GREEN BAY, Wis. - In the NCAA Tournament, one blistering period cannot negate two lackluster ones. Colorado College learned the hard way Saturday afternoon. And the careers of six seniors, including Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling, came to an ungraceful end. Defenseman Jon Gleed capped Cornell’s frenzied comeback with the game-winning goal 9:20 into the third period. That capped the eighth-seeded Big Red’s comeback from a two-goal deficit to beat No. 10 CC 3-2 in an NCAA Midwest Regional first-round game before an announced crowd of 7,859 at the Resch Center. The Big Red (22-8-4) will play top-seeded Wisconsin, a 4-0 winner over No. 16 seed Bemidji State, in the Midwest Regional final at 3 p.m. today for the right to advance to the Frozen Four. The Tigers, who made the Frozen Four last season, finished 24-16-2, including a 7-10-1 stretch to end the season. The way in which CC lost epitomizes a season filled with inconsistency and, perhaps more telling, joyous highs followed by bitter lows. Everything went CC’s way the first period, when the Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead on power-play goals from defensemen Brian Salcido and Jack Hillen. Goaltender Matt Zaba (20-14-2) faced only one shot, thanks to help from defensemen who set the tone with crushing hits and forwards who controlled the puck. Cornell came to life in the second period, and CC played flat-footed in the defensive zone and heavy-legged in the offensive zone. Left wing Topher Scott’s power-play goal pulled Cornell within 2-1 at 16:44 of the second period. Left wing Matt Moulson evened the score less than five minutes into the third after he stole the puck from Salcido behind the net. On the game-winner, Gleed muscled a shot around Salcido in the slot, and Zaba could not get his stick on the puck before it whizzed over his right shoulder. It was Gleed’s first goal of the season. “They wore us down with their size, and we fatigued a little bit,” CC coach Scott Owens, said. “It’s very disappointing. I feel bad for the seniors, who deserved a better fate.” The Tigers managed only three power-play chances, none in the second or third periods. Sertich and Sterling, who are top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award that Sertich won last season as college hockey’s best player, had one shot apiece. Owens said he should have played the fourth line more down the stretch in an attempt to capitalize on the “decent jump” center Brandon Polich provided. That alone might not have been enough to rattle Cornell goaltender David McKee, who hardly was challenged in the second period in part because CC committed three penalties. McKee (22-8-4) stopped 20 shots. “We wanted to get in the corners and use our speed,” said Sterling, who finished with 108 career goals, the third-most in CC history and four shy of Ron Hartwell’s school record. “It worked in the first (period). It was our effort that didn’t keep up the whole game.” Said Sertich: “Our power play was working, and we were taking advantage of those opportunities. But we ran out of gas.” Zaba said Cornell “worked for their breaks,” including Gleed’s game-winner. He was hugging the right post when Gleed scored after right wing Raymond Sawada dug the puck away from the boards behind the net. “I’m not sure how that guy was open or what exactly happened,” said Zaba, who made 20 saves. “It was just a breakdown.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or email@example.com SATURDAY’S SCORES NORTHEAST REGIONAL - Boston College 5, Boston University 0 EAST REGIONAL - Michigan State 1, New Hampshire 0 c Maine 6, Harvard 1 MIDWEST REGIONAL - Wisconsin 4, Bemidji State 0 c Cornell 3, Colorado College 2 WEST REGIONAL - North Dakota 5, Holy Cross 2
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