Sterling scoreless in 225 minutes

By BRIAN GOMEZ THE GAZETTE Updated: January 24, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: January 24, 2006
Brett Sterling picked a bad time to slump. Sterling hasn’t scored the past three games, all losses for No. 9 Colorado College, which is idle this weekend after being swept in consecutive series by No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Minnesota. Stuck on 99 career goals, Sterling last scored Jan. 13 in the first period of a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin. His 225-minute scoring drought is his longest of the season. Like most of CC’s opponents, Minnesota played physically on Sterling, holding him to six shots. Sterling assisted on both of the Tigers’ goals Friday. “I would like to see (the referee) call something when I get stuck in the face,” said Sterling, whose team is 12-4-1 when he scores. “But I can’t worry about it. I’ve just got to keep playing. Whether they call it or not, it’s going to happen.” Sterling’s best scoring chance came in the first period Friday when he missed a rebound at the right post. If Sterling had scored, CC and Minnesota would have been tied 2-2. Instead, Minnesota never trailed in a 4-2 victory. “I keep replaying that,” Sterling said. “I had it lined up, and (the puck) was fluttering. I just missed it, and then I tried to kick it back to myself and it went off my shin pad the wrong way.” Sterling leads the country with 22 goals. He’s tied for first nationally with 11 power-play goals and five game-winning goals and he’s tied for second with 40 points. Center Marty Sertich anticipates Sterling will return to form. “Even the great scorers don’t score for a couple games,” Sertich said. “I’m not worried about him.” Mixed bag for Zaba CC coach Scott Owens said goaltender Matt Zaba “looked different” against Minnesota after he allowed seven goals in 71 minutes against Wisconsin. “He looked confident and under control,” Owens said. “He was square to the puck. He was out. He wasn’t leaning. He wasn’t falling back.” Two of the seven goals Minnesota scored on Zaba came when the Golden Gophers were on the power play. Defenseman Chris Harrington’s goal Saturday came with 0.9 of a second left in the second period on a shot that deflected off CC defenseman Brandon Straub’s stick. Zaba expressed disappointment over his performance. “There were a lot of guys who found a way to get their sticks on pucks,” Zaba said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re tying up sticks a little better, and I’ve got to be talking a little bit more. I’ve got to make those key saves.” CC dives in polls The Tigers fell two spots to ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com/CSTV polls. In both polls, Boston College overtook Wisconsin for the top spot. Miami (Ohio) jumped to third, Minnesota slipped to fourth and Cornell moved to fifth. In the Inside College Hockey power rankings, CC is eighth. Boston College is first and Wisconsin is second, followed by Miami, Minnesota and Cornell. The KRACH ratings have CC fifth behind Wisconsin, Miami, Minnesota and Boston College. CC fell three spots to seventh in the PairWise rankings, which are used to predict which 16 teams will make the NCAA Tournament. The top three spots remained unchanged: Wisconsin is first, Miami is second and Minnesota is third. Boston College jumped to fourth. Michigan and Michigan State are tied for fifth. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or brian.gomez@gazette.com
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