Behind a 40-save shutout from Alex Leclerc, Nick Halloran's team-leading 18th goal and a great defensive effort, Colorado College upset No. 2-ranked Denver, 1-0, Saturday at Magness Arena.
The Tigers (13-13-4, 7-10-3-2 NCHC) snapped a 17-game winless streak against the Pioneers, dating back to Feb. 22, 2014, and collected five of a possible six points against the defending national champions in Denver this season, combining tonight's win with a 4-4 tie and goal in the 2nd overtime for the extra point back in December.
Colorado College going EVERYTHING to keep the puck out of the net and hold onto the 1-0 upset.pic.twitter.com/BO8IluuvaP— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) February 18, 2018
"Everybody did the little detail things to win this hockey game," head coach Mike Haviland said. "Tonight really showed our resiliency and never-say-die attitude."
With the Tigers on the power play late in the first period, Halloran fired a wrist shot from the high slot that slipped past DU goalie Tanner Jalliet with 28.1 seconds remaining in the frame. Westin Michaud won a faceoff in the Denver zone and Halloran collected the puck, moved to the middle and scored his fourth game-winner of the season.
"It looked like the goalie was screened a bit, so I just sent it to the net," Halloran said.
Leclerc stopped 13 shots in the first period, then was spectacular in the second, when Denver outshot the Tigers, 18-7.
"This was a great team performance tonight," Leclerc said. "We disappointed ourselves and our fans last night and needed to come back and get points tonight."
The sophomore goalie, who topped the 40-save mark for the fifth time this season, was helped immensely by the Tiger defense, which limited the Pioneers (17-7-6, 11-5-4-3 NCHC) to nine shots in the third period and only four shots on four power-play opportunities.
The Tigers went 1-1-2 against defending national champion Denver during the regular season, including taking five of a possible six points at Magness Arena!— CC Hockey (@CC_Hockey1) February 18, 2018
"Our guys were sacrificing their bodies, especially on the penalty kill," Leclerc said. "This was a collective effort and our team showed a lot of character."
The Tigers moved back into sixth place in the NCHC with Saturday night's victory, and are just two points behind fifth-place Western Michigan heading into next weekend's final regular-season road series at Omaha.
"Tonight really helped us put ourselves in position to get home ice," Haviland said.