Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Tigers focusing on progress, playoff positioning

By Joe Paisley Updated: February 14, 2014 at 7:05 am

Two teams battling for playoff position meet up when Western Michigan visits Colorado College this weekend.

CC hopes to move into sole possession of seventh place ahead of Miami (14 points) and generate momentum headed into the playoffs.

The fifth-place Broncos (14-10-4, 8-7-1-1, 26 points) are battling for the regular-season championship with only four points separating first place St. Cloud State (30 points) and sixth-place Denver (26) in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings.

"You're just focusing on the team you're going to play on the weekend," WMU coach Andy Murray said. "This week it happens to be Colorado College, who had a great weekend in terms of play up at Minnesota-Duluth."

CC picked a league point to tie Miami thanks to good performances from senior wing Archie Skalbeck, junior defenseman Peter Stoykewych and senior goalie Josh Thorimbert, who made 74 saves, including a career-high 50 on Friday, and recorded a .949 saves percentage against Duluth.

The Tigers continue to focus on their slow progress.

"The guys are on board," senior center Jeff Collett said. "No one is happy with getting a tie. We all see the progress we made last weekend on the little things."

The Tigers take on a hot team for the second weekend in a row. The Broncos are 8-3-1 of late, including the Great Lakes Invitational title.

"They are trending pretty well since the GLI and they have played well in the last 12 games except for a home series against Duluth," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "They have six or seven forwards who can score. They have a guy in the D corps with an absolute missile, (sophomore Kenney) Morrison, of a shot. They have two goalies ... if one struggles, the other steps in and performs well."

The Broncos have a potent top line in senior right wing Shane Berschbach (28 points, 12 goals), junior Justin Kovacs (27, 11 goals) and senior center Chase Balisy (23, 17 assists).

The second line features sophomores Josh Pitt, Nolan LaPorte, and Colton Hargrove, all with 17 points each. Three defensemen have 10 or more points, led by Morrison (15, 12 assists). Sophomore Lukas Hafner (6-3-1, 2.01 goals against, .924 saves) and junior Frank Slubowski (8-7-3, 2.54 goals, .915 saves) split the goaltending duties.

CC is led by senior Alexander Krushelnyski (20, nine goals) and freshmen Jaccob Slavin (14, 10 assists) and Alex Roos (six goals) and Sam Rothstein (eight assists) with 12 points apiece.

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