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College Hockey:
Schwartz nets two as Colorado College edges Bemidji State

— Colorado College senior Rylan Schwartz found his scoring touch and junior goalie Josh Thorimbert bounced back from a tough opening period in a 3-2 win over Bemidji State on Friday night at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Thorimbert made seven saves in the second, including big ones with 13:29 left and another with 4:19 remaining, to help No. 19 CC take a one-goal edge after Schwartz recorded  his second goal of the night, and only his third this season, when he popped free in front of the Bemidji State net and backhanded the puck in for the eventual game-winner.

Thorimbert made an even bigger stop on a short-handed breakaway for BSU’s David Boehm, who tried to shoot between Thorimbert’s leg pads with 3:26 left in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association game. He also made a big stop in the final seconds. Thorimbert finished with 23 saves, 17 over the final two periods.

“Josh was really good in the second and third periods,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

Archie Skalbeck found Schwartz for the second time that night for the primary assist with 3:41 left in the second period for the 3-2 lead. It was Skalbeck’s first game at home game since joining the line at left wing with center Schwartz and captain William Rapuzzi.

“We made the switch at Cornell (two weeks ago) to give Rylan and Rapuzzi a little more speed on the other wing,” Owens said. “Archie worked hard and generated some chances and Rylan finished.”

Colorado College had its chances to clinch the win early, especially when a shot went wide of a wide-open net when Walsh was caught out of the crease trying to corral a loose puck with 18:51 left in the third.

Hard work behind the Bemidji State net sparked the Tigers to two goals in the first period.

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski controlled a 50/50 puck behind the BSU net and sent a diagonal pass out front to Charlie Taft, who shot low. His shot went off Beavers goalie Andrew Walsh’s left leg pad and ended up between the sophomore and the left post, where CC senior Scott Winkler poked the puck in to make it 2-1 with 4:45 left in the first period.

Schwartz opened the scoring when he took a pass from Skalbeck while in the corner and made a quick move to the front, from where he jammed the puck in between Walsh’s leg pads from the left post only 2:06 into the game.

“He scored by making a real strong move to the net,” Owens said. “That set the tone for the game.”

BSU’s Jordan George and Danny Mattson recorded goals for the Beavers to tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2, including Mattson’s power-play goal with only 1:42 left in the first period. BSU used its style of firing slap shots and pouncing on rebounds to its advantage.

“We had a lot of scoring chances,” Beavers coach Tom Serratore said. “The short-handed breakaway we had in the third period. We had two point-blank shots in the second, but their goalie stood tall. Their best player, Rylan Schwartz, came up big for them. I really like how he plays the game.”

For the Tigers, holding onto a one-goal lead for 20-plus minutes was important, especially when compared to the 5-4 overtime win at Wisconsin last Friday.

“They are really hard to play against,” Schwartz said. “It’s big for us that we managed to hold on to a one-goal lead instead of giving up a late one and having to fight back.”

The series resumes at 7:07 p.m. Mountain Saturday night.

“Our guys can hold their heads high,” Serratore said. “It was a good hockey game. Now we have to regroup and focus on getting out of here with some points.”

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