OMAHA, NEB. Colorado College rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead midway through the third period, but Omaha scored late in regulation to force a 3-3 tie with the Tigers Friday night at Baxter Arena.
After two scoreless overtime periods, Mason Morelli scored in the shootout, while Evan Weninger saved Christiano Versich’s attempt to give Omaha the extra point in the NCHC standings.
“We played well enough to win tonight,” CC head coach Mike Haviland said. “We controlled the game in the second and third periods and had chances throughout the game.”
The Tigers (5-6-2, 1-5-1-0 NCHC) outshot Omaha, 37-28, including a 28-12 advantage after the first period, as CC roared back from a 2-0 disadvantage and went to overtime for the second consecutive game.
Riley Alferd opened the scoring for Omaha at the 5:41 mark of the first period. Taylor Ward sent a pass from the corner to Alferd, who buried a wrister from the left circle past Tiger goalie Alex Leclerc.
The Mavericks (4-7-2, 2-2-1-1 NCHC) took a 2-0 lead at the 9:51 mark when Morelli scored just seven seconds into Omaha’s first power play of the night. Morelli, who had seven points last weekend against Arizona State, took a pass from Ward and was wide open on the back side.
Mason Bergh cut the Omaha lead in half with a power-play goal with 1:54 remaining in the first period. Nick Halloran found Alex Berardinelli in front the net and Berardinelli feathered a pass to Bergh on the right side. Bergh sent the shot off Weninger’s pad as he was sprawled out in the crease for his fourth goal in the last three games and snapped a streak of 20 consecutive penalty kills for the Mavericks.
Despite outshooting the Mavericks, 15-3, in the second period, CC could not find the net in the middle frame. The Tigers controlled play throughout the period and one of Leclerc’s three stops was a spectacular pad save against Steven Spinner with 6:30 remaining in the period to keep it a one-goal game.
The Tigers kept up the momentum in the third period and Erik Middendorf evened the score just 2:57 into the frame. After Troy Conzo was chased from the dot, Westin Michaud won the faceoff back to Middendorf, who roofed a shot just under the crossbar past Weninger from the top of the right circle.
Conzo then gave CC a 3-2 lead at the 11:46 mark of the third with his first goal of the season. After Teemu Puilkinnen was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct, Conzo found the loose puck in the slot after Kristian Bluenschein’s shot was blocked and fired it into the top right corner.
Fredrik Olofsson made it 3-3 with 2:20 remaining in regulation when he poked the puck past Leclerc during a scrum in front of the net.
The Tigers had to fight off an Omaha power play in the 3x3 overtime, and Leclerc again stopped Spinner on a breakaway during the PK to send the game to the shootout.
Weninger finished the game with 34 saves, while Leclerc had 25. CC was 2-for-7 on the power play and scored multiple power-play goals for the first time since Oct. 19 vs. New Hampshire. Omaha was 1-for-3 with a man advantage.
The two teams battle again Saturday night, beginning at 6:07 p.m. (MT).