Colorado College hammers U with big plays

Tim Nichols

After two lopsided games this weekend, the overall sentiment in both men’s hockey locker rooms didn’t seem to be disappointment, disgust or elation, but confusion.
How could one team look that good, and how could the other play that bad?
Toby Peterson, a Colorado College junior and Bloomington Jefferson product, notched a hat trick vs. the Gophers on Friday. But he couldn’t tell you why he or his team played so well.
“I have no idea,” Peterson said. “We got a few goals late in the first, then kept going. I can’t explain it.”
The Tigers scored not just a bunch of goals, but SportsCenter-quality goals. They featured great puck movement, slick passing and pin-point precision finishing.
In short, there wasn’t much for Colorado College coach Don Lucia to get upset about.
“We played really well (Saturday night),” Lucia said. “Our goalie was good, defense was good. We made some real nice plays. There were some highlight-reel goals out there.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Minnesota couldn’t explain the cause of their play.
The power play was nonexistent, the hitting was sporadic at best, and at times they looked completely outclassed.
“I don’t know,” junior winger Dave Spehar said. “I can’t tell you what happened from Friday to Saturday. They’re a good hockey team, easily top five in the country, but I don’t think that they’re six goals better than us.”
But Colorado College was not only six goals better, but 11. The Tigers outscored Minnesota 13-2 over the weekend and swept their third consecutive series from the Gophers.
“It’s one of those times when it’s hard to be a coach,” coach Doug Woog said. “Or a player.”
One player who wasn’t at all thrilled with their performance was winger Mike Anderson. The senior has struggled this year, scoring only one goal and four assists thus far.
But he was pretty disgusted about the team’s effort.
“What happened was that we weren’t prepared to play as a group of 20 guys,” Anderson said. “We have no one to blame but ourselves.”
Growing pains
One of the players who had it particularly rough was freshman defenseman Jordan Leopold.
The Robbinsdale, Minn., native leads the team with eight assists, but didn’t get much of a chance over the weekend to flex his offensive muscles.
“I felt like I had a couple of bad days,” Leopold said. “I just fell down in front of me. I don’t know how to describe it.”
Colorado College represented the first team the Gophers played all year that relied on speed and passing ability rather than strength and physical play.
The difference in the styles might have been a factor in the Gophers’ shortcomings — and for Leopold’s rough weekend.
“The difference between them is that they just move the puck around better,” Leopold said. “It’s the toughest to defend.
“It’s a definite learning experience,” Leopold said. “But it’s a hard way to learn.”
Colorado College notched its sixth straight win vs. Minnesota Saturday, extending the Tigers longest win streak against the Gophers ever.
Minnesota’s 7-1 loss to the Tigers on Friday, Nov. 6, should have come as no surprise to fans with way too much time on their hands. Minnesota has never won a game on Nov. 6 — The team is 0-6-1 all time.