Series openers where goals fell like snowflakes were a thing of the past.
Colorado College threw 47 shots at Alabama-Huntsville goaltender Mark Sinclair but only beat him once in a 1-0 victory Friday night, a week after scoring 10 goals upon arrival in Alaska.
Alex Leclerc picked up his eighth career shutout in the Tigers’ home opener. He finished with 18 saves.
After nearly a period and a half, Christiano Versich finally scored on CC’s 26th shot of the game. He took a feed from Ben Israel and came up the middle. Grant Cruikshank picked up the secondary assist.
“I came in late. I was screaming at (Israel), ‘Izzy! Izzy! Izzy!’,” Versich said.
“I pulled it to my backhand because I wanted to go back door to Mason (Bergh), but that just wasn’t there, so I went to my forehand. That wasn’t really what I had in mind when I saw the play developing, but a goal’s a goal.”
There wasn’t a goal to be had for CC’s top line again. Bergh, Nick Halloran and Trey Bradley had 11 shots on goal between them, but weren’t flying the way they have.
“That top line for us, they had a ton of chances. Last year, some of them go in for them, and they’re not going in right now,” coach Mike Haviland said. “They have to dig down.”
The Chargers were swept the first weekend of the season against Miami, 5-1 and 4-0, but it was tough to see why Friday. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association team wasn’t about to roll over, and the Tigers weren’t able to do the rolling.
The Chargers did a good job of clearing Sinclair’s way and clearing rebounds out, and the sophomore goaltender slid over to take care of the few second chances the Tigers found early on.
Leclerc needed to be sharp in the second period, as the Chargers pressured on a power play and doubled their shot output from the first. He turned away a partial breakaway and absorbed a shot that almost dribbled out.
The shots were one-sided again in the third, as the Chargers only managed to put three on Leclerc, all in the last eight minutes of the game. Sinclair held his team in it until the bitter end.
“One goal is not too normal for a team like us,” Versich said. “I don’t know if we’ll be going against that good of a goalie every game. But hats to him, he played phenomenal.”