This was much more like it's supposed to be at the World Arena.
Colorado College, plagued by a profusion of one-goal losses the last two months, didn't take any chances on Saturday.
CC snapped a 1-1 tie with unanswered tallies in the second period by sophomore defenseman Peter Stoykewych and junior left wing Alexander Krushelnyski, were rewarded with solid goaltending from senior Joe Howe, and cruised to a 5-1 victory over the University of Minnesota Duluth in the finale of their two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.
Mike Boivin, William Rapuzzi and Cody Bradley also scored for the Tigers, who salvaged a weekend split with UMD while winning for just the third time in their last 16 outings. They remain ninth in the WCHA standings, but not exactly mired there. Now 10-14-2 overall for the season and 7-10-1 in league play, with 15 points, they're only seven points out of first place in the ever-tightening race.
The Bulldogs, who would have climbed into second with a victory, fell to 10-11-3 overall and 8-7-3 in the conference. They dropped to sixth place with the loss, four points ahead of Colorado College and are just three behind league leaders Minnesota and St. Cloud State.
Howe was busy for the second consecutive night, steering away 40 of 41 Duluth shots. The only goal he gave up, credited to UMD senior winger Keegan Flaherty at 17:57 of the first period, sailed past his outstretched glove after deflecting off one of his own teammates in front of the net.
Flaherty's red lighter knotted the contest at 1-1.
But senior center Rylan Schwartz, who picked up the secondary assist on senior defenseman Boivin's power-play goal at 12:31 of the opening frame, set up Stoykewych and Krushelnyski 6:09 apart in the second as the Tigers seized command despite being out-shot by a 16-13 margin.
The three assists lifted Schwartz to within one point of the WCHA scoring lead, with 25 (8g,17a) in league play. He now has 33 overall (11g,22a) this campaign and 139 (50g,89a) for his collegiate career.
The game winner by Stoykewych, off a low wrist shot from just inside the blue line that found its way through traffic in the slot at 5:01 of the middle stanza, was his first goal as a Tiger.
Krushelnyski added a pair of assists for CC, while freshmen forwards Bradley and Hunter Fejes set up senior captain Rapuzzi's team-leading 13th goal of the season early in the third period. Bradley capped the scoring with 4:50 left in the game.