Scott Owens is better than this. Colorado College fans deserve better than this.

The Tigers are one of Colorado's worst college hockey teams of the 21st century. They are one of the worst Colorado college teams, period. They have stumbled to six wins in 34 games.

The bad times continued Saturday night at largely vacant, depressingly silent World Arena. The Tigers followed their script for the season, losing 4-1 to St. Cloud in a performance that resembled a mass surrender.

CC has shown consistency this season. This is a team you can count on. They have lost 14 times by two or more goals, including seven losses by four or more goals.

Owens has two years remaining on his contract, and I'd be shocked if he's not back on the edge of the ice next season. He needs to examine his hockey program, which is in ruins, and find an escape route from this abyss.

CC athletic director Ken Ralph can see the obvious.

"It's been a difficult season," he said. "There's no other way to put it. It's not the season any one of us imagined. I don't think there is anybody in the program - players, coaches, fans - who would say this is a satisfactory performance."

Ralph declined to directly criticize Owens.

"It isn't just one person," Ralph said. "You just can't lay the blame at the feet of one person."

Well, actually you can. I hear several times a week from disgruntled CC fans who place the blame at Owens' feet.

Our region is filled with Owens critics.

Even in the good times, and there were plenty of good times, I heard from hockey fans irritated by Owens steady, no-shout approach to the game.

But here's the truth about Owens: He can coach. He can recruit. And he can win. From 2000 to 2008, Owens averaged 25.6 wins per season while managing the skills of Marty Sertich, Brett Sterling, Peter Sejna and Mark Stuart.

Just three years ago, Owens and the Tigers rolled to an upset in the NCAA Tournament over mighty Boston College.

The good times came crashing to a halt this season, and there's no way Owens can escape blame.

My take on this current CC team is that it's severely lacking in talent. This edition of the Tigers did not underachieve. This edition of the Tigers lacked genuine Division I hockey talent. These Tigers lost because they didn't have the firepower to win.

And this lack of talent is largely Owens fault. He's paid to roam the country finding players who can win games at World Arena.

He's done some superb roaming in the past. He must recapture his recruiting magic.

World Arena has often been a happy, rowdy destination during Owens' 15 seasons as head coach.

He constructed one of the most entertaining programs in the country. In many of his seasons, CC fans had legit reason to dream of a national title.

That seemed a long time ago on another silent night Saturday at World Arena. There were hundreds and hundreds of empty seats, and the stubbornly loyal fans who came to watch the Tigers endured yet another hockey horror show.

Owens can do better than this. CC fans should demand better than this.


Twitter: @davidlukeramsey