The 2008-2009 ECACHL regular season began last weekend for the twelve league members. Colgate began its ECACHL campaign by splitting its weekend series with the Quinnipiac Bobcats and the Princeton Tigers. The Raiders defeated the Bobcats (1-0) and fell to the ninth-ranked Tigers in a heartbreaking overtime loss, 2-1. Head Coach Don Vaughan gave his opinion on why the offense was not able to score as much as they have in past weekends.
“I think both opposing goaltenders played well,” Vaughan said. “We generated chances, which mean we must be doing something right, but we just have to finish on them.”
The first period of Friday’s game against Quinnipiac was an extremely close one, in which neither team gave the other much space or opportunities to score. The Raiders took the initiative and had more control of the puck than the Bobcats. Colgate won the battle in shots, 8-6 in the first period, but was unable to capitalize on any of them.
The second period of the game was similar to the first, albeit more physical as both teams traded time in the penalty box, even awarding each other five-on-three power plays at times and playing at four-on-four even strength. The Raiders’ penalty kill once again proved to be our greatest strength as it killed all of Quinnipiac’s eight power plays. Colgate’s penalty kill is currently among the best in the nation. Junior Goaltender Charles Long expressed his gratitude towards the team’s penalty kill.
“I think we have done very well,” Long said. “I don’t even notice that we are out there on the penalty kill. It’s like second nature for us now to go out there and kill it.”
Head Coach Don Vaughan agreed with Long’s assessment and gave him a large amount of credit for the team’s success so far.
“I think we’re playing as a unit,” Vaughan said. “Our team is playing very well as a group. In a specific part of our game, our penalty kill has been exceptional, but that all starts with our goaltender. Long has been excellent so far,” he stated.
The boys from Hamilton came out roaring in the third period, bent on winning the game and not departing New England without the win. The team fought harder, controlled the puck, and crashed the net constantly, looking for the goal that would put them ahead for good. At that point the game was so defensive, that whichever team scored the first goal would be the one to come out with the victory. The fruits of their hard labor finally came through at the 8:43 mark of the last period. Sophomore forward Fran?cois Brisebois scored his fourth goal of the season, third on the power play, to put the Raiders ahead for good 1-0. Junior forward David McIntyre got the assist on the goal and showed his relief after Brisebois scored.
“I was very excited when Frankie (Brisebois) scored that goal,” McIntyre said. “I would have been very disappointed if we hadn’t scored against Quinnipiac and (tied or lost the game) because we are better than them and also a much better team than a lot of players and teams give us credit for.”
Colgate out shot the Bobcats, 26-19. It was the Raiders’ first game in front of a hostile crowd, as 3,233 Bobcat fans made the trek to the TD Banknorth Center. The Quinnipiac followers, however, did not seem to get in Colgate’s head. If anything, the Raiders enjoyed the intensity brought forth by the opposing fans. Charles Long especially, did not allow the less than friendly chants from the Quinnipiac faithful to faze him. Long did not allow any goals in this game and posted his first career shutout.
The next day, the boys from Hamilton traveled to Princeton University to face the ninth-ranked team in the nation: the Princeton Tigers.
The first period was very evenly matched, as the entire game would be, but leaned more towards the Tigers. Princeton got on the board first at the 1:15 mark, surprising goaltender Charles Long. Throughout the rest of the period, the Tigers poured shot after shot on Long, but he did not waver and stopped the final nine shots he faced in the period. The Raiders also showed their resilience as they did not let themselves be taken down by the defending ECACHL champions. Princeton outshot Colgate, 10-5 in the first period.
The second period, however, proved a different story, as the Raiders took the initiative. They controlled the puck more, took more shots on goal than the Tigers, and skated circles around the ninth-ranked team in the country. Princeton junior goaltender Zane Kalemba, a Preseason First Team All-League selection, proved to be the greatest obstacle the Raiders had faced so far, as he stopped every single shot he faced in that period. The Raiders out shot Princeton, 12-9 in the second period.
The third period of the game was the most evenly played of the game. Both teams came out with similar goals at the beginning of the period. Princeton’s initiative was to keep the slim lead, while Colgate’s was to find the tying goal. But when everything appeared lost for Colgate, first-year forward Austin Smith scored his second goal of the season, assisted by fellow linemate junior forward Ethan Cox and first-year defenseman Corbin McPherson. McPherson did not realize that he had gotten his first career point until several minutes later.
“I was more excited about tying Princeton and Smith scoring,” McPherson said. “I didn’t really think about my point until one of my teammates brought it up in the bench,” he concluded.
Smith’s goal would prove to be the last one in regulation, as the game would be sent to overtime, with the scored tied 1-1. The Raiders, however, would not be able to play at full strength at the beginning of the overtime period, as they were awarded a penalty 46 seconds before the end of regulation. Colgate’s hopes of returning home with at least three points were dashed at the 2:16 mark of the period, when Princeton scored the game-winning goal to make the final score, 2-1.
The Colgate Raiders may not have won the game, but they played the best hockey they have played so far this season. The Raiders played with a lot of heart, intensity and pride of what they were representing. The boys from Hamilton showed that they are capable of doing great things this year and the entire Colgate community should feel proud of their overall performance last weekend.
In the most anticipated game of the season, the Colgate Raiders hosted No. 14 Cornell Big Red yesterday, November 13. In front of a quiet crowd of 2,000, the Big Red took the first of a home-and-home series by a score of 4-1.
Trouble started brewing for the Raiders even before the second minute of play was over, as they received a roughing penalty at 1:32. Cornell did not hesitate in taking advantage of this power play and scored its first goal of the game just 16 seconds later when forward Colin Greening put home a rebound. The Raiders began pressuring Cornell, taking shot after shot, but were unable to put anything past Big Red goaltender Ben Scrivens, currently ranked first in the nation in GAA. Cornell added to its lead once again at the 7:25 mark when Jordan Berk fired a slap shot past Long. The Raiders kept up the pressure, and even out shot Cornell, 10-5 in the first period, but the score remained 2-0 in Cornell’s favor heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, the Raiders fought hard to cut back their opponent’s lead but were again unable to put anything past Scrivens. Colgate came out firing from all cylinders, out shooting the Big Red, 19-5 in the second period, but it was unlucky to have run into a brick wall on this night. At the 8:05 mark, Cornell forward Tyler Mugford knocked home a high point-blank shot that Patrick Roy would have had trouble stopping, and it put the game away from the Raiders’ reach.
But 59 seconds into the third period, Colgate was given a chance to dream. In four-on-four play, sophomore forward Brian Day scored his sixth goal of the season, assisted by linemate David McIntyre. Day’s goal appeared to provide strength for the Raiders, as they once again dominated Cornell by pouring shot after shot on goal and controlling the puck. However, it was just not meant to be for Colgate on this night. Six minutes before the end of the game, the Big Red’s Michael Kennedy scored the final goal of the game, Cornell’s third power play goalof the night, to end the scoring.
Tomorrow night the Colgate Raiders will be in for a treat. They will be playing in front of the most passionate fans in the ECAC as they face Cornell in the mythical Lynah Rink, which holds 4,267 people.
“It is always fun playing in that arena (Lynah),” David McIntyre commented. “It will be quite an experience for the younger guys. Their fans are crazy and I’m excited for it. It is definitely something that all of our guys look forward to and getting a win at Lynah would give us the confidence to go on and beat some of the best teams in the nation at their own barn.”
The Raiders will look to earn their first victory at Lynah Rink since the 2003-2004 season tomorrow night at 7 p.m.