Had the second period not been so unkind to the visiting team on Friday, Colorado College's two freshman defensemen might have completely stolen the show in Grand Forks, N.D.
Unfortunately, no such luck.
First, the University of North Dakota snapped a 1-1 tie with a pair of tallies in less than minute. Then UND struck with six seconds left in that fateful middle frame, building a three-goal bulge in what became a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in the opener of their two-game National Collegiate Hockey Conference series at Engelstad Arena.
Colorado College, which got a first-period goal from rookie blue liner Gustav Olofsson, tried to rally with a pair by classmate Jaccob Slavin early in the third, but came up short while falling to 2-14-3 overall and 2-6-3-1 in league play.
The teams meet again at 7:07 p.m. CT Saturday.
Juniors Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych assisted on two goals apiece as CC defensemen accounted for seven points in Friday's loss.
North Dakota seized a 1-0 lead when Mark MacMillan took a chip pass from defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, cut in with a burst of speed from the right side and found the top shelf on senior netminder Josh Thorimbert's glove side just 7:36 into the nationally televised contest.
The Tigers drew even at 11:45 of the first period after Cody Bradley won a faceoff in the UND end. Olofsson's one-timer from the point found its way through traffic and past goaltender Zane Gothberg, with Stoykewych and right winger Charlie Taft picking up the assists.
But in a span of only 46 seconds early in the second frame, North Dakota regained command on tallies by Michael Parks at 4:49 and Bryn Chyzyk at 5:35. Chyzyk also set up the goal by Parks after a Colorado College turnover in its own end.
CC, held to four shots on goal in the opening period, tested Gothberg with 10 in the second but couldn't get anything past him. Then, with the clock ticking down, UND captain Dillon Simpson cashed in on another turnover with a rocket of his own from the point to make it 4-1.
Slavin scored at 2:21 and 4:52 of the third period, his second of the night and third of the season coming on a power play to pull the Tigers to within 4-3.
Parks, however, iced the triumph with his second goal of the game during a North Dakota power play with 2:17 left to play.
Thorimbert finished with 23 saves while Gothberg made 20.