DENVER • For the second straight night, Colorado College dug itself a hole it could not climb out of against instate rival Denver.
The No. 2 Pioneers scored three goals in the first and third periods en route to a 6-2 win over the No. 14 Tigers at Magness Arena on Saturday night. Colorado Springs native Chris Knowlton scored twice for DU (9-1, 7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association), which pushed its winning streak to five games and swept CC in a weekend series for the first time since 2005.
CC (7-5, 4-2) trailed 3-0 in the first before fighting back to 3-2 heading into the third period, but the Pioneers were too much down the stretch.
“They’re a good team, and they kicked us pretty good tonight,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “They stormed us pretty good early, which we thought they’d do, but we had a real good second period and fought our way back. Usually, we weather (the storm) a little better, but ...”
The Tigers trailed 3-2 with two minutes left in the second period after William Rapuzzi scored a power-play goal, but the game shifted heavily in Denver’s favor just 1:10 later. Scott Winkler, who scored his team-leading seventh goal with 2:25 remaining in the first to put the Tigers on the board, was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head when he checked Knowlton hard into the boards at the 19:10 mark.
Knowlton hit his head and came up woozy, stumbling to the Denver bench as referees made sure Winkler left the ice and headed to the locker room. The penalty left the Tigers short-handed for the next five minutes, and the Pioneers struck just 31 seconds into the third when Knowlton scored a power-play goal.
Quentin Shore scored 5:01 into the final period, and Knowlton added his second goal of the night with 2:29 remaining to seal the win.
CC was already without the services of starting center Rylan Schwartz, who was serving a one-game suspension for fighting at the end of Friday night’s 6-5 loss. Losing Winkler for the final 20:50 on top of that was just too much for the Tigers.
“We were hoping we could get through that 4:11 (in the third) and kill it, but they got a goal there and got the momentum off it,” Owens said. “The combination of that five minutes, losing the momentum and having Winkler and Schwartz out of the lineup, it was just hard to do much. They just started gaining momentum and confidence, and we started getting tired and turning it over.”
Denver got off to a hot start again, building a 3-0 lead in the game’s first 17:21. CC responded quickly to the third goal just 14 seconds later, with Winkler taking an Archie Skalbeck pass from behind the net and putting it past DU goalie Sam Brittain, who had left the net to play the puck. Rapuzzi’s lamp-lighter made it a one-goal game, but the Winkler penalty deflated the Tigers’ sails.
“I made a mistake on the penalty kill that probably led to that (fourth) goal,” Rapuzzi said. “We were still in the game and needed to kill that off. We need to get off to better starts and be better focused to start games.”