Men’s Hockey Suffers First Road Loss

Jaime Heilbron

Last weekend, the Colgate men’s hockey team visited one of the toughest teams they will face this year in the No. 12 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Riverhawks. In front of a capacity crowd at Paul Tsongas Arena, the Riverhawks defeated the Raiders by a score of 5-3. First-year Christian Long and junior François Brisebois scored their second goals of the season, while first-year Robbie Bourdon scored his first career goal. Sophomore goaltender Alex Evin stopped 30 out of 35 shots and Colgate’s record fell to 1-2-2.

“I think that all of our first-year players will continue to improve as the season progresses,” senior co-captain David McIntyre said. “This will be important to our team success as each of them has large roles on the team this year. I know they will continue to get better and contribute in big ways.”

The Riverhawks dominated the first few minutes of Friday night’s game. They came out flying, surprising the Raiders with their intensity. They peppered Evin with shots throughout the first four minutes until they scored at the 4:18 mark on the power play. The UMass-Lowell goal seemed to wake Colgate up. Down 1-0, the boys from Hamilton took control of the game. It was now the Raiders who had their opponents against the ropes. Therefore, it came as no suprise when Long scored at the 7:09 mark assisted by linemates sophomore Matt Firman and senior Adam Corrin. It was Corrin’s first point since he transferred from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Throughout the rest of the period, Colgate continued controlling the puck and creating scoring opportunities but failed to shoot the puck on goal.

The Raiders owned the second period from start to end. It was their best period in the young season due to their ability to impose their style of play and take advantage of scoring chances. From the initial puck drop, Colgate played with renewed intensity, fighting hard to equalize the game. Their efforts were rewarded shortly before the four-minute mark when sophomore forward Austin Smith found Brisebois with a magnificent pass from the neutral zone. Brisebois then proceeded to put the biscuit in the basket after catching his own rebound to knot the game at two. The goal boosted the Raiders’ energy as they proceeded to best UMass-Lowell in every aspect of the game. At the 14:53 mark of the period, Colgate finally took the lead when first-year Thomas Larkin picked up his third assist of the year, setting up Bourdon on a breakaway to go ahead on the scoreboard 3-2.

The final period of the game started in similar fashion to its predecessor. The Raiders continued their control of the puck and had the hosts completely rattled. All seemed to be going well for the Raiders until the 9:06 mark of the period when they were called for a penalty. A minute and 32 seconds into the power play, the Riverhawks capitalized on their man advantage tying the game at three. From then on, the tied had turned and three minutes of hell had started for the Raiders. Less than three minutes later, at the 13:10 mark, there was a controversial event, UMass-Lowell scored a controversial goal that went under review, but the goal stood. The Riverhawks took a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish. 33 seconds later the hosts scored an insurance goal to make the score 5-3 in their favor.

“We are just making small mistakes that are putting a negative twist on the ultimate outcome,” McIntyre said. “If we consistently work hard in practice, particularly making sure that we are doing the little things right, I think fans will see a Colgate hockey team that plays a complete and smart 60-minute game.”

Colgate tried hard throughout the last few minutes of the period, but was unable to decipher its opponent’s defense and the Raiders were forced to return home empty handed after a heartbreaking 5-3 loss.

The Raiders also faced the United States Under-18 National Team last Sunday and lost 4-1, with McIntyre scoring the lone goal. Colgate outshot the Under-18 team 30-19.

This upcoming weekend Colgate will have a set of must-win games before ECAC Hockey play begins. The Raiders will play host to Army on Friday night and to Niagara University on Halloween night. This will be the second time the Raiders face the team from Western New York, as Niagara and Colgate skated to a 4-4 tie three weeks ago on their season opener.

“Every game is crucial, but especially now since ECAC Hockey play starts next weekend,” McIntyre said. “We need to make sure we prepare and use this last weekend to sort the minor details and kinks out so that we are fully ready to hit the ice and be productive in the ECAC standings this year. We are planning on bringing a ton of intensity, working smart, and having some fun. I think we will like the results if these three things are accomplished.”

Friday’s game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start, while Saturday’s will begin at 8 p.m. These games will be the first two of a four-game home stand for the Raiders.