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Saturday night the University of Colorado hockey teams heated up the ice.
The Division II men’s ice hockey team lost 5-4 in a neck and neck match against the Colorado State Rams at the Pepsi Center in Denver at the third annual Rocky Mountain Ice Showdown.
CSU came out playing much more aggressive than the Buffs in the first period, which allowed them to benefit from a few of CU’s mistakes.
With seven minutes left in the period, Jordan Lockner got a tripping penalty, setting up the Rams to take advantage of being one man up on the ice. Within twenty seconds Austen Burgh scored off a pass from Paul Jenkins, giving the Rams an early lead.
Barely two minutes later, the Buffs were again down a man when Jeff Palmer was called out of the game for tripping. Seconds later, CSU capitalized on the power play with a goal from Parker Harrison, assisted by Kollin Vonderluis and Austen Burgh.
These early penalties ended up being very costly for the Buffs.
“We just needed to stay out of the box, we took too many penalties that they were able to capitalize on,” center Billy Haege said in a news release with the Sports Information Department. “We need to take more shots and hustle in front of the net if we want to win games like this.”
The Buffs continued on a downhill spiral after their already rough first period.
The Rams continued to put pressure on the Buffs. CSU went for two more goals early in the second period, one by Adrian Olson, the other by Brandon Hicks. Both goals were assisted by Jackson Dorsey.
With 7:31 left in the second period, CSU’s Paul Jenkins went to the penalty box, starting a huge momentum shift in the Buffs’ favor.
Just more than a minute after the penalty, CU’s Jordan Lockner scored off an assist from Zach Lass and Alex Lencioni. Two minutes later, the Buffs scored again with a goal from J.P. Park, assisted by Billy Haege. The score was 4-2 going into the final period of play.
The Rams caught a break very early on in the third period when they scored a quick goal from Brendon McCarthy, extending their lead to 5-2. Despite a three goal deficit, the Buffs continued to fight against their rival.
Two minutes later, CU responded with a goal from Brennen Stieneker through an assist from Alex Leniconi and Zach Lass.
The Buffs scored again with J.P. Park’s second goal of the game. Just like that, the Buffs were down only one goal.
The environment at the Pepsi Center was electric for those final minutes of play, each team getting numerous chances to score. Colorado dominated in shots on goal in third period, out shooting the Rams 16 to 8, but they couldn’t find a way to score, even though they had three power plays in the third period.
“If we had another 10 minutes in that period, that game would have been ours,” said assistant coach Jon Pfeiff. “We told them in the locker room that we need to play the full 60 minutes.”
The Buffs fell short of a comeback and lost the game with a final score of 5-4.
The Buffs will head to Arizona to face the University of Arizona Wildcats on Nov. 11, the University of Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Nov. 12 and the Arizona State University Sun Devils on Nov. 13.
The Division II Men’s team wasn’t the only game at the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown, though. The Division III Men’s team lost 7-0 to CSU, dropping their record to 6-2, while the CU’s women hockey team beat CSU 3-1, improving their record to 2-6-1 on the season.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Joseph Wirth at firstname.lastname@example.org.