No need to wait for redemption. A weekend after surrendering two third-period leads to the No. 2 team in the country, the Colorado College Tigers get to try their hand at No. 1.
“I don’t know if many people have that in any sport in conference,” coach Mike Haviland said.
On tap for CC (4-3-1, 0-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) is a trip to No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, which has won six straight and swept No. 5 Notre Dame last weekend.
“They say if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” forward Troy Conzo said. “That’s the attitude we have to have right now.”
Last weekend served up a reminder that a momentary lapse in judgment can be the difference between a huge upset and an 0-2 conference record. All season they’ve seen that a lapse can be the difference between wearing a jersey or a suit.
Senior Cole McCaskill entered the lineup after being sidelined the first six games with an upper-body concern. The blue line held up without the assistant captain.
“Everyone’s chomping at the bit to get into the lineup,” McCaskill said. “It’s healthy for everybody. It’s competitive back there now.”
He’s seeking an improved showing as well, not pleased with his overall performance even though he scored the apparent game-winner Friday night before St. Cloud State came charging back.
“(They) maybe caught us a little bit by surprise,” he said. “I was probably caught off guard the most. I was a little bit slow. Those are some fast guys over there.”
After appearing in all but two games his freshman year, Conzo entered the lineup for the first time this season on Friday. His spot formerly belonged to redshirt junior transfer Chris Wilkie, who has been sporting a cast on his arm. Wilkie didn’t make the trip to Minnesota and will be evaluated next week.
“I’m hoping it’s short (term),” Haviland said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going that way. I’m hoping it’s not going to be as long as we think.
“That’s a big blow.”
But that creates opportunity for players like Conzo, though he knows there are even more behind him waiting for the call.
“Definitely can’t take a shift off,” Conzo said. “Keep our heads down, keep working.”