COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Thanks to some offensive fireworks from a pair of veteran defensemen, Colorado College officially opened its 2011-12 season with a bang on Friday.
Gabe Guentzel and Mike Boivin each struck for a goal, while Boivin also set up the game winner by Jaden Schwartz, leading CC to a 3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory over Bemidji State University at the World Arena.
The teams meet in a rematch on Saturday as the Tigers take aim at a homecoming weekend sweep.
Junior netminder Joe Howe backstopped Friday's triumph with 25 saves, allowing only a rebound tally by BSU freshman Mitch Cain that tied the contest at 1-1 with 6:41 elapsed in the second period.
Bemidji State's Dan Bakala, a senior, also finished with 25 stops at the opposite end.
The teams struggled through a scoreless first period before senior alternate captain Guentzel picked off an errant Beavers pass in the neutral zone, carried across the blue line and blasted a 30-foot slap shot that beat Bakala low on the glove side just 25 seconds into the middle frame.
Bemidji State's fourth line answered at 6:41 of the period when Cain pounced on a loose puck in the slot after Howe stop a close-in attempt from the right side by Brance Orban.
Schwartz put CC ahead to stay eight minutes later, at the 14:40 mark, after corralling Boivin's feed from the high slot. The sophomore left winger, stationed in the right faceoff circle, turned quickly and pulled Bakala out of position before firing high into the far corner of the cage.
The red lighters by Guentzel and Schwartz both came with the teams skating four-on-four. Sophomore defensman Eamonn McDermott also assisted on Schwartz's.
Boivin provided a little breathing room at 5:45 of the third period after Dakota Eveland and William Rapuzzi head-manned the puck to him near center ice. The junior defenseman entered the zone, cut to his left against the flow of traffic and lifted a backhand from the inner edge of the circle. Bakala got a glove on the shot, but the puck fluttered behind him to give Colorado College its 3-1 cushion.
The goal was the fifth of Boivin's career as a Tiger.