The blueprint for Colorado College's success this weekend was evident in last week's shootout win at No. 2 St. Cloud State.
The Tigers (1-8-2) battled the talented Huskies and managed to pull out a tie with a third-period rally. It contrasts with Saturday's 6-2 loss when the hosts took it to CC from the opening faceoff and the team defense faltered.
"When we stay focused on our game plan and play good team defense and work to be opportunistic on offense we have a chance against anyone," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "We need to keep improving on what has been working - team defense, goaltending and the penalty kill - and hope the offense starts to click. The freshmen and sophomores need to continue gaining experience and hopefully the juniors and seniors can get going."
Maintaining a good team defense will be critical against No.?20 New Hampshire (7-7-1, 5-3 Hockey East), which features Division I's 16th-ranked offense (3.2 goals) and has a strong defense that is tied for ninth with Cornell (2.4 goals).
The Wildcats offense is led by the upperclassmen, including a strong defensive corps.
Senior defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (12 assists) is tied with senior forward Kevin Goumas (10 assists) at 15 points each. Junior Grayson Downing and senior Nick Sorkin, both forwards, each have a team-high eight goals.
Beyond this weekend, Tigers will look to improve over the final four games before the holiday break.
"We set out to improve on defense and the penalty kill this offseason and we have made strides in those areas," Owens said. "It's just been overshadowed by the lack of offensive production."
It is those team strengths that give the Tigers hope they can snap their 10-game winless streak (0-8-2, a shootout is considered a tie outside the conference) this weekend.
"It's a little tough when you don't win for a long time but guys are staying positive," junior wing Scott Wamsganz said. "We do not think of ourselves as a 1-8 team. We're the Tigers."
That means playing grittier hockey in the opposing zone.
"We need to get a little greedy in front of the net," freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson said. "There definitely has been improvement. We showed this (past) weekend that we can play with anybody."