COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Sometimes, you play really well and don't get any points.
Other nights, you don't put your best effort in for a stretch of the game, but still get the win.
They'll balance out in the end, but UMD got one on the right side of the ledger Friday night.
From my perch high atop the World Arena, it sure seemed like the Bulldogs were running the risk of getting blown out after a good start. UMD led 2-0 late in the first, but Colorado College got life with a late goal in that period, and then two goals 19 seconds apart in the second gave them a 3-2 lead.
The Tigers had a few chances early in the third, but UMD started to chip away at their momentum. After what seemed like a long stretch without any real good offensive chances for the Bulldogs, they started to string together quality shifts. Eventually, defenseman Mike Montgomery picked up a rebound from his own shot and fed a cross-crease pass to Travis Oleksuk, who made no mistake and tied the game.
From there until the final 2:24, UMD had more control of the game than they had since the first 17 minutes. Kyle Schmidt scored a beautiful goal, banging home a pass from Rob Bordson on a delayed penalty. That gave UMD the lead. Then the parade to the penalty box happened.
Scott Kishel and Jordan Fulton were called for penalties 59 seconds apart, giving CC a long five-on-three. They quickly turned that into a six-on-three by pulling freshman goalie Joe Howe. UMD stood their ground, as Mike Connolly, Cody Danberg, and Mike Montgomery protected goalie Kenny Reiter. CC hit a couple of posts in the last-minute flurry, and Chad Huttel stole the final centering pass and cleared it out of the zone to secure the victory.
It was an insane finish, and UMD is right to think they stole two points. However, some of the most important points a team will accrue over the course of a season are the ones they stole. In the end, the standings (and eventually the Pairwise) don't give a crap how many goals you won the game by. They just care that you won.
We were certain Colorado College would come out like gangbusters Friday, determined to protect their home barn against a team that had great success in it a year ago. That didn't really happen, as the Tigers were too busy taking bad penalties in the first period.
However, you can be confident that CC will come out strong on Saturday. UMD will have to weather the storm a bit, and they have to avoid taking bad penalties, an area they got better at on Friday but still have plenty of room to improve in.
Hell of a game Friday, and let's hope UMD can pull off another one Saturday night. It would surely make for a happy trip back to the Twin Ports on Sunday morning.