A night after surrendering a heartbreaking game-deciding goal in the final two minutes, Colorado College’s hockey team rebounded with vigor at the World Arena.
Defensemen Mike Boivin and Peter Stoykewych were two of five players who scored, and Rylan Schwartz had three assists as the Tigers defeated Minnesota-Duluth 5-1 Saturday. It was just the fourth win for CC over the Bulldogs (10-11-3, 8-7-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) in the teams’ past 17 meetings (4-11-2).
“It’s what we needed,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “We had more jump, moved quicker and got to more pucks tonight, and I thought we played hungrier. I’m proud of the guys, I thought it was a real nice rebound from last night and I thought it was a good team win.”
Owens shuffled his lineup for Saturday’s game, including moving Charlie Taft to the first line and dropping captain William Rapuzzi to the third line. The top line finished with four points, and senior goalie Joe Howe stopped 40 shots as the Tigers improved to 10-14-2 and 7-10-1 in conference play.
CC players blocked 15 Bulldogs shots before they got to Howe, providing a phalanx-style wall that has been lacking much of the season. The one goal for Minnesota-Duluth was the least the Tigers allowed since shutting out Wisconsin 3-0 on Nov. 3.
“Joe (Howe) made some key saves early, was good the full 60 minutes and really gave us a good chance,” Owens said. “There were nine shots in the second period that were blocked (by players), and that’s huge. We felt good, but (the lead) was teetering.”
Stoykewych’s first career goal, on a rocket from just inside the blue line, put the Tigers up 2-1 5:01 into the second and served as the game-winner.
“It’s nice to contribute offensively once in a while,” Stoykewych said. “(This win) was huge for us. We felt like we were right at the point where we needed to be, and I think tonight we took a big step forward as a team.”
CC was then able to do what it couldn’t in each of its previous three games: take a two-goal lead.
Schwartz found Alexander Krushelnyski on the left wing with a choice set-up pass, and he lit the lamp for a 3-1 lead with 8:50 remaining in the period. Rapuzzi added his team-leading 13th goal 2:56 into the third period off a pass from Cody Bradley, and Bradley added his second goal of the year with 4:50 remaining.
“We were a little embarrassed about last night, and tonight we came out a little (peeved) and came out pretty strong,” Schwartz said. “What our record shows, it’s not very good, and to be a part of this tradition here, (losing) is not something we want to do.”
Boivin continued his offensive prowess by scoring his 11th goal 12:31 into the first period on a power play for a 1-0 advantage. Keegan Flaherty tied it 1-1.