Feb 122006
Authors: Aaron Schoonmaker

Ram hockey fans are searching for new hats to replace the ice decorations following back-to-back hat-trick performances by CSU players against Colorado this weekend.

On Friday it was the Rams' (19-3-2), defensemen that got all the action, scoring four of the five goals in a 5-2 win over the struggling Buffs (12-10-1).

A tight game through most of the first two periods, sophomore defenseman Jake McFarland got the Rams a 2-1 lead with just seven minutes to play in the second. Then, with just over a minute left in the game, and just eight seconds after junior winger Mike Holthouzer buried a goal of his own, McFarland completed the hat-trick, capping the Rams' five goal performance.

"We saw each other all night, every pass was tape-to-tape," said McFarland of his defensive counterpart Jordan Stover, who assisted on all three of McFarland's goals. "The third (goal) was for all the money."

Not to be out-performed by sophomore goaltender Brian Minor's stellar Friday night in front of a sold out EPIC, junior Jeff Ronkoske had the honor of handing out his second shutout of the season on Saturday night in Boulder.

"The defense and goalie play was great, we just shut them down" said head coach Joe Sharrock. "By the end of the second period (Saturday night) we had more fans there than CU did."

The 5-0 win was helped along with the second hat-trick of the weekend, this one from junior winger Nick Buffington.

Going 2-for-3 on power-plays and killing all 15 short-handed tries, the CU fans and players alike were treated to a frustrating weekend.

"They're a big, strong team. They know how to throw their weight around," said senior captain for the Buffs Jamie Neyers. "They pretty much dominated."

CSU has now won seven in a row, 11 of their last 12.

"We're playing our best hockey right now," Minor said. "We just have to remember to play defense first."

Another piece of good news for CSU came from the doctor's office prior to the game on Friday night when sophomore defenseman Jimmy Welte found out his MRI revealed no tear to the ligaments in his left knee. While he sat out the weekend, Welte is hopeful to be back on the ice in time for the national tournament March 8-11.

Up next for the Rams is a tune-up for nationals in Rochester N.Y. with a pair of games against border foe, Wyoming on Feb. 24-25.

"It was a good weekend," Sharrock said. "Now we have to regroup and play a couple before nationals."

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