Co-captain Tanner Ockey called the Tigers’ mood Friday following a 6-3 loss at Air Force “awful.” Twice.
“I think it’s the lowest we’ve been this year,” Ockey said. “I haven’t won the Pikes Peak Trophy as a junior, and we want it.
“We probably played the worst we’ve ever played. We wanted easy.”
Ockey helped salvage the weekend for Colorado College, one-timing the long rebound of a Ben Israel shot past Merrimack goaltender Craig Pantano to break a tie with 1:05 remaining in the game Saturday.
The Tigers finished off Hockey East’s Warriors 2-1 at The Broadmoor World Arena.
“We kind of got back to what made us successful,” Ockey said. “We’re a one-goal team. That’s how we win.”
Colorado College is 6-1 in one-goal games. In the Tigers’ nine wins this season - their most at this point since the 2011-12 season - they have allowed 10 goals.
Alex Leclerc made 21 saves for CC. He was pulled after allowing three goals on three shots just 4:44 into Friday’s game. Coach Mike Haviland said he never seriously considered benching him Saturday.
“That (Air Force game) was an eye-opener for us, from the cage out,” Leclerc said. “It was a tough video session, but there was a message we had to get. I thought we responded pretty well tonight.”
Midway through the second period, Merrimack’s Michael Babcock was ejected for a hit to the head of Westin Michaud along the boards, and the Tigers (9-8-3) couldn’t solve Pantano during the five-minute major. But right after it expired, CC got on the board.
Nick Halloran was cherry picking at the Merrimack blue line, waiting for a feed. Mason Bergh obliged, and Halloran skated in alone and buried his shot with 2:55 left in the period.
It was his 11th goal of the season and sixth in six games. He has scored in four straight.
Pantano held the Warriors (5-10-4) in the game until teammate Logan Coomes found the puck in a scrum in front of Leclerc and buried it with 9:45 left in the third period.
Ockey warded off overtime when Pantano, who made 36 saves in a 3-2 win over No. 2 Denver the previous night, allowed an uncharacteristic rebound during four-on-four play.
“I thought (Ockey) was one of our bright spots last night,” Haviland said. “That’s what happens when you simplify things. It’s a simple little play, but it’s effective.”