CU-CSU rivalry puts on ice skates tonight at NoCo Ice Arena

CSU forward Parker Harrison (17) gets taken down behind the net in the 3rd period at the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown against CU-Boulder at the Pespi Center last year. Tonight the Rams take on CU-Boulder again in the Pepsi Center at the Annual Center Ice Showdown.
CSU forward Parker Harrison (17) gets taken down behind the net in the 3rd period at the Rocky Mountain Center Ice Showdown against CU-Boulder at the Pespi Center last year. Tonight the Rams take on CU-Boulder again in the Pepsi Center at the Annual Center Ice Showdown.

Just like oil and water, Rams and Buffaloes don’t mix well together. The spiteful rivalry reignites tonight when the CU-Boulder hockey team visits NoCo Ice Arena to take on CSU.

The Rams will hit the ice looking for a win that will award them an American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II tournament spot. CU-Boulder is seeking revenge, as it has lost its previous two meetings with CSU this season.

“A lot of the good coaches in the NHL will tell you that they don’t believe in momentum from game to game, so I think that’s how we need to take it. Just because we beat them the first two games doesn’t mean they’re not going to bring us a game,” CSU assistant captain Austen Burgh said.

The Buffaloes have experienced an uneven season, entering the game sporting a 3-15-1 record. A string of injuries on top of losing some key starters from last year has dropped CU-Boulder near the bottom of the Division II standings.

“CSU has a good chance of going to the tournament, and we aren’t likely to qualify. So at this point, it would be nice just to take them down,” CU-Boulder coach Shawn Sullivan said. “We’re going after the green. Our plan is to take down everything with a green jersey on.”

Each team recognizes that there is more than merely a game at stake. The importance of coming out on top has been rooted in each player, coach and student since the first day they showed up for either side.

“It’s a rivalry that everybody gets into, and it runs much deeper than just football. It’s between every athletic team, it’s between CU and CSU, it’s between Fort Collins and Boulder,” CSU assistant coach Ryan Kenney said. “It’s a pride thing.”

The Rams began the season with the ultimate goal of bringing home a national championship. Although they haven’t carried out their ideal season, currently 13-12-3, they still have a good shot of making it to the divisional tournament that may take them there. Each win they pick up in the seven remaining games of the regular season will allow them to enter at a higher seed.

“As bad as they want it, we want it just as bad, or more,” Burgh said. “We have a vision of where we want to go, and now we’re looking to win out the rest of the season, and they’re included in that.”

Each team is currently running a dry streak when it comes to winning games. CU-Boulder has lost four straight, while CSU just returned from an 0-3 road trip in Oklahoma.

“We start out 0-0 tomorrow night. Whether they have 100 wins and no losses, or no wins and 100 losses, it doesn’t matter,” Kenney said. “We can’t look past them.”