It’s Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Bogdanich!

The men’s hockey team made a statement heading into the 2009 ECAC hockey playoffs. After tying Brown 3-3 on Friday night, the Raiders upset No.11 Yale 3-2 on Sunday after an overtime goal from senior forward Pietro Bogdanich.

“Sunday’s game was just a great college hockey game,” Head Coach Don Vaughan said. “Yale is one of the best teams in the country, and we went toe- to-toe with them. It was a great team effort.”

Colgate has now played 16 overtime games this season.

While the game did not mean much in regards to playoff seedings, it still had serious implications. The Raiders were seeking revenge against Yale, the Cleary Cup winner, after losing 5-4 in overtime to the Bulldogs last January. Furthermore, Colgate was looking to have momentum on their side as they headed into the ECAC Hockey playoffs. The Bulldogs were looking to strengthen their position in their search of a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The first period of the game was uneventful. The Bulldogs controlled the play throughout most of the period, but were unable to put anything past junior Charles Long. The Raiders too, were unable to put anything past Yale’s netminder Alec Richards. At the end of the period, Yale was outshooting ‘Gate 8-5.

In the second period of the game, the intensity increased. Colgate outshot Yale 9-3 in the period, but after two periods the game was still a scoreless tie.

Just like the second in comparison to the first, the third stanza raised the intensity level. 35 seconds into the period, the Bulldogs broke the scoreless tie to put themselves ahead 1-0. A little more than halfway through, at the 12:42 mark, the Raiders evened the score at one on a goal scored by senior captain Nick St. Pierre, who was assisted by sophomore forward Brian Day and junior forward David McIntyre. Less than three minutes later, Yale scored what was thought to be the last goal of the game. With less than two minutes left, however, McIntyre scored Colgate’s game-tying goal, assisted by Bogdanich to send the game to overtime.

In the overtime period, the game remained as intense. Both teams had several great scoring opportunities, but it was the Raiders who came through to take the victory. At the 1:19 mark, Bogdanich scored off assists by McIntyre and Day to give Colgate a decisive 3-2 victory. The Raiders, in the process, obtained sweet revenge for the loss against the Bulldogs in January.

The first period of Friday night’s game against Brown was completely dominated by Colgate. The Raiders kept the play in the Bears’ end throughout most of the period, completely overwhelming the hosts. It did not come as a surprise when senior assistant captain Tom Riley scored off from linemates Jason Williams and Nick Prockow at the 7:30 mark of the first period. Just 1:10 later, the Raiders struck again. This time it was first-year forward Austin Smith scoring his 13th of the season off assists from senior assistant captain Mark Anderson and junior forward Ethan Cox. Colgate went into the first intermission with a commanding 2-0 lead, and a 19-6 advantage in shots.

However, Gate’s momentum evaporated in the second stanza. Brown scored 40 seconds in to halve the deficit, and throughout the rest of the period, the Bears proceeded to dictate the play. However, Colgate still had several scoring chances, making it an entertaining back-and-forth game. The hosts, however, had the better opportunities and were backed by the exceptional play of their first-year goaltender Michael Clemente. Brown knotted the game at two at the 15:49 mark of the second period.

In the final stanza, Colgate seemed to regain control of the game and had the better scoring opportunities, but its efforts were consistently frustrated by Clemente, who Vaughan called the “difference.” At the 15:22 mark, though, senior Jason Fredricks slid the puck past Clemente to give the Raiders their second lead of the game. He was assisted by sophomore Brian Day and Prockow. Less than a minute later, however, Brown scored the final goal of the game. While the Raiders had several opportunities at the end of regulation and in overtime, neither team was able to take advantage, and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Next weekend, the 10th-seeded Raiders travel to Hamden, Connecticut to face the 7th-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats in a best-of-three series in the first tound of the ECAC Tournament.

“We know we face a tough opponent in Quinnipiac and that we will have to play our best,” Vaughan said. “Special teams will play an important part in the outcome. We need to execute better on our power play and play disciplined hockey. This time of year it always comes down to the little things.”

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday if necessary.