Colorado College slammed the door in the third period and managed to keep it shut against the Western Collegiate Hockey Association leaders.
Tigers sophomore Charlie Taft scored 33 seconds into the period and scored the eventual game-winner with 5:52 remaining as CC knocked off No. 7 St. Cloud State 4-3 Friday night to pick up two valuable league points and extend its unbeaten streak to six games (3-0-3).
“The (Rylan) Schwartz line had not played that well but they stepped up right away in the third period and then they took it over,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.
Schwartz centers the No. 1 line with Taft and left wing Alexander Krushelnyski and all three factored into the three goals that pushed the Tigers (12-14-5, 9-10-4 WCHA) ahead 4-2 late in the final period.
Taft scored the eventual game-winner when he beat sophomore netminder Ryan Faragher high glove side off a cross-ice pass from Krushelnyski with 5:52 left in the third for a two-goal lead.
It was Taft’s second of the period and fifth this season and career after he scored 33 seconds into the third to tie the game at 2-2 off a pass from Schwartz to delight the 6,672 fans at World Arena.
“It’s pretty easy when you have guys like Schwartz and Krush setting you up,” said Taft, who had his first multi-goal college game. “It is a huge win for us.”
SCSU (18-12-1, 15-7-1 WCHA) was disappointed by its defensive performance.
"We needed to have a good defensive third period and we lost a puck battle 30 seconds in," coach Bob Motzko said. "They got some very easy goals on us. The game wasn't played correctly by us tonight."
"As soon as they tied it up, we got together and said that we've got to tighten up defensively and don't give up any scoring opportunities," Huskies freshman Jonny Brodzinski said. "We just fell apart defensively there in the third (period)."
Schwartz banged in his own rebound as he muscled his way through the Huskies’ defense and across the front of the St. Cloud State net to give Colorado College its first lead of the game, 3-2, with 15:33 left.
Brodzinski scored with Faragher out of the net for an extra attacker to make it 4-3 with 1:11 left.
“We have given up late goals to blow leads and when they scored we were a little concerned but we tightened things up defensively and held on,” Taft said.
CC senior goalie Joe Howe finished with 40 saves to improve to 8-7-4 on the season.
Colorado College fought back after falling behind on two St. Cloud State goals only 11 seconds apart. Junior Jeff Collett took a pass from the corner by freshman Peter Maric and forced the puck past SCSU’s Faragher to make it 2-1 midway through the first period.
It was Maric’s second assist of his career and second in three games.
Earlier, another defensive breakdown led to a damaging second goal for St. Cloud State only 11 seconds after the No. 7-ranked Huskies scored the opening goal, to make it 2-0.
“That woke us up,” Collett said.