The best player on the Colorado College hockey team is sophomore winger Jaden Schwartz. He missed six games due to being on Team Canada for the World Junior Championships. Although the Tigers won four of those six games, it became evident on Saturday night just how crucial Schwartz is for the Tigers. His second goal of the night with :30 left in regulation meant the Tigers escaped with a 3-3 tie against Cornell.
The Tigers had lost 3-1 in the series opener on Friday, and although it was a non-conference series, these results against top caliber teams are important for pairwise points when it comes time for selection to the NCAA Tournament in March.
“They’re an awfully good defensive team, with a bog-time goaltender,” Tiger coach Scott Owens said of the Big Red, and goalie Andy Iles, who has played every minute for Cornell this season. “That’s as good a goalie as we’re going to see all season long. I think we’re going to be better for playing them, and they’re going to be better for playing us. The concern is that we generated basically nothing on the weekend five on five.”
The four goals the Tigers scored came by way of the power play–three times–and with an extra attacker in the final minute on Saturday. “Give them credit. They’re a tough team,” Jaden Schwartz said. “We’ve got to outwork teams and execute our game plan.”
CC tallied first midway through the first period, when Jaden found his brother Rylan in the slot for a power play goal. It was Rylan’s 17th of the year, surpassing his total for his first two years in a Tiger uniform. It was a replay of a goal seen numerous times already this year. “He’s a smart player. He usually finds the open area,” Jaden said of his older sibling.
Jaden put the Tigers up 2-0 with a PP goal of his own early in the second period. But then Cornell started to come back. John McCarron, their best player on Saturday, assisted on goals by Joel Lowry and Sean Collins later in the period, and the game was tied 2-2 after forty minutes.
Cornell took the lead at the 11:54 mark of the third, when Greg Miller launched a missile from the right circle that beat Tiger goalie Joe Howe, and almost made the water bottle on the top of the net explode. That set up the drama at the end. Howe was pulled with 1:33 left, and Schwartz got the tying goal from a tough angle below the right circle. CC got a power play chance in the overtime, but were only able to generate one shot.
The Tigers, ranked 6th coming in, will move forward with a 12-7-1 mark. All that remain are WCHA games, beginning with a pair at home against St. Cloud State next weekend. Cornell, ranked #13 and leading the ECAC, is now 9-4-2.
Jaden Schwartz tallied two goals and three assists for Canada at the World Juniors, which were played in Edmonton and Calgary. Canada lost in the semi-finals to Russia, 6-5. They earned a bronze medal with a 4-0 win over Finland. Sweden beat Russia for the gold, winning 1-0 in overtime on a goal by Mika Zibanejad at the 10:09 mark. The United States finished 7th.
Air Force was able to earn only one point on a road series at Holy Cross. The Falcons tied 3-3 on Friday, before dropping a 4-3 decision on Saturday. The results dropped the Falcons to second place in Atlantic Hockey, two points behind Mercyhurst, who swept their weekend series. Air Force returns home this weekend with a pair of games against Bentley.