclerc made 35 saves for his second 4-0 shutout of the season as Colorado College won its first meeting with Arizona State and made it look easy at times.
The Tigers matched last season’s win total (8-24-4) with a game to go before Christmas.
Michaud finished with three shots and many other close calls as his teammates tried to help him to his first career hat trick Saturday night.
“I was kind of gripping the stick a little tight there and was thinking about it, and unfortunately, I couldn’t get the third one,” Michaud said.
Michaud’s line had another turn to shine as freshman center Christiano Versich finished with a career-high three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and Trevor Gooch had two helpers.
Coach Mike Haviland called Versich “a crafty little player” with a high hockey IQ who is showing why the Tigers recruited him.
“He’s getting better and better as we go along here,” Haviland said. “He’s getting comfortable and getting more and more confidence in his game.”
The Tigers (8-7-2) started slowly but vaulted onto the scoreboard with two goals in 17 seconds midway through the first period. Michaud struck first when, lurking at the side of the net, he redirected Zach Berzolla’s long pass past Sun Devils goaltender Joey Daccord.
That goal had barely been announced when Nick Halloran doubled the lead off a turnover with an assist from Trey Bradley.
Versich scored his third of the season from close in on the power play, and Michaud’s second of the night, which came 1:31 into the second period, chased Daccord. Ryland Pashovitz was perfect with 28 saves in relief for Arizona State (4-10-3).
The Tigers’ passing was sloppy during stretches, and Haviland called his time out late in the third period when fatigue might have put Leclerc’s shutout bid at risk.
“We need to tighten up,” Haviland said. “We were loose at times. We were good at times, but I think we need to be consistently good.”
Though Michaud said the team “cruised” against Division I’s newest hockey team, neither the player nor his coach were satisfied with the complete effort. But the Tigers won anyway, and haven’t won more times than this since the 2012-13 season, when they won 18.
“The past two years haven’t been what we planned for. So far this year we’ve been very, very good at times and just average at times,” Michaud said. “We’ve got to play the whole 60 minutes and I think our young group is taking steps toward that every single day.”