Colorado College coach Kristofer Mayotte is one who likes to avoid coachspeak as much as he can.

A common cliché in every sport is that a “new season” begins when the postseason arrives. The logic is that the regular-season games hold no weight in whichever postseason event a team competes in.

Mayotte didn’t use those words. But he does agree with its overall sentiment: The Tigers’ previous results — both wins and losses — have no impact as they battle No. 7 Western Michigan in the NCHC Quarterfinals.

“All of the sudden, everybody is three wins away from playing for a championship,” Mayotte said. “It all starts with our start on Friday.”

Broncos surging

CC has had arguably more trouble with WMU than anyone else this year.

The Broncos swept the regular-season series, winning four games by a combined 10 goals. WMU has proven its ability to score on very few chances, shown by the Broncos’ 4-1 win over CC on Feb. 17, when they recorded just 21 shots.

Western Michigan hasn’t just given fits to the Tigers, though.

The Broncos have steadily crept up the national rankings, entering the conference tournament No. 7 in the USCHO poll. WMU finished second in the NCHC standings, posting 44 points and a 15-8-1 conference record.

Offense is where the Broncos really stand out.

WMU sits atop the NCHC in goals scored, averaging 4 per contest. Jason Polin leads the NCAA with 29 goals, while Ryan McAlister leads the nation with 34 assists.

Building on improvement

Though the results were ultimately the same, Mayotte saw progress in CC’s second series against WMU.

The Tigers held early leads in both games but were unable to hold them. In the first series, CC scored the first goal in game two, but the Tigers’ play seemed far less competitive overall.

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Mayotte said his team played a good 40 minutes in both games of the second series. He feels similarly about losses to No. 3 Denver, North Dakota and others.

But that’s not good enough.

The coach knows his team must play well for all three periods to earn wins against a high-caliber team like WMU.

“In this league, the opponents are too good: You have to play 60,” Mayotte said. “I think a little bit of it has been we’re trying to hang on to a lead rather than continuing to play the way that got us the lead. Hopefully we’ll grow in that area.”

Hostile atmosphere

The Tigers understand Lawson Ice Arena, WMU’s home rink, isn’t an easy place to play.

Lawson Ice Arena averages 3,593 spectators per game, 98% of its capacity. Because hockey is Western Michigan’s most consistently successful sport, WMU students pack the arena for almost every game.

This doesn’t bother Mayotte, though. The coach noted strong play from his team in raucous venues, such as Denver’s Magness Arena, Omaha’s Baxter Arena and others.

“The environment hasn’t been too big for us in that way,” Mayotte said. “We’re looking forward to it; we like it.”

Mayotte doesn’t know what kind of atmosphere to expect in this series. Western Michigan’s spring break is this week, and students may not have returned to campus.

But he doesn’t want a quiet barn. For many reasons, Mayotte wants Lawson Ice Arena to be as loud as possible.

“I want to play in front of that — that’s why you play in this league,” Mayotte said. “It’s no fun to bring your own energy. It’s more fun when the energy and noise is provided.

“As the road team, you take a lot of pride in making it quiet. I don’t know exactly what atmosphere we’ll get there, but we’ve quite honestly been better in the big atmosphere.”

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