Colorado College senior Scott Winkler finished off a strong November with an exclamation point on Friday night.
The senior center from Asker, Norway, recorded two goals and two assists to power No. 18 Colorado College past No. 7 North Dakota 5-3 before an announced crowd of 6,695 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena.
Winkler, who surpassed his career high already with 10 goals, scored his second goal on a long rebound for a 5-2 lead only 20 seconds after North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula had trimmed the Tigers lead to 4-2 with 7:18 remaining. Winkler, a Dallas Stars draft pick, is only one goal from doubling his career scoring total (11 goals, including seven as a junior) from the previous three seasons. He recorded 14 points (seven goals) in November.
“It’s feeling stronger — working out in the summer; older — more responsibility; and you are being put out there more in key situations,” Winkler said. “It is kind of a combination of those three.”
CC senior goalie Joe Howe performed well, making 44 saves, including matching a season high for one period with 16 saves in the first for the Tigers (8-6-1, 5-2 WCHA). Caggiula scored his second of the period with 1:05 left for the final margin.
“Joe Howe was outstanding,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “He set the tone right away with some big saves early. It was a big league win for us against a good opponent.”
The key was a better defensive effort by the Tigers, which gave up 47 shots on goal Friday after allowing 97 last weekend. Giving up 47 made Owens want to review the game tape before commenting, but Howe was convinced.
“Definitely,” Howe said. “[North Dakota] threw a lot of rubber on net because they knew we had given up a lot of shots and goals last weekend. Our forwards really stepped up and blocked shots. Sometimes they would make three or four in a row at the end of a shift, which is great support for a goalie to have.”
“We played a good hockey game,” UND coach Dave Hakstol told the Grand Forks Herald. “We did a lot of good things from start to finish. We did most of the things you want to do on the road. Unfortunately, we gave up two or three team type of defensive goals that came back to haunt us. It was one of those kind of nights.
“We did a lot of things right in terms of puck possession, opportunities and pucks to the net. At the end of the day, we played a good hockey game — probably our best in the last three weeks. We have to come back tomorrow night and do a lot of the same exact things we did tonight, do whatever it takes to tighten up and make sure we get a win.”
CC senior captain William Rapuzzi banged in a rebound early in the third period after Winkler’s attempt down low was stopped by North Dakota junior goalie Clarke Saunders to make it 3-1. Winkler later added a wrap-around goal to make it 4-1 with 8:15 left in the game for the eventual game-winning goal against North Dakota (6-5-2, 3-2-2 WCHA).
CC junior Alexander Krushelnyski collected a loose puck along the boards and sent a pass in front to Winkler, whose short-range attempt ended up being a rebound for Rapuzzi, who was unmarked in the UND zone and scored with 18:57 left in the third.
Krushelnyski scored on a backhander a moment after he initially mishandled a crossing pass from Winkler to put Colorado College ahead 2-1 less than three minutes after North Dakota had tied the game. Krushelnyski finished with a goal and three assists, a career high.
“I feel like we have kind of been finding each other more and more as the season goes on,” Winkler said. “I knew we would keep building together as a line.”
Winkler’s crossing pass from along the boards went to Krushelnyski, who was covered by North Dakota defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. The CC junior skated toward the corner from between the circles and flicked the puck on net, perhaps using Schmaltz as a screen to beat Saunders high glove side.
CC came close to pulling away in the second period with Mike Boivin sending one shot off the crossbar with 5:04 left in the second and another power-play shot by the senior blue-liner deflecting off the right post after hitting a UND defender in front with 2:43 remaining.
North Dakota senior Joe Gleason scored his second career goal, both coming at World Arena, to tie the game at 1-1. His shot from the point came after UND won yet another faceoff with 13:49 left in the second.
UND senior Corban Knight won the draw cleanly to set up Gleason’s shot through traffic that clanged in off the right post past Howe’s glove.
CC freshman Jared Hanson fired a hard shot just inside the far corner, blowing past Saunders’ glove to make it 1-0 CC with 12:25 left in the first period to capitalize on a three-on-one breakaway.
It was CC’s first 1-0 lead since Nov. 9 against Bemidji State and only the third time this season (15 games). It was Hanson’s second straight game with a goal since scoring his first for the Tigers against Yale last Saturday.