St. Paul, MN — The conference tournaments are one of the most exciting times in college hockey. Entering Friday’s first semifinal game between Colorado College Tigers and the Saint Cloud State Huskies, we knew one thing. The Huskies were already in. They’re going to be a number one seed. They’re probably headed to the West Regional in Fargo, ND. If you read the USCHO Bracketology blog post.
On the other end of the ice, the Tigers need to win to advance to next weekend’s NCAA playoffs. Lose and there is no tomorrow. Their season will be over on Saturday night. The upstart Tigers were making their first trip to the Frozen Faceoff.
In the end, it wasn’t meant to be. The Huskies came at the Tigers in waves. After going down 1-0 in the first period, the Huskies scored two goals 24 seconds apart by Patrick Newell and Nolan Walker to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
At the 15:54 mark of the first period, the Tigers lost one of their top-six forwards. Tigers forward Trevor Gooch was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head. His victim, Jack Poehling. His night would be over. Moving forward, that kind of messed up the Tigers chemistry in the forward lines.
After the major penalty, It was all downhill from there. The Huskies would score again, this time it was Robby Jackson a 3-1.
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It didn’t get any better for the Tigers. At the 07:21 mark of the third period, Huskies defenseman Jack Ahcan would give the Huskies a 4-1 lead.
The Tigers would cut the lead to 4-2 with a power play goal by Bryan Yoon. That was all the closer the Tigers would get. The Huskies would break through again with a goal from Nick Poehling. Make it 5-2 Huskies.
During the first period, the Huskies lost junior forward Ryan Poehling. It didn’t look good, Poehling was skating in the Tigers end, caught a rut and launched head first into the boards. He didn’t return to the game. Poehling be evaluated tomorrow.
“Obviously, playoff battle in this league, in this tournament, I knew it was going to be tough,” Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. “I thought CC played really hard. You could tell they’ve been battle-tested and playing in really tough games fighting for their lives.”
“They’re a good hockey team,” Mike Haviland said. “They play the game the right way. This isn’t a mistake why this team is the number one team in the country for a majority of the year. I mean, they’re a very good, well-coached hockey team.”
With the win, the Huskies improve to 30-4-3 and remain the number one team in the Pairwise Rankings. They will again play in the Championship game. With the loss, the Tigers fall to 17-19-4. The Tigers will play tomorrow in the third-place game.