Men’s Hockey Losing Streak Ends; New One Begins

Jaime Heilbron

The Colgate men’s hockey team captured its first win in six games when it defeated Clarkson 3-1 last Friday before dropping a 4-2 decision to St. Lawrence the following night.

The Raiders traveled to Cheel Arena on Friday, January 30 when they took the ice against Clarkson. The Raiders battled the Golden Knights during the 2007-2008 ECACHL Quarterfinals, when Colgate, then as the eighth-seeded team, upset first-seeded Clarkson. The Raiders continued their dominance at Cheel Arena on Friday when the Raiders knocked off Clarkson 3-1.

In the first period, the boys from Hamilton came out playing their best hockey in weeks. The pressure they applied in the first few minutes of the game paid off at the 1:58 mark of the period when first-year forward Matt Firman scored his first career goal off an assist from senior assistant captain Tom Riley and senior defenseman Jason Fredricks. Riley passed the puck to Firman from behind the net, who blasted it home. The Raiders kept bringing pressure throughout the remainder of the period, yet were unable to score. On the other side, junior goaltender Charles Long also had several spectacular saves to keep Clarkson scoreless.

The second period of the game was similar to the first. The Raiders were looking for the goal that would give them a comfortable lead while the Golden Knights were looking to tie the game. It was Clarkson who reached its goal first, scoring on a power play at the 14:19 mark of the period to tie the game at one after two entertaining periods of back-and-forth hockey.

Colgate came out at the beginning of the third with the same intensity and passion they had demonstrated in the first period, desperate for its first win in the last six games. At the 4:09 mark of the last frame, the Raiders’ prayers were finally answered, as sophomore forward Brian Day scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal off assists from junior forward David McIntyre and senior forward Pietro Bogdanich. The Raiders maintained control of the game throughout the rest of the period. Clarkson went into desperation mode, pulling their goaltender with a minute to play. With seven seconds left in the game, Day scored his second goal of the night, this time on an empty net, to seal the 3-1 win.

“The team followed the game plan,” senior defenseman and captain St. Pierre said. “Nobody tried to score without the help of a teammate. It was a great team effort. Every player did his job and that’s why we won. Long was very strong in net for us too. To win our next games though, we will need to be focused on our jobs and follow the game plan.”

The following night the Raiders traveled to Appleton Arena to face host St. Lawrence. In an electrifying first period, Colgate got on the board first on a power-play goal from Day, who was assisted by Bogdanich. Colgate kept crashing the St. Lawrence net for the rest of the first half of the period, yet were unable to put many shots on net. The momentum turned to the Skating Saints halfway through the first period when St. Lawrence scored two goals in 42 seconds to put themselves in front 2-1 at the 12:10 mark. Colgate kept pressuring St. Lawrence and playing with raw emotion, but came out empty handed and headed to the locker room trailing by a goal.

The second period was another hard-fought one. Though the Raiders arguably outplayed the Saints, they came out once again empty-handed. The lone goal of the period came with less than a minute left on a controversial play in which the puck hit the crossbar and went in. The goal gave St. Lawrence a 3-1 lead.

Colgate came out in the last frame determined to cut into the two-goal lead, but wound up digging themselves into a bigger hole. The Saints scored their fourth goal on first-year goaltender Alex Evin, who was then replaced by fellow first-year Bryan Bessette. Three minutes later, St. Pierre scored the Raiders’ second goal of the night, once again on the power play, assisted by McIntyre and junior forward Jason Williams. The Raiders would keep pressuring the Saints until the end of the game, but it was too little too late, and Colgate lost 4-2.

“We beat ourselves on Saturday,” St. Pierre said. “We played a great game, but we also gave them four goals. They didn’t work for their goals; we had mental lapses and they were able to capitalize on their chances. We need to be focused and ready to go for 60 minutes in order to win games.”

This coming weekend the Raiders will host No. 10 Princeton Tigers on Friday night and the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Saturday. The pucks drops at 7 p.m. on both nights at Starr Rink.