Colorado College ruled the first period, survived the second and fell apart late in the third Friday night at The Broadmoor World Arena.
It will take more than one good period to beat No. 2 St. Cloud State in the rematch.
Thirty-two seconds after the Huskies, who had been pressing down hard for a period and a half, finally tied the game on the power play, defenseman Cole McCaskill threw one on net. It appeared to deflect once or twice and go in off goaltender David Hrenak’s elbow.
Relief set in, but it was short-lived. St. Cloud State struck on the power play for the second time in the period to knot the game at 3.
Patrick Newell’s second of the game followed, and an empty-netter sealed the collapse for the Tigers in a 5-3 loss.
“There’s games where you’re not going to be at your best, but you have a chance to win — you’ve gotta figure out how to win them,” CC coach Mike Haviland said.
“That may have been one of those games tonight. It would have been nice.”
Colorado College got a first period anyone would appreciate against one of the best teams in the country, taking a 2-0 lead into the break. Tanner Ockey scored his first of the season seven seconds after a power play expired, then on a late man advantage, Nick Halloran was open and ready when a rebound bounced to him below the circles. He buried it stick side.
“We exhaled after the first and they got mad,” Haviland said. “You can’t do that in the NCHC, simple as that.”
The Huskies reset during the break and threw the Tigers back on their heels, trapping them in their own zone and peppering goaltender Alex Leclerc. St. Cloud State outshot the Tigers 18-1 and Newell beat Leclerc on a point-blank chance, but while pushing for the tying goal, shot themselves in the foot with a second too-many-men penalty.
As St. Cloud State (6-1, 1-0 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) ramped it up, the Tigers appeared tentative, playing not to lose.
“Even on our easiest breakout passes, throwing them in feet. I think we started to maybe smack the puck a little bit instead of playing with confidence,” Haviland said.
“Momentum’s a funny thing.”
CC (4-2-1, 0-1 NCHC) carried a 2-1 lead into the third, where St. Cloud State’s Newell, who was visibly upset after being denied by Leclerc earlier, got a look at an open net on the power play.
McCaskill scored in his first game of the season after being sidelined with an injury, but the Huskies pulled even and ahead. Leclerc finished with 36 saves.
The Huskies will go for the sweep Saturday night in a building they haven’t lost in since Feb. 22, 2013.