How does one celebrate a four-goal night, the first by a Colorado College freshman since 1992?
Ben Copeland dove straight into bed.
The Tigers forward had the flu, and spiked a 100-degree fever before Saturday’s game against No. 9 Western Michigan. He said it was “50-50” whether he’d play at all.
It was impossible to tell. He scored on rebounds, off a steal, snapped it through traffic. He scored on four of his five shots, and in the second half of the game, it seemed if the puck was on his stick, it was soon in the back of the net.
“I don’t know, maybe I should get sick more often,” he said.
This drew comparisons to Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game, in which the dehydrated Chicago Bulls star contributed 38 points and helped mount a late rally in a pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals, during which he could barely stand at times.
Copeland, who was born two years after that 1997 game against the Utah Jazz, hadn’t heard of it.
“I had to look that up,” he said. “I’m too young for that.”
While the eventual NCHC offensive player of the week’s exploits made the social media rounds Sunday — something Jordan never enjoyed — Copeland used the day off for some well-earned rest.
“Didn’t really move from my bed, just trying to rest and get ready for Denver,” he said.
The Tigers (12-15-4, 6-10-3 NCHC) will host Denver (17-8-4, 9-8-2-2) on a rare Tuesday night, rescheduled after the Pioneers’ bus didn’t make it to Colorado Springs on a snowy January night.
Copeland said he was texting his DU friends, asking about their progress, which was halted in Monument.
“That was kind of a bummer last time, getting ready for the game,” he said. “Weird night for sure.”
CC coach Mike Haviland worked with Denver coach David Carle and the league and settled on a midweek rematch, because the teams didn’t share a bye week. They also tried to avoid playing each other three times in the final week of the regular season, lest they meet again in the first round of the NCHC playoffs a week later.
“It is what it is,” Haviland said “I don’t mind this.”
The Tigers are in a better spot for the delayed game, having lost only twice in regulation in 2019. Overtime hasn’t provided much respite — the team is winless, with a shootout loss in Denver producing one of just three conference points from those nine games — but Haviland sees a steady upward trajectory, and Saturday’s game has spirits high.
Its star is feeling better, too.
“They were some nice goals (Copeland) scored,” Haviland said Monday. “Hopefully he can continue that as we move here tomorrow and into next weekend.”