The Colorado State club hockey team travelled to Boulder and Denver for a two-game series against the University of Colorado in this year’s hockey equivalent to the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
CSU (7-9-2-0) came into the series as a massive underdog, ranked No. 33 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) poll while the Buffaloes (15-2-0-1) were ranked No. 3.
Playing on CU’s home ice while being a considerable underdog was the perfect recipe for the Rams to spoils CU’s hopes of beating their in-state rival in front of their home crowd.
The game started as expected with CU taking a big 4-1 lead through the end of the second period. Heading into the third period, a comeback did not appear feasible for the Rams.
CSU’s comeback started with a goal from Alec Orme to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 4-2 with nine minutes remaining in the third. Still, the game with less than half a period to play, CU looked primed to win the rivalry game.
In the final 30 seconds of the game, though, CSU accomplished what seemed impossible. Two goals from Austin Ansay and Jared Southwell sent the game into overtime as the Buffaloes looked on in shock.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game headed to a shootout. It took just one goal in the shootout for CSU to complete the upset, downing CU 5-4.
The Rams didn’t just win the game against their in-state rival. They came together as a team and overcame an opponent that was more talented on paper.
“Friday’s win in Boulder was a very special win with the three goals in the third period, two of them in the last 30 seconds,” CSU head coach Jeff Degree said.
CSU’s win in Boulder was a big one, especially with starting goalie Dax Deadrick picking up an injury in the third period. Backup goalie Avery McDonald came into the game and made some big saves that sparked the CSU comeback.
“(McDonald) made some big saves that really sparked our guys to think we could come back. We kept pushing and were rewarded for it. We have come up short in many close one-goal games so it is great to see our guys persevere and win a close one, especially against CU,” Degree said.
CSU’s win in Boulder was a big upset and even bigger moment for the team. They banded together and beat their rival on their home ice despite being the underdog.
The weekend concluded in Denver as the two teams met again at the Pepsi Center. CSU lost that game 3-0, splitting the series with the Buffaloes.
CSU now sits at 7-9-2-0 on the season. They take on Central Oklahoma at the Epic Center in Fort Collins on Nov 16.
Collegian sports reporter Evan Grant can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EGrantsports.