Tuesday night will be an important test for Air Force and Colorado College hockey.
For the 1-6-1 Tigers, the 7 p.m. rivalry game after a bye week is an opportunity to build on some positives from the 2-1 loss at National Collegiate Hockey Conference leader Denver 11 days ago.
"We need to keep moving forward and plugging along," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "We need to improve on offense but we also need to maintain our level of play on the penalty kill and team defense."
It looms big for the Tigers' confidence as well. They feel the need to get something going after a seven-game winless streak and a tough road series looming at No. 2 St. Cloud State this weekend.
CC generated 40 shots and had 25-plus scoring chances but fell short against DU.
"It is a must win for us," Tigers senior Archie Skalbeck said. "We need to bear down and bury some goals. We need our older guys, including me, to start scoring."
The Tigers freshmen, led by Alex Roos' team-high three goals, have accounted for 11 of the team's 28 points.
For the 6-3 Falcons, the nonconference game is a chance to see if they can improve on an undisciplined 4-3 win over Robert Morris on Saturday.
"We have had a couple games this season where we have been sloppy," junior defenseman Mike McDonald said. "Fortunately, it's happened early in the season. We need to be better against a talented team like CC."
The contest is the second of a four-game stretch in eight days that includes a home-and-home series this weekend against Denver. The Falcons received more votes in both national polls than either CC or the Pioneers (6-5-1).
The Tigers are healthier after the bye week but freshmen Matt Hansen and Jaccob Slavin continue to heal while junior Jordan DiGiando is ill and unavailable.
For the first time, the teams will play for The Pikes Peak Trophy, which goes to annual winner of the game or annual series. In the event of a tie, the winner of the hardware, which is dedicated to former Tigers and Falcons coach John Matchefts, will be decided by a post-overtime shootout.
The late coach, who passed away a little more than a week ago, will be recognized before the game. Some members of his immediate family will be presented with a special CC jersey.
There were more than 1,000 seats available Monday night. Call 719-576-2626 or go to CCTigers.com or the World Arena box office for tickets.
Shoulder surgery ends freshman goalie's season
Colorado College freshman goalie Tyler Marble will miss the rest of the season after he underwent successful surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday.
The Detroit native, 21, played in both exhibition games before suffering the unspecified injury during the first period of the USA-U-18 national team contest Oct. 12. He returned to start the second period before giving way as planned to senior Josh Thorimbert.
Marble practiced once a couple of weeks ago and did not return. He is eligible for a medical redshirt year from the NCAA.
Tigers coach Scott Owens said the coaching staff is considering bringing in a midseason replacement after Christmas, depending on who may be available.
CC last brought in a midseason goalie replacement, Michael Shibrowski, in 2009 after then-freshman Hudson Stremmel left for the Western Hockey League without playing a regular-season game.
Shibrowski played in two games that season and went 1-0 for the Tigers before going back to the juniors. He is a senior backup at No. 1 Minnesota this season.
A more competitive series of late
Colorado College leads 59-8-2 all-time
Jan. 28, 2000 CC 10, Air Force 0
Dec. 1, 2000 CC 4, AFA 1
Jan. 25, 2002 CC 8, AFA 1
Nov. 29, 2002 CC 7, AFA 0
Nov. 28, 2003 CC 4, AFA 2
Oct. 22, 2004 CC 4, AFA 1
Oct. 22, 2005 CC 6, AFA 3
Oct. 6, 2006 CC 2, AFA 1
Jan. 19, 2008 CC 2, AFA 1
Nov. 28, 2009 AFA 4, CC 1
Feb. 5, 2010 CC 2, AFA 0
Nov. 12, 2010 CC 6, AFA 4
Dec. 30, 2011 AFA 2, CC 1
Oct. 19, 2012 CC 6, AFA 2