Important road points on the line in Anchorage this weekend

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To get a hint of the importance of this weekend’s road series for Colorado College hockey, you need only look at this season’s schedule.

With its top-ranked opponents coming to World Arena during the second half of this season, the Tigers (12-9-1, 8-6 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) need to pick up valuable points on the road over the next two months, starting with this weekend’s series at Alaska-Anchorage.

The payoff will be in early March when the regular season concludes and the playoff seeding, including the all-important home ice with a top-six finish, is determined.

“It’s so close every year,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “The teams are always packed so closely. It always comes down to one point or a tiebreaker and that is often decided by which team can manufacture points. That usually means getting those on the road.”

Senior captain Ryan Lowery echoed those sentiments.

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“For the older guys on the team, they have seen it every year,” he said. “On the road they’re very valuable. A point on the road is almost worth one-and-a half because they are so difficult to come by.”

Alaska-Anchorage (5-10-3, 4-8-2 WCHA) probably felt that way when it managed a road split at World Arena over Thanksgiving weekend.

“At the end of the season you look back and see where you gave up some points, like we did Friday night against Anchorage (a 4-3 overtime loss),” Lowery said. A home sweep at the hands of Minnesota may also loom large by season’s end.

The road points are even more critical when the home dates look tough. CC hosts No. 2 North Dakota twice, No. 6 Denver once, a surging Minnesota-Mankato squad and No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth for two games before closing out the regular season at No. 13 Wisconsin in early March. By then, the Tigers will know how close they are to starting the postseason on the road or at World Arena. And they will certainly know if they got enough points on the road at Anchorage or Bemidji State in February.

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