CU goaltender Kevin Litinski collides with CSU captain Nik Burge at the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown on Friday, Oct. 29. In last year's inaugural event, CU came from behind to beat CSU 5-3, but this year, CSU came back to win 6-3. (CU Independent/Shannon Cutlip).
Giving up a shorthanded goal late in the second period, the CU men’s hockey team fell against archrivals Colorado State.
Breaking a 2-2 tie, the late goal gave Colorado State the decisive lead, on Oct. 29, before rallying to a 6-3 victory over the Buffaloes at the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown in the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“That was the game changer,” said CSU forward Parker Harrison. “It was all downhill from there.”
Before the Buffs could respond, their energized in-state rival jumped all over them to put the game away. The Rams scored five unanswered goals and capitalized on numerous Buff penalties that left the team shorthanded.
“They were hungrier than we were – that’s all there was to it,” said CU Head Coach Ken Fikis. “We don’t know how to stay disciplined. We don’t know how to stay out of the (penalty) box.”
Talk about a reversal of fortune.
In last year’s inaugural Rocky Mountain Showdown at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Rams built a 3-0 lead in the first period. But a Buffs power-play goal changed the momentum and led to five straight goals and an eventual 6-3 victory.
One bright spot for CU this weekend was the play of forward Alex Lencioni, whose wrist shot from the right point beat Rams goaltender John Miller and put the Buffs up 1-0 at 4:01 of the first period.
CSU tied the game 10 minutes later and the teams went into the locker room after the first period with a score of 1-1.
In the second period, Lencioni swatted in a lose puck in front of the net to put the Buffs up 2-1. He also assisted on a goal by defenseman J.P. Park with 52 seconds left in the third period, but by then, the game was well out of reach.
“You know it’s nice to score goals, but I’d rather come out with the W,” Lencioni said.
The Buffs will get another chance against the Rams on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Epic Ice Arena in Fort Collins. That will be the second of four meetings for the two teams this season. Their final match-up will take place in Boulder on Feb. 11 at the Rec Center.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Paul Richard Sampson at Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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