Rapuzzi Torments Hometown Team Again
Colorado College Closes in on NCAA Bid
by Justin Magill/CHN Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. When William Rapuzzi heads back to his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, he might not get a warm welcome.
In the WCHA Final Five quarterfinals, the Colorado College sophomore scored a goal and an assist as the Tigers defeated Alaska-Anchorage, 4-2, advancing to the semifinals against North Dakota.
This is not the first time Rapuzzi has tormented the team he grew up watching. In 10 career games against the Seawolves, Rapuzzi has 8 goals and 2 assists for 10 points.
“I think some of it is kind of a coincidence,” Rapuzzi said, “but maybe I get up a little more for those guys. I know a lot of them and skate a lot with them in the summer.”
When Rapuzzi does make his way back home for the summer, it gives him a little more firepower to work with while working out with his hometown friends.
“Definitely bragging rights throughout the year on the line,” he said.
Rupuzzi got Colorado College on the board with a tap-in power play goal 7 minutes, 30 seconds into the first period to get the Tigers going in what was a pretty quiet opening.
On the power play, planted near the Seawolves post, he simply tapped the puck into an open net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Just 9 minutes later, Tim Hall beat Alaska-Anchorage goalie Chris Kamal with a quick wrist shot. Hall was assisted by Rapuzzi, who recorded his fourth point of the season against the Seawolves.
“Most of it is just coincidence,” Rapuzzi reiterated. “Things just kind of happen to go in for me when we play them.”
If it is coincidence or common for the puck to find the net for Rapuzzi, that is not the case for defenseman Joe Marciano.
Coming into the WCHA Final Five, Marciano had only one goal on the season. He doubled that against Alaska-Anchorage with two goals, the final two for the Tigers.
His first came 4 minutes, 39 seconds into the second period, when he got a wrist shot towards the net that deflected off of Craig Parkinson’s skate, as he was trying to lift his foot out of the way to not redirect it.
With only 18 seconds left in the second, Marciano struck again with a dagger, another hard wrist shot that found the back of the net on Rob Gunderson, who replaced Kamal earlier in the period.
“Felt pretty good,” Marciano said. “Just got the puck through that was kind of the game plan for our D-core coming into tonight.
“Happened to get the first one. Shot it through the front of the net, happened to go off one of their guy’s, but a goal is a goal.”
Colorado College is a team that was on the bubble coming into the WCHA Final Five, but its NCAA bid seems a lot more secure now. It has been three years since the Tigers have been to St. Paul, let alone the NCAAs, so getting there was the first step.
“We haven’t been here in three years and it was a goal of ours at the beginning of the year,” Coach Scott Owens said.
The win provides a little bit of breathing room, but Owens is not banking his chances on what it says on paper just yet.
“Maybe with the staff there’s a small bit (of relief),” he said, “but we don’t know that for sure. Those things can trick you in the end to be honest with you.
“Bemidji’s still alive, Western Michigan is alive and Cornell and those teams there that have a big impact. We feel very satisfied in a sense that we have played pretty good hockey down the stretch and looking forward to tomorrow night’s challenge.”
One thing he is certain of is there would have been no more Tigers’ hockey if they would have been defeated tonight.
“If we would have lost, we would’ve been done,” Owens stated.
Friday's game will be just the 12th this season on an NHL sheet of ice for Colorado College, which takes on another physical team in the Sioux.
“All these teams this time of the year are going to play real tough,” Rapuzzi said. “Especially on the NHL sheet. Not a lot of room out there. We can play this type of game, too. When we hit, we are more effective.”