Home ice proved to be the most substantial factor in the two hockey games over the weekend between CSU and rival Colorado.
The weekend began at a packed Edora Pool and Ice Center Friday night with the American Collegiate Hockey Association's (ACHA) No. 2 team and first in the West Division, the CSU Rams, hosting the West's No. 2 team, the CU Buffaloes.
The game began the way it was played throughout: with big hits and a lot of penalties, although most penalties were killed well by both teams. The first penalty was taken by CU just a few minutes into the game.
After several minutes of back-and-forth play, the Rams became the first team to put the puck past the crease. Forward Adam Havens gave CSU a 1-0 lead 7:05 into the game. The rest of the first period was well played until the Rams took two penalties with 2:54 left in the first. CU netted the tying power-play goal just 30 seconds later. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie. The second period was mostly played in the neutral zone, with no real great scoring chances either way.
CSU came out with an edge in the final period with defenseman Chris Hau leading the way. About six minutes into the third Hau intercepted the puck on the CSU end and took it the length of the ice and beat the CU goaltender with a quick wrist shot for the game-winning goal.
"We played pretty well," said team President Jordan Stover, "But our coaches were frustrated with our lack of discipline."
The second game was played Saturday night in Boulder and nearly mirrored the style of Friday's game, with the difference being an increase in scoring.
"The game was brutal, even rougher than Friday," Stover said. "It was just cheap and dirty with a lot of stick work, and a lot of penalties."
The Buffaloes ended up winning the game 5-4.
"We just roughed each other up a lot, even more than we usually do," Stover said. The Rams lost more than the game, however. They lost Josh Caban to an MCL tear and Chris Hau to a suspension for elbowing a player. Hau's suspension length has not been determined.
With the two games being split, the Rams retained the No. 1 spot in the ACHA West. If they win out the rest of the season, they will get the west's number one seed for nationals. The Rams will be back in action on Saturday when they face-off against San Jose.