DULUTH, Minn. - Colorado College picked the perfect time to make Isaac Reichmuth look human. Reichmuth allowed three goals in the first two periods and his counterpart, Matt Zaba, didn’t disappoint in his return Friday night as No. 5 CC pummeled Minnesota Duluth 5-0 before an announced crowd of 4,542 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. It marked the first time Reichmuth, a senior, had lost in six starts against CC. He was the winner Dec. 10 when Minnesota Duluth topped CC 4-3 at World Arena. The Tigers, who have won five of six games, retained sole possession of fourth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and pulled within three points of third-place Denver, which lost to No. 10 North Dakota. CC can clinch home ice for a first-round series of the WCHA playoffs if it beats Minnesota Duluth at 6:07 tonight and St. Cloud State loses to Michigan Tech. CC is 22-12-1, 14-10-1 in the WCHA. Minnesota Duluth is 9-20-4, 6-16-3. Zaba (18-10-1) stopped 25 shots in his first game since Feb. 10 when he suffered a bruised right knee at St. Cloud State. The shutout was the seventh of Zaba’s career and the first for CC since Nov. 19 against Michigan Tech. Two of CC’s goals came on the power play — a first-period score by right wing Joey Crabb and a second-period score by freshman center Chad Rau that provided a 3-0 lead. Junior defenseman Brandon Straub had the game-winner two minutes into the first period on a rebound after Reichmuth (6-14-4) batted away Rau’s breakaway attempt. Straub’s third career goal was his first since his freshman season. The Tigers received third-period goals from right wing James Brannigan and senior defenseman Jesse Stokke, who was born in nearby Hermantown, Minn. The goal was the first of Stokke’s career. “It was a good road win,” CC coach Scott Owens said. “We put together a good 60 minutes, and we had a lot of different people contributing.” Balanced scoring is what Owens has sought all season. Rau’s hot streak — four goals and five assists in the past six games — gives CC a legitimate threat on the fourth line. And Crabb (12 goals in the past 17 games) has continued to sizzle, even though he’s separated from left wing Brett Sterling, the nation’s leading scorer with 25 goals. Outside of Brian Salcido and Lee Sweatt, CC’s defensemen had combined for two goals before Friday. Salcido and Sweatt are on the second power-play unit. “I couldn’t let this monkey stay on my back the rest of my life,” said Stokke, who hadn’t scored since he played in the U.S. Hockey League. “What a better place than to do it at home?” Zaba said he was eager to return. “It wasn’t very much fun sitting on the bench last weekend,” Zaba said. “I felt like I practiced hard all week. I felt I was prepared.” TODAY Colorado College (22-12-1, 14-10-1) at Minnesota Duluth (9-20-4, 6-16-3), 6:07 p.m., Adelphia 32, 1240 AM
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