November 14, 2013 Updated: November 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm
Colorado College hockey can point to positives a quarter of the way through the season.
But, those pluses do not offset a sputtering offense (1.25 goals), 58th out 59 Division I teams.
There are statistics that point to improvement.
The Tigers are averaging 31.7 shots over the past four National Collegiate Hockey Conference games, including 40 in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Denver. They averaged 19 in the first four.
CC is 1-6-1 (1-4-1 NCHC).
"We would be more concerned if we weren't getting scoring chances," senior wing Alexander Krushelnyski said. "If you're not, you know you're in trouble. I am glad we're getting these struggles out of the way this time of year. It will make our comeback all the better."
CC tallied its first power-play goal against Denver, which has a strong penalty kill. The team generated 13 shots with the man advantage, a considerable improvement, but managed only the one score. The Tigers' power play remains last in the nation at 5.3 percent (2 for 38).
Drills in practice have focused on quicker shooting and second-effort goals.
"We need more tenacity around the net," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "We played well on Saturday but the team needs to continue working hard. I have seen no signs they won't keep doing that."
The Tigers remain focused on improving and staying positive, sophomore center Cody Bradley said.
"We are making steps but they are small steps," Bradley said. "We got a talented group of forwards. We will get our points. If you keep working hard, the bounces usually go your way."
"We just need to keep getting better," junior defenseman Aaron Harstad said.
A good team defense (2.5 goals, tied for 21st) is anchored by senior goalie Josh Thorimbert (1-6-1, 2.55 goals, .919 saves). The penalty kill is tied for eighth in the nation at 87.5 percent (28 for 32).
"The wins will come as long as we keep working," said freshman Alex Roos, who has three of the Tigers' 10 goals. "We will get better."