Top Canadian team to play CC in hockey exhibitions

By Joe Paisley Updated: October 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm • Published: October 4, 2013 | 9:35 pm 0

No one can accuse Colorado College of taking on a weakling for its first exhibition.

The Tigers will play the top Canadian university team of the past decade.

Air Force was scheduled to play the Reds but that contest, along with all Falcon events with the exception the Navy football road game, was postponed indefinitely due to the partial federal government shutdown, the academy announced.

Of course, that may change before 6:05 p.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, CC prepares for a challenging opponent. Defending national champion New Brunswick has won four Canadian Interuniversity Sport titles and placed second twice in the past 10 years.

"They will be a good test," said Tigers senior Jeff Collett of Calgary. "The freshmen will better understand what it takes to be successful."

Colorado College will use the exhibition games over the next two weekends to rotate players and judge line combinations. All three goalies will play Saturday at World Arena.

"There will be a lot of line mixing and a veteran or two may sit out so we can get a look at the freshmen," Tigers coach Scott Owens said of the exhibition opener. "We can use the USA U-18 game (next Saturday) to get them some time and reward people who have worked hard."

The Reds are 4-1 in exhibition play after beating four Canadian schools and losing to the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the American Hockey League, which is one step below the NHL.

New Brunswick players to watch include second-year forward Tyler Carroll, the 2013 national tournament MVP, and all-tourney honorees Nick MacNeil, a third-year forward, and Marc-Antoine Desnoyers, a second-year defenseman. Regular-season points leader Chris Culligan (31 points, 26 games) returns for his fourth season.

Charlie Lavigne and Joel Vienneau are possible starting goalies judging from past boxscores. They play at Denver Sunday and could take on Air Force on Monday if the shutdown is lifted.

Getting in two exhibition games should help the eight healthy Tigers freshmen be ready for the opener Oct. 18 against Minnesota-Duluth.

"The whole team is feeling anxious about playing," junior Jordan DiGiando said. "It's going to be exciting to see what the freshmen can do."

Regardless of the result, CC and its two exhibition foes will hold shootouts to help the team, officials and fans get used to the rule installed by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

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