A Season, and Game, of Resiliency
by Justin Magill/CHN Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. From the start, it was not looking good for Colorado College.
But the Tigers, playing before what turned into essentially a home game for North Dakota in front of a raucous partisan crowd, hung in there throughout. And should be able to take that with them into the NCAAs.
The Sioux used the electricity in the building and got an early goal from Danny Kristo, his first game back after recovering from frostbite on his toes. CC was having problems just getting out of its own zone, let alone garnering any sort of scoring chances.
“We expected them to come out hard like that,” CC's Ryan Lowery said. “We knew it was going to be physical. Historically they are a physical team. We had to weather that storm and that crowd.”
“They were anxious to play somebody different than Michigan Tech,” CC coach Scott Owens said, referring to North Dakota's opponent in the last four games. “To have a chance to play in the title game, it would have been very disappointing if they had to turn around and bus back home with all their fan base and we wanted to make it as miserable as we could for them.”
And CC did that. Stephen Schultz had a power-play goal that made it 1-1 after one period, and the Tigers felt good.
“That goal settled things down and made the world right,” Owens said. “It felt that way in the locker room, we talked about it and we played pretty well.”
CC even took the lead, when Rylan Schwartz scored his first goal in 13 games. Meanwhile, Joe Howe was making many of his 34 saves. The Tigers weren't going away, even when North Dakota tied it back up.
“That’s all we wanted to do,” Owens said. “Be in a position in the third period to win the game and it was 2-2.”
A potentially deflating moment came when Brad Malone scored shorthanded to make it 3-2 Sioux. But again, CC wasn't going away — Schwartz re-tied it.
“I knew I had to get one back for us,” he said. “I made a bad pass in their end, took a penalty in ours and they scored off of it. I did whatever I could to get one back for our team.”
Unfortunately, that's when Hobey finalists and WCHA Player of the Year Matt Frattin took things into his hands. It seemed like only a matter of time — and that time came in the third period, when he deposited his 34th goal of the season.
In the end, it was a loss, but the Tigers sit 12th in the and hung with the No. 1 team in the nation after it gave them a shot in the mouth at the opening bell.
“To give our team credit, we answered and from then on I thought we played well,” Lower said. “Settled in and gave ourselves a chance to win. That game could have gone either way.”
Still, it's another year without a Broadmoor Trophy for CC, even though the award bears the name of its former arena.
For now, CC will have to wait and see how the rest of the conference tournaments play out. It looks good for the NCAAs, but some slim scenarios could bounce it out. If it does make it, CC will be flying somewhere.
“Probably not Green Bay,” he said. “We are a team that gets flown around, because we don’t have a huge fan base, so they’ll put us anywhere.”