Crazy Eights: Women’s Hockey Extends Unbeaten Streak

Crazy Eights: Womens Hockey Extends Unbeaten Streak

The women’s hockey team refuses to lose. After tying Clarkson, the Raiders defeated St. Lawrence, the ECAC frontrunners and the fourth-ranked team in the nation. Colgate is unbeaten in its last eight games, and now stands in fourth place at 9-4-3 in the ECAC, just four points behind league-leading SLU with six games remaining in the regular season.

Clarkson opened up the scoring Friday night with a goal 12:03 into the first period. It was an important goal for the Golden Knights, as they were desperate for a quick start after losing two out of their last three league games. It would, however, be their lone goal of the game.

Clarkson had ample opportunities to add to its lead in the second period, out-shooting Colgate 14-7, but first-year goaltender Kimberly Sass was stellar between the pipes and kept the Raiders within striking distance. The Raiders had their share of chances as well, but failed to convert on five power-play opportunities in the period.

A pair of Clarkson penalties early in the third period gave the Raiders a two-man advantage, and this time they made the Golden Knights pay. Senior defenseman Clancy Todd’s shot was stopped, but junior forward Beth Rotenberg put the rebound into the back of the net for the game-tying goal 4:20 into the period. Sophomore forward Jessi Waters was credited with the second assist.

The rest of the game was dominated by the goaltenders as neither team was able to score again. Sass recorded 26 saves, while her counterpart, Lauren Dahm, stopped 33 Colgate shots.

“Playing Clarkson is always a challenge because there is never a lot of puck possession, so the chances come from quick transitions,” junior forward Marissa Dombovy said. “We were able to use the physical play and put a lot of pressure on them all over the ice.”

The 1-1 result marked the third consecutive tie between the teams. The draw ended Colgate’s six-game winning streak, but stretched its unbeaten streak to seven.

The Raiders welcomed league-leading St. Lawrence, 12-1-1 in the ECAC up until this point, to Hamilton for a matinee affair the following day. SLU was riding an impressive streak of its own, having won six consecutive games.

The Raiders opened the scoring 12:47 into the first period when junior forward Katie Stewart scored her 12th goal of the season. The goal was unassisted, as Stewart made a great effort to steal the puck behind the SLU goal and wrap a shot around the post for the tally.

Colgate doubled its lead midway through the second period. Beth Rotenberg gained possession of the puck and fired a pass to first-year defenseman Amanda Kirwan at the top of the slot. Kirwan then fired a shot from the blue line that eluded heavy traffic in front of the goaltender and found its way into the back of the net. Kirwan’s first collegiate goal was assisted by Todd and Rotenberg.

In the third period, SLU sliced the deficit to 2-1 early in the third period when a rebound evaded Sass and was slid into the goal. It was Sass’ lone hiccup, however, as she stopped 19 shots in the final period to propel the Raiders to victory. She made most of those stops during early SLU power plays, where she resembled Ken Dryden in the net as she made stop after stop. Junior forward Evan Minnick scored an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the crucial 3-1 win.

“We played with so much confidence,” Minnick said after the game. “We played together and stuck to our systems. Our mentality was simple: we will win. We were relentless and even though we were forced to kill off a ton of penalties, one being a 6-on-3, we knew that we could do it and that was all that mattered.”

Sass, who saved an amazing 42 shots in the game, was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season.

“The keys to the SLU game were to outwork them and work as a team,” senior forward and tri-captain Elin Brown said. “SLU can play individually when faced with adversity. We played as a team and everyone is playing their best right now.”

With only three regular season weekends remaining, every game is huge, and this weekend is no exception as the Raiders face Quinnipiac and Princeton.

“The key to beating Princeton is putting constant pressure on their defense,” Dombovy said. “If we can cause them to turn the puck over, we will be fine.”

Game times for the Raiders are 7 p.m. in Princeton Friday and 4 p.m. at Quinnipiac on Saturday.