Colorado College coach Scott Owens juggled his hockey team’s line combinations three weeks ago because he wanted balanced scoring. Since the change, there has been plenty of balance on the top line, evidenced by five goals from left wing Brett Sterling, two from center Chad Rau and two from right wing Joey Crabb.
The second line has been stagnant, partly because center Marty Sertich is scoreless the past four games. The third line hasn’t produced a goal outside of left wing Aaron Slattengren. And the fourth line has a goal from left wing J.P. Brunkhorst and none from center Brandon Polich and wings Braydon Cox and James Brannigan. Owens maintains it’s too early to overhaul his lines again, and he’ll probably keep Sertich and Sterling separated this weekend when No. 5 CC (12-5-1, 6-3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) plays Minnesota-Duluth (6-7-3, 4-3-3) at World Arena. “I think the lines actually have been pretty good,” said Owens, whose team is 3-3 since the lines were changed. “Even though the team hasn’t done as well, I’m not sure that’s because of the (new) lines.” Slattengren and left wing Scott McCulloch have two goals apiece the past six games, although center Trevor Frischmon and wings Derek Patrosso and Jimmy Kilpatrick have been held scoreless. Patrosso and Kilpatrick have split time at right wing on the second line, which features McCulloch and Sertich. When Patrosso plays on the second line, Kilpatrick moves to the third line with Slattengren and Frischmon. “Jimmy and Derek have been rotating with Marty. That’s a pretty good guy to have centering you,” Owens said. “We’re not putting pressure on them. We just wish we could get a little more scoring.” Sertich hasn’t scored the past 261 minutes. His last goal came Nov. 19 in the second period of CC’s 3-0 win over Michigan Tech. “I’m getting chances. I just haven’t been able to score,” Sertich said. “I don’t have anybody to blame but myself. We have four games before Christmas, so I have four chances to turn it around.” Said Owens: “Marty gets a lot of his points on the power play, and things aren’t going that great on the power play right now.” Lampl back on blue line Cox (sprained left knee) and Brannigan (throat infection) have returned, enabling Cody Lampl to move back to defenseman after he played right wing Friday in CC’s 4-2 loss to now-No. 10 Denver. Lampl, an offensive-minded defenseman, hadn’t lined up at forward since his freshman year of high school. He didn’t score, and he played only a couple of shifts because the Tigers spent 20 minutes on the penalty kill. “Coach just puts the line up there, and you don’t question it,” Lampl said. Slap shots Defenseman Jack Hillen, who suffered a bruised left shoulder Saturday in the second period of CC’s 5-1 loss to Denver, will play this weekend, Owens said. . . . Former CC forward Tyler Liebel has five goals and 17 assists in 18 games with the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or email@example.com NEXT Minnesota-Duluth (6-7-3, 4-3-3, WCHA) at No. 5 CC (12-5-1, 6-3-1), 7:37 p.m. Friday, 1240 AM