Men’s Hockey Goes 1-0-1 in Florida College Classic

Jaime Heilbron

The Colgate men’s hockey team returned to its winning ways of October while participating in the Florida College Classic in Estero last weekend. Besides Colgate, the two-day tournament featured archrival No. 9/10 Cornell University, St. Cloud State and the University of Maine. Colgate defeated Maine, 3-2 in overtime after junior forward David McIntyre scored a goal with one second left in the extra session, while Cornell defeated St. Cloud State in regulation 3-2 as well, setting up the third match-up between Colgate and Cornell this season. In the final, the two ECAC schools battled to a 2-2 tie, which marked the second time that the Central New York teams played in a 2-2 game this season. Although the game went down in the record books as a tie, a shootout was held to determine the tournament champion, and the Big Red won that 2-0 to win the Florida College Classic.

Throughout the first period of the Maine game, the Black Bears thoroughly dominated and outplayed Colgate. The Raiders were barely able to create any offense as they were often too busy defending their side of the ice. Therefore, it came as no surprise when at the 8:48 mark of the period, Maine scored off the stick of sophomore forward Keif Orsini, assisted by sophomore forward Lem Randall and first-year Steve Abbott. A little over two minutes later, the Black Bears would add another goal as Randall scored off assists from first-year defenseman Ryan Hegarty and sophomore defenseman Mike Banwell. The period would end with Maine ahead by two goals and outshooting Colgate, 16-5.

The second period of the game, however, was completely different, as the boys from Hamilton seemed to be reenergized and inspired. Colgate came out firing from all cylinders, determined to obtain its first win since November 7, fifty days prior. It was Maine’s turn to be thoroughly outplayed, as the Raiders gave them no spaces and spent the majority of the time in the Black Bears? defensive zone. Colgate’s efforts finally came to fruition at the 7:53 mark of the period, when first-year forward Austin Smith scored his sixth goal of the year on a five-on-three power play. He was assisted by senior captain Nick St. Pierre and senior forward Pietro Bogdanich. Playing four-on-four hockey, the Raiders tied the game less than three minutes later when Smith scored his second goal of the night, assisted by McIntyre. Colgate kept on dominating the period, but was unable to capitalize on any other chances.

The third period was the tightest of the game. Neither team was able to score upon its opponent, as both goaltenders came up with amazing saves to keep their team’s championship hopes alive. The period was so evenly played that both teams ended with ten shots. The overtime period was similar to the third in which both teams created opportunities, but were unable to capitalize until the end. With eleven seconds left in the game, Austin Smith had a golden opportunity on a breakaway, yet Maine goaltender Scott Darling produced a spectacular save to keep Maine alive. Just when it seemed that the game was going to go down as a tie, and the finalist would be decided in a shootout, David McIntyre scored his second game-winning goal of the season with one second left on the clock.

Head Coach Don Vaughan expressed his content over breaking their nine-game winless streak and obtaining their first win in fifty days, which included a three-week break for exams.

“We were on break for twenty-one of those fifty days so it’s tough to win when we are not playing any games but I am happy for the guys,” Vaughan declared. “We have played well in a number of games leading up to this tournament but have not had the wins to show for it,” he said.

The following night Colgate faced their archrivals, the Cornell Big Red in the Championship Game. It was their 135th historical meeting and third this season. The first period of the game was one of the best the team has played this season. The Raiders came out once again firing from all cylinders determined on capturing the championship in front of a crowd filled mostly with Cornell fans. The first goal of the game came at the 10:34 mark of the first period when Smith scored his third goal of the tournament, assisted by McIntyre. The Raiders continued to put pressure on the Big Red’s junior goaltender Ben Scrivens. Six-and-a-half minutes later, Colgate would score a short-handed goal off Ethan Cox’s stick after the junior forward nicely evaded the opposing Cornell defenseman to create a breakaway opportunity. The score at the end of the period would be 2-0 in the Raiders’ favor.

The second period of the game saw Cornell apply more pressure on the Colgate end, as they were desperate to cut the two-goal lead that Colgate had taken in the first period. The Big Red cut the lead in half at the 6:48 mark when junior forward Blake Gallagher scored on the power play off assists by junior forward Colin Greening and senior forward Evan Barlow. Cornell would keep pressuring Colgate, but junior goaltender Charles Long kept saving shot after shot. On a bad bounce with a little over five minutes left in the period, Cornell managed to tie the game when senior captain Michael Kennedy scored, assisted by sophomore forwards Tyler Roeszler and Patrick Kennedy.

In the third period, both teams played hard, bent on deciding the game during regulation thus avoiding overtime and the shootout. Neither team prevailed, however, as both goaltenders proved to be impeccable barriers that would not budge. Colgate and Cornell created golden opportunities in the third period and overtime, yet were unable to score. In an intense and gritty defensive game, the Big Red outshot the Raiders, 20-16. Cornell won the championship 2-0 in the shootout after goals from Gallagher and Jared Seminoff.

Head Coach Don Vaughan was pleased with the team’s effort throughout the tournament. “Playing well, especially after a three week lay off and getting the win against Maine in a dramatic fashion and a good tie against Cornell will give us some confidence as we head into the second half of the season,” Vaughan said. “We will continue to do what we always do and that is focus on the process, work hard in practice and prepare for our next opponent.”