Pan-demonium as CC hockey team wins trophy over rival Denver

By Joe Paisley Updated: February 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm • Published: February 22, 2014 | 11:10 pm 0

This one was for Winks.

Saturday night's 3-1 win over Denver was all the sweeter for the Tigers, who dedicated the victory to former Colorado College standout Scott Winkler, who died last summer of an undiagnosed heart condition.

It would have been the Norwegian's 24th birthday.

"This one was for Scott," said senior Alexander Krushelnyski, who recorded an empty-netter with 45.5 seconds left to seal the victory and give CC, which has doubled its season win total in the span of eight days, possession of the Gold Pan Trophy over its Front Range rival. "We know he's up there smiling looking down on us tonight."

"It makes it even more special," CC coach Scott Owens said. "It is quite a feat to sweep a team as good as Denver. They were much better tonight (than Friday) but we matched their effort for the most part."

This National Collegiate Hockey Conference sweep - also CC's third win in a row - will be cherished by the Tigers (6-18-6, 6-9-5-1) and their fans for some time.

Colorado College scored the winning goal on a goal-mouth scramble that left senior defenseman Eamonn McDermott sprawled on top of Denver goalie Sam Brittain (33 saves).

A Denver defenseman leveled McDermott after he attempted a short-range shot and the CC captain landed on Brittain, opening up the top half of the net for freshman Alex Roos' backhander with 6:06 remaining before a standing-room-only crowd of 7,641 fans at World Arena.

"Getting that trophy back means a lot to us," Roos said. "I never really knew Scott but I imagine he's smiling down on us now."

The empty-netter was sweet for Krushelnyski, who recorded his 100th career point (41 goals) as a Tiger. He is the 74th CC player to record 100 or more and first to do so since Bill Sweatt in 2010 and Rylan Schwartz in 2012.

"It was a special night," Krushelnyski said. "It's all smiles now."

Earlier, junior defenseman Aaron Harstad rifled a shot that blew past Brittain's glove attempt with 3:54 left in the first period for a 1-0 lead.

Freshman Jaccob Slavin passed over to Harstad, who fired from just inside the blue line.

About two minutes later, Coronado High School graduate Matt Tabrum scored to knot the game at 1-1 with 1:40 remaining.

Both teams did a good job denying shots with Denver getting 14 blocks while CC had 22, led by Harstad with five and McDermott with four. The CC defense was strong in front of its net, keeping Denver from a close-range shot at senior goalie Josh Thorimbert (25 saves) for the entire second period.

"Josh was good and Brittain was outstanding," Owens said.

Colorado College's defense frustrated the Pioneers, holding the visitors without a shot on goal in the third period until 9:27 remained.

"Sam (Brittain) kept us in it early in the first,” DU coach Jim Montgomery said. “ I also think CC was the better team over the entire game and if it wasn’t for Sam we would have been behind earlier. It was a big weekend, we could have made some big strides in the NCHC, but it didn’t work out that way for us.”

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