The University of Colorado men’s D1 hockey team finished their weekend with a 5-2 loss against the University of Central Oklahoma Saturday during a game at the CU Recreation Center. After a shattering 1-0 loss to UCO the night before, the team started the game strong in hopes of securing a win but fell short of the victory.
Colorado senior goalie Grant Payne began the game with a .851 save percentage so far in the season. He is one of only three seniors on the team and stepped up into a leadership role this season following a break due to a collarbone injury.
Starting in the first period, Colorado already topped their play from the previous night. Freshman defenseman Max Van Lancker added the first tally to the scoreboard with an assist by sophomore forward Cole Mackie. Both athletes persisted through the defensive line giving Van Lancker a chance to slip the puck past the right foot of UCO’s goalie, CJ Wedenig. It was a milestone for Van Lancker, with the goal becoming the first of his college career. Van Lancher’s energy seemed to spread to the rest of the team and the period came to a close with a one-goal advantage for CU.
“It’s nice to have a lot of support and leadership from the other guys, it helps us adapt to playing college hockey,” Van Lancker said. “Our coaches are also doing a good job with getting us integrated with the team.”
Head Coach Brent “Benny” Tollar has been working on consistency and the team showed clean passes and shots on goal tonight. Sophomore forward Brendan Hansen pursued four shots on goal in the first period and successfully landed a goal at the start of the second. Within 30 seconds of the drop of the puck, Hansen scored through the five-hole with an assist from sophomore forward Adam Trunko, bringing the Buffs up 2-0.
“Personal success is not what I care about, I am just working hard for the three seniors,” Hansen said.
While the Buffaloes were celebrating the 2-0 lead, UCO turned around and fought back hard to redeem themselves. Oklahoma forward Ty Erramouspe shot a puck past Payne and within one minute forward Nile Mills scored a goal tying the game 2-2 heading into the third period.
With both teams beginning to feel pressure, the final score came down to which ended up handling it better. UCO showed ample strength over the Buffaloes and added three more goals to the scoreboard leading the team to a 5-2 lead. As the score got out of hand, both teams began to rack up penalties with seven minutes remaining in the game. CU sophomore defenseman Ben-Zion Yaakoby took a trip into the penalty box for a tripping minor while Mills and Erramouspe were each given minor penalties for slashing. However, Colorado failed to utilize the four-on-three opportunity to score a much-needed goal.
After CU received three more penalties with four minutes remaining in the period, the game came to a close with a 5-2 loss to UCO.
The Buffaloes will not be leaving this weekend empty-handed though. Coach Tollar is proving his ability to coach his team and as the freshmen players adapt to their roles, the team’s cohesiveness continues to flourish.
“People are starting to learn their roles,” Tollar said. “The younger guys are catching up.”
The Colorado Buffaloes Men’s hockey team will return to the CU Rec Center to face Missouri State University on Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff writer Kelley Laxton at firstname.lastname@example.org
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