As the saying goes, “don’t get mad, get even.” The Colorado College Tigers were mad, but they got even anyway.
Colorado College, smarting from a 5-1 loss to No. 3 Denver at home the night before, used every square inch of black and gold fabric to make Nick Halloran’s first-period goal stick in a 1-0 victory Saturday night at Magness Arena.
Alex Leclerc made 40 saves in his third shutout of the season as the Tigers ended a 17-game winless streak against Denver.
Colorado College (13-13-4, 7-10-3-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) was already eliminated in the Battle for the Gold Pan. But five points separated seventh and third in the NCHC before the game, and there was no time to sulk.
“We disappointed not only ourselves, but the program, the alumni, the fans,” Leclerc said. “We wanted to make sure we showed up with a distinctive effort. I think we showed a lot of character.”
The Pioneers pinned down the Tigers and put 13 shots on Leclerc in the first period, but the visitors fought back late and drew a penalty. Halloran collected his 18th goal of the season - tied for second in the league - when his wrist shot from the point beat a screened Tanner Jaillet.
“I figured I’d just sort of sling it at him, and lucky enough, it went in,” Halloran said.
Somehow, it stood up. CC caught a break when Henrik Borgstrom hit a post, and as they did Friday, the Tigers gave up many odd-man rushes. But diving defensemen atoned, Zach Berzolla took a penalty on a breakaway but likely saved a goal, and Leclerc was there to clean up the rest.
"There were a ton of wingers on the penalty kill that were sacrificing their bodies, and they don’t have necessarily the equipment to block those shots,” Leclerc said. “That may not be their role, but they’ll put their face first in those moments.”
The Pioneers pressed as hard as they did the previous night, but Colorado College wasn't leaving empty-handed.
“I wasn’t a happy man,” said coach Mike Haviland, who notched his first victory against the Pioneers, on the hours between the games. “We needed a better defensive effort. I thought I saw a lot more compete out of our guys throughout the game tonight.”
The Tigers were without forward Kade Kehoe, who served a one-game suspension for spearing a Pioneers player late in the third period Friday night. He received a major penalty and a game misconduct at the time.