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CSU defeated CU 3-2 in an overtime thriller at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The win against CU marks the Ram’s first victory as a Division I team.
Photos by, Eliott Foust
Pucks flew, sticks collided and players all fought for a chance to claim Rocky Mountain Showdown winner on Saturday night.
CSU’s game with CU-Boulder marked the first Showdown at the Pepsi Center to be forced into overtime. With two minutes to collect plays, strategies and momentum, the Rams took the ice knowing the game could go either way at the flick of the shot.
“You are always nervous, especially when their two goals weren’t the strongest goals,” CSU head coach Kelly Newton said. “We said going into this game, ‘no give-me’s, don’t give them anything and I think we gave them a couple opportunities.'”
Forward Connor Tamai brought home the victory for Ram Country on a shot just after wining the face-off in Buffalo territory, defeating CU 3-2 in overtime.
“It’s great to get that last goal,” Tamai said. “There is always that extra edge that you have in your pocket, they definitely had it a little more than we did tonight. It was a big sigh of relief to get that goal in the end.”
The Rams outshot the Buffs 49-16 in the fifth Rocky Mountain Showdown held at the Pepsi Center.
From the time the puck dropped, the pressure to defeat their Colorado rival had begun. While the first period collected shots, penalties and competative words, the Rams stepped onto the ice at the start of the second period with a drive to score.
At the 4:57 mark, Chandler Yoder put the Rams on the board in a rebound shot past CU goal keeper Alex Palumbo. CSU gained control with a 2-0 lead on the flip from Collin Abitz, tough it did not remain unanswered.
Buffs forward David Coleman snuck the puck through the pads of CSU goal keeper Alex Steidler to bring CU within one late in the second period.
Into the third period, CU May Wilkerson evened the score at 2 on a goal over the pads of Steidler. The score remained tied with one minute remaining in regulation, resulting in an overtime push.
“We call it a bonus hockey when you get a few more minutes of hockey, which you normally would not get,” CU head coach Eric Ballard said. “We made some small, minor mistakes and they capitalized on them.”
The Rams surpassed the Buffs defense to win their first game in the ACHA Division I club level and in conference play.
CSU improves to 1-3 in D-I and 7-5 overall. The Rams will face the Buffs again in November on the road in Boulder.
“We just got to learn, we are consistently struggling on scoring but we’ve got to finish our chances to win games,” Newton said.
Hockey Beat Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connor Tamai wins the face-off, then wrists a shot by CU’s goaltender to give the Rams a 3-2 overtime win.
Video by Keith Albertson, CTV11