Thorimbert’s 38 Saves Lead CC To 2-1 Win
Sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert turned away 38 Minnesota shots as Colorado College scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute to go in the game en route to a 2-1 upset of the Gophers on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
In a game that featured two of the highest scoring teams in the nation, defense and goaltenders prevailed in this one. Thorimbert, who has recently displaced incumbent starter and Minnesota native Joe Howe as CC’s primary netminder, was spectacular from start to finish, making big saves throughout the night to keep his team in the game.
Both Tiger goals came on defensive zone faceoff loses by Minnesota’s Erik Haula. Their first tally came 4:04 into the second period as Nick Dineen notched his 13th of the season, as the Gophers failed to clear the puck and Seth Helgeson, figuring his teammatves would get the puck out, let his man – Dineen – go. The puck would up on the senior’s stick, and Dineen beat Gopher goalie Kent Patterson between the legs to make it 1-0.
The Gophers had a great chance to tie the game or perhaps take the lead midway through the third period when CC’s Archie Skalbeck received a game misconduct for checking from behind. Minnesota had a few good looks on the power play, but Thorimbert stood tall and the Gophers failed to score during a five munte power play for the second time in three games.
However, they would tie the game at 1-1 with just over a minute to go in regulation as who else but Nick Bjugstad scored a timely goal. To his credit, Haula had a major hand in stripping the puck from a CC player who was trying to skate the it out of his own end. The Gophers go the puck on net and finally were able to hammer home a loose puck in the slot. It was Bjugstad’s 20th goal of the season and it looked as though the game was bound for overtime.
But with another faceoff in the Minnesota end with 40.2 to go, Haula did what you cannot afford to do in that situation: lost the draw cleanly. CC got it on net and Patterson made the initial stop but the Tigers crashed the net hard and Tim Hall scored just his second goal of the season with :36 to go, and that turned out to be the game-winner.
Aside from failing to convert on the five minute power play, the Gophers have to be happy with their effort in this game. Thorimbert was lights out for the Tigers, and if the Gophers duplicate tonight’s effort in the Saturday afternoon rematch, they’ll likely split the series and gain a crucial two points in the WCHA standings.
One troubling trend that did continue tonight though is losing the first game of a WCHA series, which the Gophers have now done in five of their last six series. They have bounced back to win on Saturday after those five Friday night losses, so hopefully that trend of winning game No. 2 continues this weekend.
Due to Hockey Day Minnesota, Saturday’s game gets underway at 5 p.m. CT.
Video: Post game Don Lucia.