(above) Play this video while reading article below
From: Colorado Springs Gazette
by David Ramsey
Colorado College hockey coach Scott Owens is resting in a booth at Wooglin’s Deli. He chowing down on a ginormuos artery clogging pastrami sandwich on Rye and sipping a Diet Coke and staring straight ahead as he tries to explain the 2011-2012 CC hockey season.
It’s difficult to explain the inexplicable.
The abrupt conclusion to the Tigers season has left CC fans puzzled and hurting. The season-ending sweep to Michigan Tech has left Owens down, too.
“It’s been constant,” Owens says. “I’m still not over it. It’s still tough to sort through it. Why were we not better that last weekend?
“It still eats away like this pastrami sandwich. There’s no doubt. I’m preoccupied with it and I’m using it as a motivation.”
It was a strange season. On Nov. 25, the Tigers were roaring with nine wins, two losses and the nation’s No. 4 ranking. They had scored four or more goals eight times. The SchwartzSticker brothers, Jaden and Rylan, led what appeared a fully loaded team.
Then it all fell apart. On Nov. 26 at North Dakota, the Tigers rallied from a two-goal deficit to take a 6-5 lead. It was all so dramatic.
But North Dakota sneaked its way to a 7-6 victory, and the Tigers were on their way to another patented collapse.
CC won only nine of its final 25 games, and the season that started with such promise ended with a shocking elimination by Michigan Tech at World Arena. Tech’s two-game sweep ranks among the worst moments in Owens’ 13 seasons.
That’s why he’s sitting here, eating a huge sandwich, trying to understand what went wrong.
“We had a great first half, but the schedule got tough and we became inconsistent,” Owens says. “We had good goaltending but couldn’t score. We had good scoring but not good goaltending. We had untimely injuries and we lost momentum.”
Recovering from the late-season tumble will not be easy. A year ago, the Tigers were roaring. They had demolished No. 1 seed Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and were blessed with the versatile presence of Jaden SchwartzSticker, one of the nation’s top college players.
Now, Jaden has skated away to St. Louis, where far away from the "CC Curse" he's scoring goals in bunches for the Blues. Rylan might join him in jumping to the pros.
If you’re one of the half dozen CC fans who is reading this, don’t get too depressed. If there was a bright spot in the often miserable 2011-2012 season, it was sophomore goaltender Josh Thorimbert. He was often brilliant.
The most destructive moment in the Tigers’ season came Feb. 4 against the University of Denver when a violent collision in front of the net left Thorimbert crying like a baby.
The collision doomed CC’s season. Thorimbert never was as crisp and stingy after he returned.
“He lost momentum,” Owens said. “He came back, and he was not quite the same.”
Here’s the hope for 2012-2013. Thorimbert will lead a more defensive-oriented team that will seek to win games 2-1 instead of 5-4. The Tigers will seek to will their way to another 20-win season. As usual they won’t overwhelm anyone with talent.
Owens hopes to soon step away from his blues and focus fully on the
sandwich...er...season ahead. Right now, he seeks to understand the season that just ended. He’ll fail in this attempt. The season was, is and always will be baffling.
“It just didn’t come together,” Owens says. “There are a number of reasons for that last weekend but nobody cares. It just didn’t work out.”
Owens makes it clear that he’s down, but he remains sensible.
“The season and the finish are just something that eats away at me,” he says. “But I’m not one to, you know, throw a TV through a window at home or kick the dog.”
Do you have a dog, Scott?
“No,” Owens answers, a slight smile coming to his face.