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Ockey's late goal helps Colorado College hockey bounce back against Merrimack

December 30, 2017 Updated: December 30, 2017 at 10:16 pm
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photo - Colorado College's Tanner Ockey controls the puck during a game at the World Arena on Sunday, December 17, 2017. The game was sent into overtime, but still officially ended in a 4-4 tie. During an exhibition shoot out, Colorado College scored one more goal. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)
Colorado College's Tanner Ockey controls the puck during a game at the World Arena on Sunday, December 17, 2017. The game was sent into overtime, but still officially ended in a 4-4 tie. During an exhibition shoot out, Colorado College scored one more goal. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette) 

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.”

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