Rylan Schwartz and Josh Thorimbert were among a number of Colorado College players in the right place at the right time on Friday. And, as a result, CC remains the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's only undefeated, untied team in league play this season.
Schwartz struck for a pair of goals, including the game winner at 16:19 of the second period, while junior netminder Thorimbert made 23 saves to lead the Tigers to a 3-2 victory over Bemidji State University in the opener of their two-game WCHA series at the World Arena.
With the triumph, their third straight, they improved to 6-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the early conference standings heading into Saturday's 7:07 p.m. rematch.
Bemidji State dropped to 2-2-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the WCHA.
Senior forward Scott Winkler also scored for CC, which never trailed in the contest but saw the Beavers pull even twice in the first 20 minutes of play.
Schwartz staked Colorado College to a quick lead with some excellent hustle on his first shift, back-checking inside BSU blue line to cause a turnover before skating out of the corner and beating Beavers goaltender Andrew Walsh with just 2:06 elapsed.
The 1-0 advantage didn't last long, as Jordan George ripped a wrist shot from the slot past Thorimbert at 6:24 to tie the game. When Bemidji State's Danny Mattson answered with a power-play goal late in the period, only 3:03 after Winkler's red lighter off Charlie Taft's rebound at 15:15, the teams headed into the first intermission knotted at 2-2.
It stayed that way until Schwatz took a long outlet pass from sophomore defenseman Ian Young late in the middle frame, forwarded the puck to junior linemate Archie Skalbeck, then grabbed a return feed before backhanding a shot past Walsh to put the Tigers ahead to stay.
Skalbeck assisted on both goals by Schwartz.
Thorimbert stopped all 17 shots he faced in the final 40 minutes, including a shorthanded breakaway by BSU's David Boehm with 3:36 left to play. He also made a pair of huge point-blank saves in the second period, first on Mattson during another Beavers power play about 6:30 into the stanza then on Brance Orban after a CC turnover with 4:20 remaining.
Walsh finished with 23 saves for the visitors.