The Colorado College Tigers put together their most complete game of the season Saturday night and knocked off No. 1 Minnesota Duluth, 2-1, for their first-ever victory at AMSOIL Arena and a four-point weekend against the NCHC-leading Bulldogs.
Mason Bergh and Teemu Kivihalme scored for the Tigers and Alex Leclerc continued his outstanding play in the net with 26 saves as CC earned its first win over No. 1-ranked team since March 22, 2013, a 2-0 victory over Minnesota at the WCHA Final Five.
Colorado College (6-12-2, 2-6-2 NCHC) evened its win total from each of the last two seasons and is 3-1-2 in its last six games.
"This is a huge win for our program," head coach Mike Haviland said. "We played hard for six periods this weekend and this was a total team win tonight."
Bergh opened the scoring with his team-leading 10th goal of the season just 3:46 into the contest. Senior Luc Gerdes found fellow senior Matt Hansen, who flipped a pass in front to Bergh, whose back was to the net. Bergh spun and placed a shot past the stick side of UMD goalie Hunter Miska.
"That was a huge goal by Mason," Haviland said. "It really settled us down and gave us a lot of confidence. The first period was so important tonight. We said 'Let's go at them and see how they respond to us.'"
After a couple of penalties to freshmen Kade Kehoe and Alex Berardinelli, Minnesota Duluth (12-4-4, 8-3-1 NCHC) evened the score when Adam Johnson scored a 5-on-3 goal at the 4:45 mark of the second period. Johnson's wrister from the right circle went over the left shoulder of Leclerc.
Junior Teemu Kivihalme then scored a similar goal that turned out to be the game-winner, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead at the 8:57 mark of the middle frame. During a 5-on-3 opportunity after a couple of Duluth penalties, Kivihalme took a drop pass from Bergh and placed a wrister from the right circle above Miska's left shoulder into the upper right corner for his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 14 against UMass-Lowell. Gerdes collected his second assist of the night on the play.
Highlights of CC's victory over No. 1 Minnesota Duluth Saturday night in Duluth. https://t.co/bWmXKzKx08— CC Hockey (@CC_Hockey1) January 8, 2017
"To respond the way we did after they scored with the two-man advantage was huge," Haviland said. "The difference the last eight games for us is our confidence and that we fully believe in each other."
Leclerc took over from there, making 18 saves after Johnson's tally, including a spectacular stop on UMD's Carson Soucy, who was all alone on the Tiger doorstep during a UMD power play and tried to flip a backhand past the freshman netminder with five minutes left in the contest.
The Tigers had a golden chance to put the game away when UMD's Willie Raskob was called for a five-minute major early in the third period, but only came away with one shot on net. The Bulldogs also had a power-play opportunity with six minutes to go in the third, but Leclerc stopped all three shots, including Soucy's.
Kivihalme led all players with a season-high seven shots, followed by Berardinelli with five. Miska finished the game with 23 saves for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers return home to play at The Broadmoor World Arena for the first time in six weeks when they host Omaha on Jan. 13-14.