On Wednesday, Colorado College coach Mike Haviland talked about the “race to three” - how the first team to three goals usually wins the game.
Two days later, the Tigers put the emphasis on “usually."
A highlight-reel tally from CC’s Jack Gates wasn’t as important as one from Omaha’s Tyler Weiss with 47 seconds left in the game that broke a tie. The Mavericks added an empty netter and made off with a 6-4 victory Friday night at The Broadmoor World Arena.
Each team had at least one power-play goal and scored shorthanded. Bryan Yoon and Ben Copeland each had two assists.
With the seconds ticking down in the third period, CC turned in a mistake-filled shift. Weiss wrapped the puck around and scored five-hole on Matt Vernon (28 saves).
“You have your older guys on the ice,” Haviland said. “You’ve gotta figure out a way to get that to overtime.”
Colorado College jumped out 3-0 in the first 8:33 of the game. Josiah Slavin located a loose puck in the crease and his conversion survived a review. This happened soon after older brother and former Tiger Jaccob, a first-time NHL All-Star, won the shooting accuracy competition in St. Louis.
“We definitely got the start we wanted. Not the finish we wanted,” Josiah Slavin, who also added an assist, said.
“If we come out like we did in the first period the whole game, I think we’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of if we want to work or not.”
Freshman Chad Sasaki’s point shot buzzed through traffic to make it 2-0. It was the first of the defenseman’s career.
Gates’ second of the year will be seen again. The junior ducked a defender and went in alone. He was tripped from behind and put the puck underneath Isaiah Saville (5 saves) while falling to the ice.
Austin Roden (29 saves) took Saville’s place and saw the Mavericks turn the game around. His counterpart and fellow freshman, Vernon, had a shaky two minutes in which he went around the back of the cage and left Omaha’s Joey Abate with an empty net, and then went to poke the puck on a seemingly harmless shorthanded play and sent it under his own legs.
“The first two that go in are awful. It gives all the momentum back to them,” Haviland said. “That can’t happen.”
Midway through the second period, Dean Stewart erased the Tigers’ three-goal lead on the power play. CC’s (8-12-1, 3-9-1) penalty kill went 2-for-4.
Grant Cruikshank and Zach Jordan exchanged power-play goals for a 4-4 deadlock. Cruikshank’s blast from the point gave him his second in two games, and Jordan made the Tigers pay during a five-minute major to Zach Berzolla for interference. Berzolla laid out and spun Abate along the boards after Abate had passed along the puck.
Vernon settled down and made several tricky snags, but seemed surprised when Weiss came shooting out from behind the net.
Vernon could be sent out again Saturday to try and rebound. Perhaps complicating the decision, Ryan Ruck, who has appeared in eight games this season and would be the natural choice to take over, wasn’t on the bench Friday due to an injury. Jon Flakne, who has never started, backed up Vernon.
Haviland said senior defenseman Kristian Blumenschein was out for warmups but didn’t play due to injury, which also happened in an exhibition game against Trinity Western.