Colorado College has its work cut out if it plans on retaining the Gold Pan after eighth-ranked Denver defeated the Tigers, 3-1, Saturday night at the Broadmoor World Arena.
Paired with Friday night’s 3-0 win over CC, the Pioneers need just one point in the two games with the Tigers in March to win the Gold Pan. Fortunately for Colorado College, it has experience in needing to sweep Denver late in the season to win it, as they did in the final two regular-season games of the 2018-19 campaign.
CC had plenty of chances to get on the board early on Saturday, earning three power plays in the first 13 minutes of the game. Despite putting six shots on Denver goalie Magnus Chrona, the Tigers could not break through and the game was scoreless after 20 minutes.
Denver controlled the second period, outshooting the Tigers, 18-6, and the Pioneers put a couple of pucks past CC goalie Matt Vernon. Bobby Brink opened the scoring at the 10:07 mark of the middle frame after taking a pass from Hank Crone and flicking a backhander past Vernon.
Kyle Mayhew doubled the lead at the 16:23 mark when Emilio Pettersen found him all alone on the back side and he had an open net from the left side of the crease.
The Tigers cut the Pioneer lead in half and notched their only goal of the weekend when co-captain Alex Berardinelli put home a rebound from right in front of the net after Chrona saved a shot from the left boards by Zach Berzolla.
Following a tripping call to Grant Cruikshank just 61 seconds into the third period, Cole Guttman found the puck in a scrum in front of Vernon and pushed it over the goal line for a 3-1 advantage.
What Head Coach Mike Haviland Said
“I thought the first (period) was good, I really did. They were just better than us tonight, simple as that.”
“When you lose a big senior class, guys have to go to a new level, some guys have not gotten to that level yet, and we need to get them there. That’s our job and they have to figure that out too.”
“He’s [Matt Vernon] been great. He was great again. The kid’s been great and gives you a chance to win. We need to find a way to win those games.”
Three Stars of the Game
1. Magnus Chrona, Denver (20 saves)
2. Kyle Mayhew, Denver (1g, GWG)
3. Alex Berardinelli, Colorado College (1g)
Colorado College Notes
The Tigers fell to 6-7-1 overall and 2-5-1 in the NCHC
Alex Berardinelli tallied his second goal of the year
Troy Conzo notched the first point of the season on Berardinelli’s goal
Matt Vernon finished with 34 saves
Chris Wilkie led the Tigers with six shots
Denver outshot CC, 37-21
CC was 0-3 on the power play; Denver was 1-3
The Tigers are idle until participating in the Dartmouth Ledyard Classic in two weeks. The Tigers will play Dartmouth on Saturday, Dec. 28 and St. Lawrence on Sunday, Dec. 29.