The Raiders rode a season-high two-game winning streak into Hockeytown to play Wayne State following a sweep of Niagara, but adding a third in a row would prove to be too tough a task. The women’s hockey team continued its rollercoaster start to the season in Detroit last weekend, succumbing to a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of the Warriors on Friday night before rebounding for a thrilling 3-2 victory the following day.
Colgate looked strong early in the first game, but the Raiders failed to capitalize on ten first period shots on goal. With less than two minutes remaining before the intermission, Wayne State capitalized on just its fifth shot of the game to take a 1-0 advantage.
The Raiders answered quickly at the start of the second period, as sophomore forward Hannah Milan found the back of the net. Senior defender Kiira Dosdall and senior forward Sam Hunt assisted on the goal. The tie was short-lived, however, as the Warriors responded just 25 seconds later to take a lead they would never relinquish. Midway through the period, Wayne State put their third shot past sophomore goalie Lisa Plenderleith, but the resilient Raiders responded before the end of the period. Senior defender Clancy Todd fired a shot that was stopped by Wayne State goalie Lindsey Park, but the net minder was unable to control the rebound, as junior forward Beth Rotenberg slipped it into the back of the net to cut the deficit to one. Junior forward Evan Minnick recorded the second assist on the goal.
Despite outshooting Wayne State 23 to 12 over the first two periods, the Raiders found themselves trailing in the only statistic that matters: the score. They hoped to build upon their offensive pressure and solid defensive play, but things did not go according to plan in the final period. Colgate’s 3-2 deficit quickly increased, as the Warriors scored two goals in the first minute of the third period to take an insurmountable 5-2 lead. They tacked on an insurance goal later in the period, making the final score 6-2.
“We regrouped after Friday’s loss and knew that we were simply outworked and outhustled,” Plenderleith said. “We knew we could beat Wayne State as long as our effort was there for sixty minutes.”
That confidence would prove vital in a tight contest the next day. Hunt opened the scoring with her team-leading sixth goal of the season midway through the first period. Rotenberg and Dosdall recorded the assists on the period’s lone goal. The scoreboard was put to work early in the second period when senior Elin Brown lit the lamp less than a half minute after the puck was dropped. That lead was trimmed in half late in the frame when first-year goaltender Kimberly Sass allowed the first Warrior goal with 2:47 remaining before intermission.The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Raiders entering the final period.
Rotenberg added an important insurance goal for Colgate at the 7:21 point in the third period to give the Raiders a bit of breathing room. Junior forward Marissa Dombovy made the key pass to an open Rotenberg, and Evan Minnick was credited with the secondary assist on what would prove to be the game-winner.
Wayne State fought hard throughout the game, putting eleven third period shots on target, but the Warriors ultimately came up a goal short. With their goalie pulled, the Warriors found the back of the net with fifteen seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late as Colgate escaped Detroit with a 3-2 win and a series split.
“Saturday’s game was a great team win with timely goals and a strong defensive effort,” Sass said after her impressive 23-save performance.
Sam Hunt was pleased with the victory, but acknowledged that the team certainly has room for improvement.
“After the game on Saturday, everyone realized that we need to be much better prepared for games. We need to start the games off well and not let them score goals in spurts. We also realized that we needed to respond well when they scored on us, and also when we scored. We were much better in the second game.”
There is little time for rest as Colgate’s grueling schedule resumes this weekend when No. 6 Mercyhurst pays a visit to Hamilton for a pair of games.
“We have beaten ranked teams before and we have proved that we can skate with some of the best in the nation,” Plenderleith added. “We need a solid week of practice, realizing our mistakes from the past weekend and know what we need to do to shut down Mercyhurst. Also, I think we need to focus more on what we can do to play our own game, rather than worrying about Mercyhurst and what their tendencies might be.”
Game times are 7 p.m. on Halloween and 3 p.m. Saturday.