With two victories this weekend, the Colorado State Rams hockey team did their job. Now it’s up to the ACHA Selection Committee to do theirs.
CSU separated themselves in the standings in the Western Division over the weekend with wins over Eastern Washington and San Jose State, respectively.
Going into the weekend, CSU and SJSU were tied with 35 points apiece, and EWU had 37. Two Ram victories later, CSU found themselves all alone at the top of the rankings.
Rams Head Coach Joe Sharrock was happy with his team’s performance, even though he was confident coming into the games.
“We expected to get two wins out of this weekend,” Sharrock said. “This was a big weekend for us obviously.”
On Saturday, CSU faced off with the Spartans of SJSU, and clawed their way to a 4-3 victory. The first period only saw one goal, coming from CSU on the power play from winger Mike Sheehan.
The scenario was the same going into second intermission, with CSU holding a one-goal lead. However, the tally after two periods was 3-2. Tim Stiller got things going six minutes into the second period with a power-play goal.
San Jose State would erase the 2-0 deficit, when the Spartan’s Kelly Spain answered the call with only 4:36 left before intermission. Not to be outdone, Ram defensiveman Dan Malone would send one home with a little under two minutes before the break.
The Spartans would pull even on a goal from Alex Redmond halfway through the third. But then with the game tied at three goals apiece, Nick Buffington scored with 1:58 remaining in the game for the game winner.
“I just got a little lucky there; the puck came to me, and I got it to settle down,” Buffington said. “Luckily, I just found an opening in his (Rowe’s) five hole and it went in.”
The 4-3 victory was on the heels of a victory over Eastern Washington on Friday, by the same score. The Rams locked horns with the undefeated Eagles and handed Eastern Washington their first loss of the season.
After falling behind two goals the rams rallied to outscore the Eagles 4-1 during the final two periods for the victory.
CSU winger Dale Dinnebeck’s goal with 7:01 left in the second would tie things up headed into the intermission. Mike Sheehan put CSU up for good with 12:56 left in the game to give the Rams the win.
“It feels good to hand them their first loss of the season,” Sheehan said.
CSU embarks on a four games in four days road trip to Michigan on Feb. 1 to take on Grand Valley State, Central Michigan University, Davenport University, and wrapping things up on Feb. 4 against Michigan State.
The Rams will be back home on Feb. 10 to take on rival Colorado-Boulder.
KCSU sports director/ hockey beat writer Cole Weinman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.