Seven days ago, Colorado College’s home series against Alaska Anchorage featured little buildup. The Tigers had newfound balance in shuffled line combinations. They had a healthy goaltender in Matt Zaba. And they had 26 players, including seven seniors. Now there’s plenty weekend — and the potential for No. 9 CC to lose home ice for the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. Zaba is out for today and questionable Saturday because of a bruised right knee he suffered last weekend. Junior walk-on Chris Kawano, who took the loss Saturday at St. Cloud State despite stopping 29 of 31 shots, will start in goal today. Senior left wing Aaron Slattengren won’t play the rest of the season after being kicked off the team and dismissed from school Monday for violating institutional academic policy. Slattengren’s departure forces coach Scott Owens to reshuffle the lines, and left wing Brett Sterling and center Marty Sertich might be linemates for the first time in four weeks. The distraction of losing Slattengren and uncertainty surrounding Zaba and the lines are not what Owens wanted for the homestretch. With six games left, CC is fifth in the WCHA, two points behind St. Cloud State and one point ahead of No. 12 North Dakota. The top five teams host the opening round of the WCHA playoffs. CC is 19-12-1, 11-10-1 in the WCHA. Alaska Anchorage is 6-21-3, 4-17-3. The teams play at World Arena at 7:37 tonight and 7:07 p.m. Saturday. Slattengren was one of CC’s more popular players. He had spent the past four seasons on the team, and Sertich, center Trevor Frischmon and right wing Joey Crabb are the only seniors who have played more games. Frischmon said he plans to “play that much harder and do that much better” for Slattengren. “He’s definitely still in the back of our minds,” said Frischmon, who lived with Slattengren for three seasons. “Even though he’s not at the rink and he’s not playing the games with us, guys are still going to think about him.” Said Sterling: “This team is a family. The fact that he can’t be there with us doesn’t mean he’s not part of our family. Whatever we do, we’re doing partly with him.” Owens hopes the overhauled lines — Sertich and Sterling are with right wing Derek Patrosso on the top line — create scoring chances across the board. “We need everybody to step up about 10 percent,” Owens said. Kawano said he’s eager to make his first career home start. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Kawano, an Aurora native. “I’ve just got to take advantage of it.” Ticket count As of 5 p.m. Thursday, about 500 tickets remained for tonight and about 250 tickets remained for Saturday’s game, CC assistant athletic director Scott Lowenberg said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or email@example.com TODAY Alaska Anchorage (6-21-3, 4-17-3 WCHA) at Colorado College (19-12-1, 11-10-1), 7:37 p.m., 1240 AM
Colorado Springs Gazette has disabled the comments for this article.