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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published November 29 2012

UND men's hockey opens series against high-scoring Colorado College

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Jaden Schwartz may be a first-round pick who played in the NHL before turning 20 years old.

But to the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team, he’s just Rylan’s brother.

That’s because Rylan Schwartz is the Colorado College player who has the history of burning UND, and he’s the guy everybody will have their eyes on this weekend in World Arena.

Schwartz has scored eight goals in the last three games against UND, including back-to-back hat tricks in games at Ralph Engelstad Arena a year ago.

“He put on a show,” UND defenseman Nick Mattson said. “He’s a really good player. They have some big-time firepower on that team, so we’re going to have to lock them down.”

Although Rylan lost his linemate and brother to the St. Louis Blues last season, it hasn’t affected his production in the least. Rylan has scored six goals and tallied 12 points in the team’s last five games.

Overall, Rylan has 17 points in 13 games, which ranks first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and fifth nationally.

“They have a lot of good offensive players and a couple of guys who have had big games against us,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “So, you always pay attention to that. Beyond that, quite honestly, we’re going to pay an awful lot of attention to our team. I feel that’s where we’re at right now.”

Schwartz has been centering Colorado College’s top line with Archie Skalbeck on the left wing and William Rapuzzi on the right wing. Both Skalbeck and Rapuzzi have reaped the rewards of playing with Schwartz.

Skalbeck has already doubled his production from last season, going from five points to 12. Rapuzzi tallied 15 points last season. He already has 17 this year.

They are the main reasons why Colorado College is the No. 3-scoring offense in the league this season (3.71 goals per game) and why the Tigers have the league’s top power play (24.4 percent).

“They score a lot of goals,” UND center Corban Knight said. “It’s going to be a challenging weekend for us. We have to make sure we’re tight defensively or else we might give up some goals. They always seem to play well at home.”

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Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald