Air Force has no margin for error. Colorado College wants to defend and build. Neither has been winning much. There’s a sheet of ice on a football field waiting for them and a trophy to be won.
All of this should add up to a wild weekend in Colorado Springs college hockey.
The Falcons and Tigers will meet again in a two-game series starting Friday at The Broadmoor World Arena with the Pikes Peak Trophy on the line.
Air Force won the trophy each of the first five seasons it was awarded. The only previous two-game series split in that span went in its favor in 2015.
The Tigers took hold of it with a 6-1 victory at The Broadmoor World Arena last season. Once again, a split isn’t going to cut it for the trophy to change hands. The Falcons need, at minimum, a win and a tie.
CC doesn’t want it to come down to the Faceoff at Falcon Stadium.
“We want to secure it on Friday,” Tigers freshman Josiah Slavin said. “We don’t want to take any time off this weekend at all.”
After a promising start, Colorado College (8-16-2) got inside its own head and dropped eight of its first nine games to start 2020.
Meanwhile Air Force (8-15-5) started poorly and was hit by a midseason injury bug. Then to make matters worse, three players who had been roster regulars — including its third-leading scorer — were removed or suspended from the team in late January.
The crosstown rivals had the same result last weekend. Each dropped a game and won a shootout against a conference opponent. Both shootout games ended losing streaks, and both teams are looking to build off it — at each other’s expense.
“We can’t win at home. We can’t win on the road. We’d better be able to win at the neutral site, Falcon Stadium, because I’m flat out running out of places to play,” Serratore joked, adding that even though his players weren’t winning, they were “giving it everything they’ve got.”
The hardware comes with regional bragging rights, memorable photos and a nice locker room decoration. But Colorado College co-captain Alex Berardinelli believes there was a more important side effect last season to winning the Pikes Peak Trophy.
“It gave us some confidence last year, I think, going forward,” the senior said. “It helped us going into Denver knowing we had already won a rivalry trophy and we had what it took to get the job done.”
Between the personnel hardships Air Force has fought through, the soul-searching Colorado College has embarked on, the Pikes Peak Trophy on the line and an outdoor game to take in, this entry in the teams’ history has several twisting plot lines.
“The emotions of the game will probably be at an all-time high,” Air Force captain Matt Pulver said.