Men’s Hockey Falters Against Harvard

The Colgate men’s hockey team did something that has been the norm throughout the past three weeks: the Raiders lost the Friday night game, but bounced back to win on Saturday. This weekend’s games against Harvard and Dartmouth were no exception, as the Raiders fell 3-2 to the Crimson before upsetting the 19th-ranked Big Green 1-0. Despite the split, the team still has a chance at obtaining home ice for the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

“We need to continue to believe in one another and hold each other accountable,” Head Coach Don Vaughan said. “As I’ve said before, winning in this league comes down to taking care of the little things; the game within the game. Our team continues to work hard and every guy in our locker room still believes we can win in the playoffs.”

The first five minutes of Friday night’s game at Harvard were the worst Colgate has played all season. The Raiders appeared confused, and it did not take long for the Crimson to take advantage. At the 1:30 mark of the period, Harvard drew first blood on a wraparound goal that caught first-year Bryan Bessette completely out of position. Forty-eight seconds later the hosts increased their lead to 2-0. It took some time, but the Raiders finally found their groove and took control of the game. If it were not for several spectacular saves by Crimson goaltender Ryan Carroll, Colgate may have at the least cut the lead to one.

In the second period, the boys from Hamilton came out playing with fury, determined to cut into Harvard’s 2-0 lead. The Raiders’ efforts finally paid off at the 14:01 mark when senior defenseman Jason Fredricks blasted a shot from the top of the left circle for his fourth goal of the season, assisted by sophomore forward Fran?cois Brisebois and junior forward Sean Carty. Harvard maintained its least heading into the last stanza, but had to deal with a hot Colgate team.

The Raiders maintained the momentum they held at the end of the second going into the third period. Therefore, it did not take long before the Raiders knotted things at two. At the 2:48 mark of the period, junior forward David McIntyre scored his 16th goal of the season, off assists from sophomore forward Brian Day and first-year defenseman Corbin McPherson. The Raiders were all over the Crimson for the next several minutes until a questionable and controversial call changed the momentum of the game. Midway through the third period, McPherson was called on a penalty for hitting after the whistle. Harvard went on the power play when it should have been at the worst a four-on-four power play. Thirty seconds later, the hosts capitalized on their one-man advantage and scored the game’s final goal to make the score 3-2. Throughout the rest of the period, Colgate did its best to tie the game, but the Crimson simply shut down and did not allow the Raiders to create dangerous chances. The boys from Hamilton left Cambridge without points to account for the tremendous effort they put forth.

“Two quick goals early in the game set us back but the team responded and found a way to tie the game,” Vaughan said. “Unfortunately two back-to-back penalties in the third period really hurt us. We killed the first one and they scored on the second one and that was the difference. It’s a game of inches. In this league there is a very fine line between winning and losing. A missed assignment, poor faceoff coverage, a grey area turnover or in this case an untimely penalty can be the difference.”

The following night the Raiders faced the only team to have shut them out in the year: No. 19 Dartmouth. In the first period, the Big Green completely dominated, outshot and outplayed the Raiders, yet were unable to put anything past junior Charles Long, who seemed to be back in his early season form. Both teams went into the locker room scoreless for the first intermission.

The second period was completely different from the first. The Big Green still dictated the tempo, yet Colgate seemed to have regained their confidence from the night before and applied constant pressure on Darmouth goalie Jody O’Neill. The Big Green created as many grade-A chances as Colgate, but neither team could break the scoreless tie. The Raiders outshot Dartmouth in the period 9-4.

In the third period, both teams came out determined to win. Colgate seemed to want it more, though, as the Raiders controlled the play from beginning to end. At the 6:19 mark, McIntyre scored top glove on a breakaway for his 17th goal of the year, assisted by senior Joe DeBello and Day to give Colgate the lead 1-0. It was the lone goal of the game. Both teams would have their chances at the end but were unable to decipher both goaltenders. Hence, the Raiders came away with a huge win, their first against a ranked opponent this year.

“We had a difficult close loss Friday and then we had to turn around 24 hours later and play the No.19 team in the country,” Vaughan said. “A lot of teams might have found it difficult to respond, but not this team. After a slow start, I was pleased with our energy and effort. Charles Long played a great game and David McIntyre scored a highlight-reel goal and it stood up. It was a great win for us and more proof that this team is more than capable of winning on any given night.”

This weekend Colgate will host Union on Friday and Rensselaer on Saturday. It will most likely be Colgate’s last two games at home this season, so come on out and support the Raiders at Starr Rink. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. on both nights.