The Rocky Mountain Showdown comes to Northern Colorado tonight when CSU hockey takes on CU-Boulder at the Budweiser Events Center.
For the second time this season, the two teams will take the ice in a pro arena, the first coming in October at Pepsi Center, a contest the Rams won 6-3.
Following the big win in Denver, CSU won a re-match in Fort Collins a week later. The Rams know full well that the Buffs will be looking for revenge.
â€œTheyâ€™ll want to get even,â€ said CSU coach Kelly Newton. â€œWeâ€™re expecting them to come out with all guns blazing. We have to stick to our game plan and stay disciplined. We want to jump them early and make them retreat.â€
That game plan consists of a high-energy, high-pressure forecheck. Newton says that this is the smallest team he has had in his time at CSU, but itâ€™s also one of the fastest. The Rams aim to use that speed to overwhelm opponents and cause turnovers which in turn leads to scoring opportunities.
The high-speed attack of CSU has made the team a popular attraction for Rams fans. The game at Pepsi Center drew 6,000 fans and the team is expecting a sell-out, or close to it, for Fridayâ€™s match.
â€œWeâ€™re a little more excited,â€ said captain Nik Burge when asked to compare tonightâ€™s game with Octoberâ€™s Pepsi Center affair. â€œItâ€™s a little closer to home. It will be a big crowd. Itâ€™s an awesome feeling to go out there and have everyone backing you.â€
Itâ€™s a big event every time CSU and CU meet, no matter what sport it is. The intensity may be amplified by the fact that the teams are in the same division in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and often battle each other to win the division.
This year is no different as the teams are separated by only seven points in the standings, with CSU having the edge.
â€œTheyâ€™re out for revenge,â€ said Burge. â€œThey need to go through us for seeding in regionals, and weâ€™re not going to let them.â€
Face-off is set for 7:05 and tickets can be purchased at www.comcasttix.net or while they last at the stadium box office.
Sports writer Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.
Go to the game
- Opponent: University of Colorado Buffs
- Where: Budweiser Events Center
- When: 7:05 p.m.
- Get tickets: Buy them at www.comcasttix.net.