Sunday, November 4, 2007

Game day: CC 4, North Dakota 1 (final)


5. Colorado College 4, North Dakota 1: Bill Sweatt (Jake Gannon), 19:49, en.
After CC killed a 6-on-4 advantage by the Sioux, defenseman Jake Gannon created a neutral-zone turnover and found Bill Sweatt for the breakout. Sweatt slung a wrist shot from the blue line to help the Tigers hit for the cycle (Can that term be applied here? Goals on power play, even strength, short-handed and empty net? It works for me).

Looking at the three (and one late add) keys:

1. Limit North Dakota to two goals or less. PASS.
In the Tigers' three wins, they have held their opponent to a goal.
2. Score two even-strength goals. One short.
It's hard to knock CC on this one since Scott Thauwald turned in the short-handed score. But even-strength offense has to continue to improve: 22 shots (only 17 from five-on-five) is simply not enough. The Tigers averaged 23.5 shots in the series and have managed 25 shots or fewer in three of the past four games.
3. Score first. PASS.
Thauwald's goal was a straight hustle play, generated from CC's aggression on the penalty kill. Thauwald got his first goal of the season while fighting the flu.
4. Score first in the third period/no third-period letdown. PASS.
Well, an empty-net goal wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but CC played an even third period with North Dakota and was outshot 9-8.

Quick quips:

Scott Thauwald on playing hard versus playing smart:
Whether it was getting the puck in, dumping it in, making a safe play, no turnovers on the blue line, we played a lot smarter tonight. I think we played harder tonight than last night. Last night we did play hard but tonight we finished our checks and we battled hard. Wall play was better tonight. That combined, we do that every night, we can be a scary team.

Scott Thauwald on Richard Bachman's performance, especially in the first period:
It was unreal knowing that if we did make a mistake he had our backs. That’s not the typical first period. We don’t want to give up 18 shots with us having four. But that was huge. He’s been playing great.

Richard Bachman on added pressure Saturday:
I’d say there was a little bit. Just going on a three-game skid there and you want to stop that. Then, you’re away at a full-house in a big place. It’s a little bit of pressure, but I just tried to tune it all out again. It was definitely on the back of my mind a little bit.

Richard Bachman on what he learned from watching Friday's game from the bench:
They pass a lot and they’re more patient when they have a shot. They also have that guy driving backdoor every time. Those little things and the things we covered on video helped me prepare, watching two games on video and stuff. That definitely helped....I wouldn’t be quite as aggressive, knowing there could be a guy backdoor. I tried to watch out for that, I knew they had some quick guys going right to that far post.

Richard Bachman on seeing the puck with North Dakota forwards like Chris VandeVelde parked in the crease:
Most of the time I could see it, I was just trying to look around him and stuff. A couple of them, I was just like, ‘Hit me, please.’ I just tried to stay big out there.

Jack Hillen on how the Tigers regained their focus after Friday's shellacking:We dissected last night’s game, we watched some film. Some guys, especially the seniors and myself, we got talked to a little bit and got challenged to play better because we needed to be a little bit grittier, win some more puck battles, move our feet a little bit more. It wasn’t really the X’s and O’s that killed us last game. It was not winning the little battles and not being tough enough and gritty enough.

Saturday by the numbers:

4 -- North Dakota and CC have split the last four series. The last sweep for either team occurred Jan. 14-15, 2005, when the Tigers swept UND at World Arena.

38-21--The Fighting Sioux's faceoff advantage.

3-3--CC's record after facing then-No. 3 Minnesota, then-No. 6 New Hampshire and No. 3 North Dakota.

37--Percent of shots that came from the Scott McCulloch--Tyler Johnson--Eric Walsky line.

1-3--Record against Minnesota and North Dakota the last time CC played only one regular-series against each team and faced the Gophers at home and the Fighting Sioux on the road (2003-04).

21--Number of saves Richard Bachman made before giving up a goal.

0--The amount of power-play goals North Dakota scored. The Fighting Sioux have been held scoreless on the power play in each of their losses and in the tie to Boston College.

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