COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado College captain William Rapuzzi slammed the door shut by scoring two goals 6:30 apart and assisting on the final score during the third period to help the No. 19-ranked Tigers pull away for a 6-3 home win over Bemidji State.
The home win before 7,152 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena was the Tigers’ second league sweep in a row.
Rapuzzi’s two scores, one from a banged-in rebound and another off a nice crossing pass from junior Archie Skalbeck, made it 5-2 with 8:13 remaining.
Bemidji State’s Markus Gerbrandt scored with 1:28 left to make it close before Rapuzzi passed to an open Alexander Krushelnyski for the empty-netter, forgoing a chance at a hat trick, with 20.3 seconds left.
“I thought it showed good leadership,” Tigers’ coach Scott Owens said. “He could have gone for the hat trick, but instead threw it over for Krushelnyski. It is not a big thing, but it is something that everyone notices.”
“I knew if I passed it, that would end it,” said Rapuzzi, who finished with two goals and two assists to pace his line’s nine points, including three assists for Rylan Schwartz. “I never thought about the hat trick.”
Colorado College (7-3-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) is the only undefeated team in league play headed into its annual rivalry games with No. 3 Denver, fresh off a road sweep of Minnesota State, next weekend.
The game-clinching three-goal spurt started late in the second period when CC wing Andrew Hamburg redirected Jeff Collett’s shot to give the host Tigers a 3-2 lead. The goal, Hamburg’s fifth of the year, came with only 41.2 seconds left in the second period. It was the Phoenix senior’s first goal since popping off for four goals against Air Force last month.
“If that goal didn’t happen, it changes the complexion of the game,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore.
“That third goal was big,” Owens said. “It was a dirty goal which is something we have preached to hamburg. [BSU] threw everything at us in the third. [CC goalie] Joe Howe played well, especially in the third period.”
Bemidji State (2-3-1, 1-2-1), as it did in Friday’s 3-2 Tigers’ win, battled all game long.
BSU’s Aaron McLeod banged in a power-play goal following a flurry in front of the Colorado College net to tie the game at 2-2 with 15:09 left in the second period.
The Beavers broke through for their first third-period goal in league play this season to make it 5-3, but it was too little, too late against a Tigers’ defense that played well, especially between the pipes.
“They are very good defensively,” Serratore said. “They are very hard to come back against when they have a lead.”
Colorado College’s power play, which has gone 5-for-10 in league play, clicked for two goals against Bemidji State’s penalty kill, which was No. 3 (17-for-18) in Division I heading into Saturday’s game. CC is now 5-for-10 in league play so far this season while BSU slipped to a very good 18-for-21.
“Those weren’t breakdowns,” Serratore said. “One was a bang-bang play and the other was beating the other guy to a loose puck CC won the special-teams battle. In a league like the WCHA, that is the difference.”
Scott Winkler tracked down a rebound, spun and fired a low shot past BSU sophomore goalie Andrew Walsh with 6:34 left in the period to tie the game at 1-1 after an earlier goal by BSU freshman Cory Ward two minutes earlier.
CC defenseman Mike Boivin banged in a rebound off a shot by Rapuzzi a little more than two minutes later for the 2-1 lead headed into first intermission.
Boivin’s goal, his third of the year, exemplifies the balanced scoring the Tigers have enjoyed on their four-game winning streak.
“Earlier, we were talking about secondary scoring, now it is balanced scoring,” Owens said. “We had a couple guys who had off seasons last year who are now producing. We’re not surprised they’re scoring. There is a lot of unselfish play.”