Hot start, cold finish sinks CC in playoff opener

March 14, 2014 Updated: March 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm
photo - Goalie Josh Thorimbert and the Colorado College Tigers were defeated by North Dakota on Friday.
Goalie Josh Thorimbert and the Colorado College Tigers were defeated by North Dakota on Friday. 

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The start was a good one but the second period proved all too familiar for Colorado College. And now, the Tigers face playoff elimination.

The No. 7 seed Tigers could not sustain a strong start, eventually falling 4-2 to the hosts in Game 1 of their National Collegiate Hockey Conference quarterfinal series. CC pulled senior goalie Josh Thorimbert (18 saves) with 1:46 left but could not mount a rally.

"We got away from what we were doing and started making turnovers and failing to get the puck out of the zone," freshman Sam Rothstein (one goal, one assist) said. "We had our chances on the power play and on odd-man rushes."

"We had a chance to put the game away in the first period and we didn't," junior Peter Stoykewych said referring to five strong scoring chances generated by the Tigers.

North Dakota dominated the second period and scored twice to take a 3-2 lead before 10, 217 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

"They worked their way back into the game," CC coach Scott Owens said. "I am disappointed we could not build off the positive start we had with a third goal."

North Dakota tied the game at 2-2 on when junior Mark MacMillan made a crossing pass to a wide-open Michael Parks, who skated in and shot the puck in under the crossbar.

The goal continued a strong second period for the hosts, capped by an a poor pass by CC's Jaccob Slavin that led to an unassisted goal for UND center Bryn Chyzyk with 1:23 left for a 3-2 North Dakota lead.

The eventual game-winning goal was the sophomore's first score since Jan. 10 against the Tigers.

"It was a gift and I'll take it," he said.

The defensemen jump-started the Tigers offense when Stoykewych fired a shot that Rothstein redirected between UND sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg's leg pads for a 1-0 lead. The goal came only 72 seconds into the contest. About five minutes later, Aaron Harstad fired a shot that made its way past Gothberg with 12:55 remaining.

North Dakota got back in the game when Drake Caggiula scored to make it 2-1 with 7:49 remaining and blunt the start by the Tigers (6-23-6).

"We were down 2-0 and shocked a little bit," Chyzyk said. "That was a huge goal. That is a much better team than their record this season. They will be hungry tomorrow."

North Dakota was the only higher seed to win after No. 8 Miami upended St. Cloud State 5-4 in overtime, No. 5 Western Michigan edged Minnesota Duluth 3-2 and Denver tied its best-of-three series at with a 5-1 road win over No. 3 seed Nebraska-Omaha.

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