Men’s Hockey Goes 0-1-1 in Catamount Cup

On Friday, January 2, the Colgate men’s hockey team faced the No. 13 University of Vermont Catamounts in the second semifinal game of the Catamount Cup. The Raiders fell 6-4, but came close to completing a spirited comeback after finding themselves down 6-1 early in the third period. The following afternoon Colgate tied the Ferris State Bulldogs 3-3 in the third-place game, but lost the ensuing shootout, 2-1. Vermont ended up winning the Cup after defeating St. Lawrence, 4-0 in the final.

The Vermont Catamounts completely owned the first period of the game, jumping to a commanding 3-0 lead in less than five minutes. Vermont drew first blood at the 10:08 mark of the first period on a power play goal. A little over four minutes later, at the 14:13 mark, they added their second goal of the night on an even-strength goal. Less than two minutes later, the Catamounts seemed to put the game away as they scored their second power play goal of the night to put them ahead 3-0. The Raiders were unable to generate any offense in the first period, as they were kept busy killing off penalties and defending their net from the Catamount onslaught. Vermont’s dominance was demonstrated in the shot count, which favored the hosts 12-3.

The second period of the game seemed to bring more of the same, as the Catamounts got on the board once again at the 9:10 mark to make it a 4-0 game. First-year forward Austin Smith, who was the ECAC Rookie of the Week for his Catamount Cup efforts, brought hope to the hearts of the Raider Nation when he cut the Catamount lead to 4-1 at the 10:24 mark on an unassisted short-handed goal. Vermont, however, squashed those hopes right away as just 40 seconds later when they scored a five-on-three power play goal, which proved to be the eventual game-winning goal. Colgate would go into the second intermission trailing 5-1 and being outshot 21-8.

After another Catamount goal gave Vermont a 6-1 lead, something seemed to change in the boys from Hamilton. They played with ferocity, firing on all cylinders. In the span of two minutes, Colgate scored three unanswered goals to make a legitimate comeback attempt. The first goal came at the 4:16 mark of the third period, when senior assistant captain Mark Anderson scored off assists from junior forward David McIntyre and Smith. Forty-two seconds later, McIntyre put the game within reach, scoring a goal off assists from Smith and junior forward Ethan Cox. Almost two minutes later, junior forward Jason Williams brought fear to the Catamounts’ hearts, as his goal brought the Raiders within two, assisted by senior captain Nick St. Pierre and senior defenseman Jason Fredricks. Although the Raiders had some a few more power plays and some decent chances on net, the game ended in a 6-4 win for Vermont.

Head Coach Don Vaughan commented on some of the positives and negatives from the game.

“We responded well after we got behind, but that is another concern. We put ourselves in that position because we were slow to get out of the gate.” Vaughan said. “Taking penalties early in games continues to be a problem. Hockey is a lot about momentum and putting a team on the power play early in games or periods hurts in that respect.”

The following afternoon, the Colgate Raiders faced the Ferris State Bulldogs in the consolation game of the tournament. In the first period, Colgate once again had a slow start and dug itself in a hole. The Bulldogs quickly took advantage of power play opportunities, drawing first blood at the 2:03 mark, and then adding a second goal less than six minutes later. Throughout the rest of the period, however, the game was played on both ends of the ice, with Ferris State having a slight advantage in shots. That does not mean that the Raiders left the period without settling into their style of play. At the 18:47 mark, McIntyre scored his eighth goal of the season off assists from senior forward Pietro Bogdanich and Smith. It was once again McIntyre who got the Raiders on the board 49 seconds later, as his goal knotted the game at two going into the first intermission.

The Bulldogs struck once again on a power play early in the second period to go ahead 3-2. Colgate would proceed to control the period, piling shot after shot on Bulldog goaltender Pat Nagle until one finally got through at the 15:13 mark off Brisebois’ stick. He was assisted by Williams and St. Pierre. The goal would prove to be the last goal of the game. The boys from Hamilton tried with all their might to come away with the win, outshooting their rivals in the combined third and overtime periods, but no goals were able to get through first-year goaltender Alex Evin or Nagle. The Raiders ended up outshooting Ferris State 35-34. The Bulldogs garnered third place honors in the Catamount Tournament after receiving shootout goals from Blair Riley and Aaron Lewicki.

Head Coach Don Vaughan demonstrated his pleasure with the team’s reunion with goal-scoring and his hopes of creating a well-balanced offensive as the second half of the season gets rolling.

“We scored some goals, but much of our offense is coming from two or three guys,” Vaughan said. “Clearly, we need to get more offensive production out of a few more players. That said there are several players who are close to breaking out offensively. Players like Jason Williams, Nicholas Prockow and Tom Riley are getting their chances and it is just a matter of time before the puck finds the net for them,” Vaughan finished.

Vaughan also provided some information on their next rival, Lake Superior State University. “LSSU is a very well balanced team that has a little of everything,” Vaughan said. “They have strength, skill, speed and toughness. We need to be ready to play with focus and intensity from the opening faceoff,” he said.

The Raiders will host Lake Superior State in a two-game series on Thursday, January 8 and Friday, January 9. Both games will start at 7:00 p.m. The last time a series between the two teams took place was in October 2005 when the Raiders tied 2-2 the first night and lost 3-2 the second night.