Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Tigers hope to start, finish second half strong

By Joe Paisley Updated: January 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Colorado College hopes Saturday is the start of a sustained upward trend that will lead to a strong finish to the season.

CC hosts ECAC member Brown (5-6-1) is what promises to be a good opening hockey game to see what direction the Tigers may head during the second half.

"We definitely have to learn from the first half and look for a fresh start in the second half," senior captain Eamonn McDermott said. "We all need to get after it."

"There's no other option," senior Alexander Krushelnyski said. "We all need to work hard every day to keep getting better. It's all about hard work."

The game is the start of a challenging month with the Tigers (2-12-3, 2-5-3-1 league) returning to National Collegiate Hockey Conference play at North Dakota next weekend followed by home games against No. 4 Providence of Hockey East and NCHC preseason favorite No. 12 Miami. CC has its final bye week the last few days of January.

The challenging schedule will only add to the intensity the Tigers must play with to turn this season around.

"Our backs are up against the wall," McDermott said.

The first game of the second half shouldn't disappoint. The Bears are 5-1 against fellow Ivy League programs, which make up six of the ECAC's 12 teams, and hope to extend a two-game win streak when they take on No. 16 Denver on Friday at Magness Arena.

"Brown is a good team that plays pretty well with a solid, good defensive corps and the goaltending has been strong whoever is in net," Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

Senior Marco DeFilippo is only 1-5 but has a .925 saves percentage and a 2.72 goals-against average. Freshman Tyler Steel is 4-1-1 with .901 saves and 2.62 goals against.

Maple Leafs draft pick and senior defenseman Dennis Robertson chips in offensively with eight points (team-high two power-play goals). The top two lines centered by leading scorers Matt Lorito and Mark Naclerio, both with 14 points, give the visitors enough offensive punch (2.67 goals) to challenge a good CC defense led by senior goalie Josh Thorimbert.

The defensive corps depth will be tested with freshman Gustav Olofsson (Sweden) playing for the world junior championships gold medal Sunday morning. Sophomores Russell Finch and Michael King, who played well in the last Wisconsin game, will be called on to fill in.

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