An upset was averted. The natural, national order of things was restored, but not without a real scare.
Colorado College kept No. 1 St. Cloud State in its sights the first half of Friday’s game and took over the second half, but fell in overtime, 3-2 at Ed Robson Arena.
“We kind of got to our game once we got hit a little bit,” CC coach Kris Mayotte told KRDO. “It's encouraging to see.”
Freshman Brett Chorske tracked the puck and batted it out of midair on the power play to give CC a 2-1 lead 6:57 into the third period. Chorske appeared in his second career game and has scored a goal in each one.
The Tigers directed play throughout the third period until a late Huskies power play. St. Cloud State’s Jami Krannila scored with 4:25 left to force overtime.
“You can’t give a team like that free chances. We took a bad penalty at an awful time,” Mayotte said. “If you want to be a winning hockey team, those are the differences between winning and losing.”
In 3-on-3 overtime, CC had a breakaway snuffed out by a quick whistle. Soon afterward Krannila scooped up the rebound of his shot that bounced off the glove of Dominic Basse (26 saves) and put it into the net.
Jordan Biro scored on a strong individual effort to tie the game at 1. Biro relieved the Huskies of the puck behind the net, centered and flipped a quick shot on David Hrenak that went off the goaltender and in.
Biro took sole possession of the team goal-scoring lead with four. He also assisted on Chorske’s goal.
“He’s learning how to win pucks. He's learning how to stay on pucks. He's learning how to win those battles,” Mayotte said of Biro.
“His confidence just continues to grow because he’s learning how to do all those little things and it’s translating to that success, which is what you want.
The Huskies (7-2) scored at nearly the same point in the first period. St. Cloud State had the Tigers chasing their tails, swirling like a power play where none existed. Micah Miller darted around Nicklas Andrews and Nate Schweitzer and beat Basse stick side.
“I thought they put us on our heels a little bit,” Mayotte said.
“They scored first. But then I thought we regrouped. After their goal, I thought we responded really well.”
CC (2-5-2) had two good chances on odd-man rushes. Hunter McKown had his shot on a 2-on-1 absorbed by Hrenak (32 saves) and Connor Mayer’s bid on a 3-on-1 stayed out.
Forward Logan Will, tied for the team scoring lead going into the game, did not suit up for CC’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference opener. The teams meet again Saturday.
"The message (after the game) was that don't let anybody tell you, 'Oh you hung with the best team in the country.' You know, we were better than them for big stretches of that," Mayotte said. "That's the standard and that's the expectation.
"The growth is that you have to learn how to win those, and we just didn't tonight."