Women’s Ice Hockey Opens Season with Win

Chas Kurtz

It may only be the beginning of October, but the women’s hockey season has already commenced at Starr Rink. Following back-to-back ECAC playoff appearances, the Raiders look poised to skate to the top of the league this year. The first test for the squad came against our neighbors from Syracuse, who was playing its first ever Division I game, two nights ago at Starr Rink.

The Orange may not be a hockey power, but they provided the Raiders with an early season scare. Just nine seconds into the season, ‘Cuse’s Megan Skelly fired a rebound into the back of the net to give the Orange the lead. Just minutes later they struck again to take a 2-0 advantage, but the talented Raiders were undeterred by the early deficit.

After settling down and regrouping through the middle of the period, Colgate responded to the Orange’s initial blitz in impressive fashion. Junior forward Katie Stewart scored a power-play goal with just under seven minutes remaining before the first intermission to cut the Orange lead in half. Senior tri-captain Elin Brown recorded her first of three assists, while first-year Kristi-Lyn Pollock added an assist for her first collegiate point.

Much like Syracuse at the beginning of the period, Colgate added a second goal almost immediately after its first, as junior Evan Minnick found the back of the net to knot the score at two.

With the momentum of their side, the Raiders dominated the second period, outshooting Syracuse 15-1. However, putting the puck past Orange goalie Lucy Schoedel, who recorded a game-high 34 saves, proved to be a difficult task. With just minutes remaining in the period and the score still tied at two, senior tri-captain Sam Hunt, one of the greatest players in school history, scored her first goal of the season to finally give the Raiders their first lead.

An important insurance goal was added midway through the final period when sophomore Hannah Milan scored the fourth Colgate goal, as juniors Nicole McDonald and Beth Rotenberg assisted on the tally.

The importance of that goal became apparent in the game’s final minute when Skelly scored her second goal for the Orange to cut the deficit to one. It would prove to be too little too late, however, as the Raiders escaped the final forty seconds unscathed to capture the exciting 4-3 victory.

With the season off to a positive start, the Raiders can look to the grueling campaign ahead of them.

“This year we have really high expectations for ourselves,” junior forward Evan Minnick said. “In the end, we want to make it the NCAA playoffs and be national champions. This is going to mean a lot of hard work including either being nationally ranked at the end of the season or winning the ECAC league playoffs.”

These high expectations obviously exceed the preseason ECAC polls, which had Colgate ranked a lowly seventh. That disrespect for the program has proven to be bulletin board material.

“We did not feel that this ranking was accurate at all,” Evan Minnick added. “In fact, it has only fueled our team more to prove that it is wrong. It hangs out on the ice everyday for motivation.”

With a solid opening to the season, a talent-laden roster, and an abundance of motivation, the Colgate women’s hockey squad is prepared to make lots of noise in the ECAC this season.

The Raiders take the ice again on October 11th and 12th on the road against UConn and Providence. The next home game is October 17th against Niagara at Starr Rink.