Brett Sterling might need a mullet. His new Mohawk wasn’t much of a good-luck charm Friday night as Colorado College again beat itself. Unable to generate many quality chances, Sterling was held scoreless for the fourth straight game and No. 13 North Dakota capitalized on mistakes in downing No. 7 CC 4-2 before 6,841 at World Arena. CC’s five-game losing streak is its longest since the 2003-04 season, when the Tigers also dropped five in a row. CC never has lost more than five consecutive games since Scott Owens replaced Don Lucia as coach after the 1998-99 season. The loss, coupled with St. Cloud State’s win against Alaska Anchorage, dropped CC into a tie for sixth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with Minnesota State-Mankato. North Dakota retained sole possession of fourth place and stayed within eight points of first-place Wisconsin, which beat Minnesota Duluth. CC is 17-11-1, 9-9-1 in the WCHA. North Dakota is 18-12-1, 11-10-0. The teams finish the series at 7:07 tonight. CC defenseman Jesse Stokke could have been credited with North Dakota’s third goal, the game-winner. He inadvertently deflected North Dakota left wing Erik Fabian’s shot, and goaltender Matt Zaba (15-10-1) was caught flat-footed as the puck sailed into the left corner. The Fighting Sioux blanketed Sterling, although Sterling didn’t help his cause by committing three penalties, one of which came 33 seconds into a second-period power play. Sterling, who got a Mohawk after CC was swept by No. 2 Minnesota in its last series, has gone 285 minutes without scoring. His last goal came Jan. 13 in the first period of a 3-2 loss to No. 4 Wisconsin. He has 99 career goals. “I could care less about the 100th goal. It doesn’t matter to me,” said Sterling, whose 22 goals lead the country. “It’s frustrating when you want to contribute to your team and you can’t.” The Tigers couldn’t generate much of a rhythm after right wing Joey Crabb’s powerplay goal put them ahead 1-0 less than three minutes into the game. Center Jonathan Toews helped North Dakota draw even midway through the first period when he beat Zaba low to the glove side, and Fighting Sioux goaltender Jordan Parise (13-5-1) discovered his stride. North Dakota took the lead for good on right wing T.J. Oshie’s power-play goal with less than four minutes left in the first period and killed all four of CC’s power-play chances after Crabb scored on the man-advantage. Like Sterling, left wing Aaron Slattengren took a penalty while the Tigers were on the power play. Slattengren was whistled for holding the stick 55 seconds into a power play in the second period. “We can’t afford to do that,” Owens said. “It frustrates the bench and it hurts us.” Stokke said he didn’t have a beat on Fabian’s shot as he skated backward into the slot. “I just tried to find my guy and when I turned and looked, (Fabian) was shooting and (the puck) went right off my shin pad and into the net,” Stokke said. “That’s kind of the way our bounces are going right now.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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