CC Hockey Notes: Tigers battle challenging stretch

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ANCHORAGE – Native son William Rapuzzi’s return to Sullivan Arena was a special one.

The Colorado College freshman recorded his first college hat trick, all on the power play, to lead the No. 8 Tigers to a 6-1 road win in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game played before about 1,500 fans Friday night.

“We had good jump tonight. We played a young lineup and guys responded,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said in a telephone interview. “Rapuzzi had three and could have had two more. He was quick and shot the puck well.”

On Wednesday, the 20-year-old said it was his first time playing in the arena since he was a 15-year-old high schooler yet to leave town to play juniors.

Five of his nine goals have come against the Seawolves (8-14-1, 6-12-1).

The Colorado College special teams lived up to their name for the first time in a while.

The Tigers broke out of a nine-game slump on the power play (4-for-49, 8.2 percent) that included a 1-of-24 stretch over the past four contests with four power play goals Friday night.

“The movement was good and the guys away from the puck were finding the seams,” Owens said. “We moved it as well as we’ve moved it (all year).”

The Tigers recorded shorthanded goals by Bill Sweatt and Mike Testwuide, who also had a power play score.

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Sweatt is now the 72nd Tiger to record 100 or more points in his Colorado College career.

“It was a nice one to remember it by,” Owens said. “A shorthanded breakaway with a nice move and he buried it. It was nice to see him get that because he’s been playing well. He’s skating really well and playing a lot of minutes.”

Sophomore defenseman Gabe Guentzel recorded assists on the first three goals for his first college playmaker.

“All in all it was a good win for the whole team,” Owens said

The Tigers (14-8-3, 10-6-3 WCHA) were reminded that they cannot afford a letdown similar to the November home series against Anchorage. CC cruised to a 5-0 win Friday then lost 3-2 in overtime Saturday.

“(Saturday) will be a battle,” Owens said. “I’m happy with how the boys handled themselves (Friday).”.

Senior Kris Fredheim (illness) and junior Stephen Schultz (upper body injury sustained Wednesday) traveled but were held out. It was the first time CC played eight freshmen and four sophomores this year. Senior reserve Dan Quilico may see ice time Saturday, Owens added.

CC remains third in the league, one point behind second-place Denver (14-5-4, 10-3-4) and two behind league-leading Minnesota-Duluth (16-8-1, 12-5-1). CC is one point ahead of fourth-place St. Cloud (15-7-3, 10-5-2), 4-3 winners over Minnesota, and two ahead of fifth-place Wisconsin (13-6-4, 9-5-3), which tied Denver 3-3.

Bemidji State downed Duluth 4-1 and Cornell bested North Dakota 1-0 in nonconference play.

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