When the CSU menâ€™s hockey team was down 2-0 at the end of the first period during Saturdayâ€™s game against the University of Northern Colorado, a frustrated coach Kelly Newton told the team to quit playing to lower-ranked UNCâ€™s level.
And in the second period, CSU (20-4-9) responded in a big way, scoring six goals in the first five minutes, and 10 goals over the course of the period, paving the way for a big 12-2 victory.
â€œThe team responded to the challenge, big-time,â€ Newton said after the game.
Forward Austin Burgh led the way with a hat trick, and forwards Parker Harrison and Zack Smoot each contributed two goals apiece.
While CSU controlled the puck for most of the first period, and led UNC (4-0-21) in shots on goal, the team had difficulty capitalizing, leading to two UNC goals within one minute of each other with 10 minutes left in the period.
Those were the last goals UNC scored.
Burgh scored the first CSU goal of the game 30 seconds into the second period, and 15 seconds later, forward Jamison Wicks kept the momentum going with a decisive slapshot past UNC goalie Brian Dean.
â€œWe just needed that first goal to get things rolling,â€ Burgh said. â€œBefore that, we had a difficult time connecting with the net. But once we got that goal, we had a lot of adrenaline going, and guys started to relax a bit.â€
By the end of the second period, Burgh, Harrison and Smoot had each scored two goals.
â€œIt was good to see that, instead of just letting ourselves squeak by past a worse team, we were able to make a statement,â€ Burgh said.
Next week, CSU is set to play the University of Denver and the University of Arizona Division I team. In the meantime, Newton said, the team hopes to improve on shot accuracy and a tighter defense.
â€œWe really need to focus on putting the puck in the net consistently when we have those opportunities,â€ Newton said.
â€œWeâ€™ve also got to tighten our d-zone coverage, and just keep control of the game,â€ said defensemen Tappen Brown, a junior who transferred from UNC to CSU.
The Rams are set to face-off against DU on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at EPIC, and against the University of Arizona on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at EPIC.
â€œIâ€™d like to see more students come out and support us as we get ready for regionals,â€ Newton said.
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