CC shuts out DU with Nick Halloran’s lone goal

After losing the Gold Pan for the fourth-straight year, the Colorado College Tigers battled for a weekend split with a 1-0 victory during the second game of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) series against the No. 3-ranked University of Denver Pioneers. Following a crushing 5-1 loss on Friday, Feb. 16 at the Broadmoor World Arena in one of college hockey’s most storied rivalries, the Tigers rallied a road victory that snapped the Pioneers’ 17-game unbeaten streak. The win marked the first time sine 2014 that CC beat DU. 

“We played way harder tonight,” CC head coach Mike Haviland said. “Alex [Leclerc] was outstanding. I thought we blocked shots and it was just our normal guys that block shots, it was everybody tonight. That’s what it has to take against a team like that. There’s a reason why they are one of the best teams in the country. They keep coming at you. I just like that we bent, but we didn’t break.”

With the man-advantage, CC’s leading goal-scorer Nick Halloran, would score the lone goal off of a long-range wrister in the final seconds of the opening frame.

Denver’s scrapper forward Jake Durflinger was assessed with tripping with 46 seconds remaining in the period. Halloran collected the faceoff win from the right circle before rounding to center ice where he buried his shot near the left post past DU goalie Tanner Jaillet.

“It was a good team win. Just a 1-0 win shows that it was a good team-defensive win,” Halloran said. “I knew their goalie [Jaillet] couldn’t really see. There were a lot of people in front of us so I figured I would just kind of sling it in there. Lucky enough it went in.”

 Halloran, a Draper, UT native, has enhanced his game since his freshman year where he totaled nine points on five goals and four assists. The right-shot forward established himself as an offensive force by assuming an assertive role in his sophomore campaign. Halloran leads the Tigers’ offense with 41 points on 18 goals and 23 assists.

“I think it’s been [having] a bit more confidence,” Halloran said. “Just shooting the puck more and playing with those two guys, [Mason Bergh and Trey Bradley] they’re really good players. I’m finding a bit more confidence.”

Halloran’s linemates, Mason Bergh and Trey Bradley trail CC’s leaderboard with 34 points (15 goals and 19 assists) and 25 points (5 goals and 20 assists), respectively. 

“He’s [Halloran] been outstanding. That whole line has,” Haviland said. “They compliment each other. They’ve been our top line all year and they’ve been one of the best lines in the country, I think. The last couple games they’ve been shut down by North Dakota and then last night [against DU]. I think it was huge to see him [Halloran] get that goal tonight and for them to get their confidence back.”

The Pioneers, while without star forward Troy Terry who is representing Team USA at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, dominated puck possession. Denver posted a 40-22 shot advantage and held CC to single-digit shots over each period, but CC’s goalie Alex Leclerc was perfect in net. The sophomore made 40 saves in the victory.

“They played with great desperation,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “CC deserved to win that game because of the desperation they played with. They blocked shots, they won faceoffs. When you look at the details and the process to winning, having positive outcomes, they were the better team in those areas.”

Denver travels to face No. 2-ranked St. Cloud State next weekend, Feb. 23 and 24 on the road.

10 thoughts on “CC shuts out DU with Nick Halloran’s lone goal”

  1. Pios controlled the puck but not enough dirty work in front of the goal getting second chances. Plenty of rebounds but too many shots from distance. And give Le Clerc credit for a very good game.


  2. Give credit where credit is due – this game was not about officiating at all. The Tigers hadn’t beaten DU in 17 games. CC was coming off a humiliating 5-1 loss to DU in Colorado Springs at home on Friday night where they lost any chance at the Gold Pan. And they had a game plan to clog the neutral zone, trap and claw their way to a goal on the smaller ice of Magness. The Tigers rode a single goal to a solid road win at DU last night, playing smart hockey and getting very good goaltending from Leclerc.

    For the Pios, last night was frustrating before a packed house. The Pios’ effort level was high and they were dominant in puck possession and shots, but those things don’t always win you games. You must score, and DU didn’t. In fact, CC blocked shots and kept many DU shots to the perimeter. And when DU did have some good chances, they didn’t bury them.

    Now comes St. Cloud on the big ice. With the loss to CC, DU has now dropped out of the top four in the PWR to #5, and St. Cloud has five more points with two weekends to play in the league race. DU still has chance at the Penrose Cup, but they will need to better in the last four games, as the Pios will host last-place Miami in the final weekend of the season and SCSU must go to Grand Forks to play UND, which is looking more like a bubble team with a mediocre second half of the season.


  3. Only one way to sum up that game: frustrating. I kept waiting and waiting for DU to break through and get on the board. Have to credit CC–those guys played very hard, Leclerc was terrific, they kept DU on the perimeter most of the night, had solid special teams, and a bit of puck luck. It all added up to a very frustrating a disappointing loss. I’m sure the Tigers were feeling pretty good on the bus ride home.

    Monty said it all postgame–Pios were hard enough offensively and didn’t get enough traffic in front of Leclerc.

    Officiating had nothing to do with the outcome. I thought the first two calls against CC were actually ticky tack.

    Can the series against SCSU next weekend be any bigger!!??


  4. Loved the way DU played in the first period. Actually, they played well the whole game. Attacking and aggressive hockey. But after 2 periods of no goals, I just had a feeling they weren’t going to score in the 3rd. They played very good team hockey, and did all the right things. But with the way the game was going and the way that CC was defending, they needed a great individual play from one person for the goal. A Borgstrom toe drag, or a Gambrell or Lucosevicuius snipe. But that obviously didn’t happen. I hope they took something from that game, perhaps something they can work on to better break through whatever kind of force field stymied them last night.


  5. Unrelated notes–looks like they had a good tribute to Peg last night at the game. Also, how about the DU alum skiers in the Olympics–8th, 11th, and 18th in the giant slalom. Awesome. Haugen had a chance to medal, but perhaps skied a little too conservatively on the second run. (Debatable). But what a great result, and the announcers gave good props to DU during Haugen’s runs.


  6. DU continues to teams this season that it should be beating. PairWise dropped. NCHC tournament upcoming. I’m worried. DU easily could end up a 2-seed in a region.

    I feel DU needs to sweep the next two weekends.


    1. Easy for me to say as a non-DU fan but I don’t think you have anything to worry about even if DU ends up as a 2 seed. Your team may not have played some of its best hockey against some inferior teams but they’ve demonstrated that they rise to the occasion and have elevated their game against high level competion (sweeps against St. Cloud and Duluth come to mind). Come tournament time, DU will be facing tough competition but they too should be playing good hockey as well.


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