By Ron Knabenbauer
CU Hockey Media Relations
BOULDER – Kevin Litinsky made 42 saves and Erich Seufert scored two goals as the No. 1 Colorado Buffaloes hockey team defeated the No. 2 Colorado State Rams 4-2 on Friday night at the CU Ice Arena to sweep the weekend series against their rivals from Fort Collins.
The victory extends Colorado’s winning streak to four and brings their record to 9-2-0 on the season, their best start through their first eleven games since 2007-08 when the Buffs went 11-0 to start the season. The loss for the Rams is their fourth in a row and drops their record to 8-5-0 on the year after they started the season 8-1-0 through their first five weeks of play.
“We have played real well all year long,” said Ken Fikis, CU’s head coach. “We gave away some games that we shouldn’t have but by in large the kids are starting to do what we want them to do. I think Thursday night they learned what heart is, what character is, and what pride is, and I think that is going to carry over for the rest of the season.”
Seufert, who scored the game winning goal Thursday night against CSU at the Pepsi Center, continued his hot streak on Friday as he scored two first period goals to give the Buffs a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Seufert’s first goal came 5:23 into the game in which he found some space between the pads of the Rams goaltender, John Miller, and pushed it through to the back of the net. The Longmont native’s second goal came from a cross ice pass by A.J. Koller, who found the sophomore forward in front of the net and buried it with 30 seconds left in the period.
The late goal by the Buffs seemed to give them momentum to start the second as sophomore Conor Williams scored a power play goal 24 seconds into the period to extend CU’s lead to three. Williams is first on the team in goals with nine and in points with 14.
Senior Max Myers would give Colorado the four goal lead, 27 seconds into the third period after he one-timed a pass by Koller on the power play. Myers added two assists as well in Friday night’s game which puts him second on the team in points with 12.
Ian Austiguy would finally get CSU on the board with 15:21 to play in the third period, but the CU defense led by Litinsky held strong for the rest of the game. Ben Smoot would beat the Buffs goaltender with six seconds left in regulation to bring the final score to 4-2.
After giving up three goals in the first period on Thursday to the Rams, Litinsky was a brick wall for the rest of the series, playing 84:57 of shutout hockey before CSU finally beat him again in the third period on Friday night.
Litinsky who was posting a 2.80 Goals Against Average coming into the game said that the thought of playing shutout hockey never crossed his mind.
“The only thing I think about is that I want the win, that’s it,” Litinsky said. “Whatever it takes to get the win, I don’t care how many periods are scoreless, if I get a shutout, or how many goals I let in, if we have the win at the end of the game, that is all that matters.”
Litinsky’s counterpart on the other side of the ice, CSU’s John Miller, would stop 26 of CU’s 30 shots on him during the game.
Colorado has started to find the back of the net more often on the power play as of late as they scored two goals with the man advantage on Friday in nine attempts. Colorado State meanwhile went 1-for-7 on the power play.
The Buffs will now head to the desert beginning on Thursday as they’ll take on the No. 12 Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, Ariz. CU will then go down to Tucson for two games against the ACHA D-I Arizona Ice Cats before playing ASU again on Sunday afternoon.
Colorado will be back in Boulder on Nov. 20 as they’ll take on the No. 7 Denver Pioneers at 7:30 p.m. at the CU Ice Arena.
Myers said the weekend sweep over their in-state rivals will help the team gain momentum for their games in Arizona and against DU.
“It’s huge to come in and sweep this weekend,” Myers said. “It gives us a lot of confidence and proves that we can play with anybody at the top of the league. It gives us confidence and momentum heading into the next couple of weeks.”
The weekend sweep of CSU is the Buffs first in their past three seasons over the Rams, and Litinsky said the team is starting to form an identity for the rest of the year.
“This weekend proves that we have heart that we can come from behind, and we have gelled as a team,” Litinsky said. “I like where our team is at.”
Listen to Friday night’s audio broadcast against Colorado State at http://www.4shared.com/file/147746498/978dd624/CU_vs_CSU_in_Boulder_11609.html
Three Stars of the Game
(As selected by Kayla Cornett of the CU Independent)
1. CU goaltender Kevin Litinsky – stopped 42 of CSU’s 44 shots
2. CU forward Max Myers – finished the game with one goal and two assists
3. CU forward Erich Seufert – finished the game with two goals
CU 14:37 Erich Seufert, assisted by Max Myers
CU 0:30 Erich Seufert, assisted by A.J. Koller and Max Myers
CU 19:36 Conor Williams, assisted by J.P. Park and Andrew Neitenbach (PP)
CU 19:33 Max Myers, assisted by A.J. Koller (PP)
CSU 15:21 Ian Austiguy, assisted by Casey Schermerhorn and A.J. Hau
CSU 0:06 Ben Smoot, assisted by Kevin O’Donnell and A.J. Hau
View the entire score sheet at http://www.achahockey.org/game_details.php?game_id=486984&schedule_id=34026