Colorado College hockey is on the road to a new arena in the next couple years, and momentum has been building on the ice as well.
The Tigers, who hadn’t won more than eight games in each of four straight seasons, started to regain the winning touch last season. The team finished with a 15-17-5 record, falling to Denver University in the first round of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) playoffs. This year, CC has already matched that eight win threshold with 16 games left to play. The team currently sits at 8-10-2. It’s not where they ultimately want to be, but the Tigers have half a season to further their upward trajectory
“Last year was a step in the right direction,” says head coach Mike Haviland. “We learned how hard it is to win—it’s a fine line; you can’t take a minute off.”
Haviland, who came to CC in 2014, says last season’s series at Miami University helped bring that point home. CC lost in overtime on Friday night, and won by a goal the night after.
“There was a lot said from the players [after the Miami series], that they could win and beat anybody,” Haviland says. “That carried over to this year, that belief that we can beat anybody. You have to have that.”
For freshman defenseman Bryan Yoon, confidence—as individual players, as a team, and as an entire program—seems to have helped spark the improved results.
“Everyone is playing with more confidence,” Yoon says. “And that’s always a good thing. You feel like you have more ability to make plays.”
Yoon’s classmate, forward Grant Cruikshank, has been around Tiger hockey for most of his life, as his cousin played for the program in the early 2000s. For him, another factor has helped the team: expectations.
“There were no expectations (coming into) last year,” he says. “Now there’s an added excitement around the program, and we have to learn how to play with pressure and expectations. Expectations are good, especially for the younger guys moving forward.”
Added to that is camaraderie embedded across classes. Cruikshank says this is the closest team he’s ever played on.
“I didn’t expect to be close with the upperclassmen, but arguably some of my better relationships are with seniors,” he says. “That makes it easier to play and in practice. We’re able to have good talks, prepare for games and really rely on each other.”
What’s the cause? “I think it’s part of the culture and who is recruited,” Cruikshank says. “You can see the turnaround with the type of players committing.”
All of this, however, will continue to be tested. The Tigers head to North Dakota this weekend having lost four of their last five games. Haviland acknowledges his team has left some wins on the table this season, and that the learning process continues as he seeks to focus on the needed details and habits to continue the program’s rebound.
“This is a fun group to be around,” he says. “Their potential for success is unlimited.”
Remaining Home Schedule 2018-2019
Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.
Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 23 at 4:30 p.m.
March 1 at 8 p.m.
March 2 at 6 p.m.
March 9 at 7 p.m.
Details and tickets: cctigers.com