Last week, the Colgate men’s hockey team split a two-game series with CCHA foe Lake Superior State University. The Raiders won the first contest 5-4 in overtime, but dropped a 6-1 decision the following night.
On Thursday, January 8, Colgate faced the Lake Superior State Lakers for the first time in three years. At the beginning of the first period, both teams came out hesitant, cautiously studying each other and unwilling to take the initiative. The Lakers eventually started attacking the net protected by junior goaltender Charles Long. However, Colgate responded with an offensive attack of its own, putting great pressure on Lakers’ goaltender Pat Inglish. Therefore, it came as no surprise when at the 3:30 mark of the period while playing four-on-four hockey, first-year forward Austin Smith scored his tenth goal of the season which was assisted by junior forward David McIntyre. Thirteen minutes later, the Lakers knotted the game at one. The shot count for the period was even at 8-8.
The Raiders’ good play from the first period seemed to have vanished at the beginning of the second as Lake Superior quickly got ahead 1:38 into the period. Seven minutes later they would increase their lead to 3-1, putting Colgate in a tough position. A window of opportunity opened in the last two minutes of the period when the Raiders got a one-man advantage. The boys from Hamilton did not let it go to waste and cut their opponent’s lead when senior assistant captain Mark Anderson scored his first goal of the season, assisted by first-year defenseman Corbin McPherson and sophomore forward Brian Day at the 18:34 mark. This goal was a momentum changer as only twenty-one seconds later senior defenseman Jason Fredricks scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Smith and senior forward Pietro Bogdanich. Colgate outshot Lake Superior State 17-13 in the second period.
The momentum obtained at the end of the second period seemed to carry into the third. At the 5:34 mark of the last period, Fredricks scored his second goal of the night off assists by McIntyre and senior captain Nick St. Pierre. At the 8:56 mark the Raiders were penalized on a five-minute major, therefore providing a five-minute power play to the Lakers who did not let it go to waste. At the 10:55 mark of the period, Lake Superior scored what proved to be the last goal of regulation. Throughout the rest of the period, Colgate did its best to win the game before overtime. They were unable to capitalize on their chances and thus the game went to the extra period.
In the overtime period, the Raiders seemed determined to obtain their first victory at home since October 17. They came out strong, controlling the puck for most of the overtime period. Finally, at the 2:49 mark, Austin Smith scored his eleventh goal of the season and second of the night to give his team their first victory at Starr since defeating Bentley 4-1 in mid-October.
Head Coach Don Vaughan commented on Colgate’s well-balanced offensive attack. “It’s a huge benefit to have some other guys contribute offensively,” Vaughan said. “For any team to get the kind of offensive production like we got from our defensemen last weekend is huge. Having them get more involved in the offense is something we work on a lot in practice and this could be one indication that it is paying off.”
Colgate did not have the same success on Friday night, as the Raiders were dominated by an inspired Lake Superior State team. In the first period of the game, the Lakers came out hungry and desperate for a win. They took it to the Raiders, and got ahead 1-0 at the 2:05 mark of the period. Lake Superior dominated the period based largely on the spectacular play of goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson. The Lakers outshot the boys from Hamilton 16-12.
The second period was possibly one of the worst periods Colgate has played this year. They were unable to capitalize on most of their chances, while their rivals did the complete opposite. Lake Superior added their second goal of the game at the 10:45 mark of the period on a power play. Fifteen seconds later they struck again, increasing their lead to 3-0. With less than one minute left before the second intermission, the Lakers put the game away going ahead 4-0 at the 19:10 mark on the power play. The only bright part about the period was Fredricks scoring his third goal of the weekend at the 19:35 mark, assisted by junior forward Sean Carty, who got his first point of the season.
Colgate’s play seemed to improve in the third period but they once again ran into the brick wall that Mahoney-Wilson appeared to be. They poured shot after shot on the Laker net but none of them got past the inspired goaltender. In the Raiders’ desperation, Lake Superior State managed to score two more goals to make the final score of the game 6-1 in their favor.
Head Coach Don Vaughan provided reasons for the two different results the Colgate Raiders obtained last weekend. “We finished on our chances Thursday and didn’t on Friday,” Vaughan said. “We had a number of good scoring opportunities on Friday that could have kept us in the game but the LSSU goalie made some big stops.”
This was Colgate’s last non-conference matchups. Every game from now on will be an ECACHL match-up.
“The ECACHL is the most competitive league in the country,” Vaughan said. “Any team can win this conference. You can’t take a shift off. There is a very fine line between winning and losing so each player has to be focused and ready to play every shift. Playing in this league is great. It is what college hockey should be. It is great student athletes laying it all on the line every shift.”