COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado College may have taken a big step on Friday toward reversing a trend that haunted its coaches, players and fans the previous two seasons.
Jeff Collett and Rylan Schwartz teamed up for a pair of shorthanded tallies just 2:21 apart early in the second period, sparking the Tigers to a 5-4 victory over Clarkson University in their 2012-13 opener at the World Arena.
For a team that gave up 11 goals during its own power play in each of the last two campaigns, it was a sweet turnaround.
“We've really been working hard on that in practice,” said Collett, who put CC ahead to stay at 3:28 of the middle frame after taking a backhand pass from Schwartz. “We're starting to get the pieces to fit and seeing things come together.”
Skating as a penalty-killing duo for the first time in their careers, the two forwards combined for five points in the triumph as Schwartz also assisted on an early even-strength goal by linemate Wiilliam Rapuzzi. Collett set up Schwartz's red lighter with 37 seconds left in a five-minute major to Andrew Hamburg.
Except for allowing Clarkson to nearly wipe out a 5-1 deficit with goals by Pat Megannety, Simon Bessette and Ben Sexton in the final period, head coach Scott Owens could find little to complain about.
“Hopefully it's a good omen – a sign of something positive to come,” he said after recording win No. 300 at the helm of his alma mater. “We just needed to be a little cleaner down the stretch. That's the only thing that was a little disappointing.”
Three of the visitors' goals, including one by Jarrett Burton that tied the game at 1-1 just 15 seconds before Hamburg's penalty was called, resulted directly from Colorado College turnovers.
Eleven different Tigers recorded at least one point in a contest that saw CC out-shoot the Golden Knights by a 33-25 margin. Charlie Taft and Archie Skalbeck also scored in the triumph.
Skalbeck's backhand from the slot, set up by defensemen Ian Young and Joe Marciano, proved to be the game winner at 2:03 of the third period. Taft, a sophomore, struck for the first goal of his collegiate career with 6:29 remaining in the second-period uprising.
Neither team converted on the power play. The Tigers went 0-for-3 with the man advantage whlle holding Clarkson to 0-for-4 including the five-minute major.
Junior goaltender Josh Thorimbert, who drew an assist on Taft's goal, finished with 21 saves. Cody Rosen and Greg Lewis, who relieved the injured Rosen midway through the last period, combined for 28 in a losing cause.