Road Woes and Home Heroics for Women’s Hockey

It has been a tale of two weekends for the women’s hockey team to start the 2008-09 campaign. After a 4-3 victory over Syracuse to open the season, the Raiders enjoyed an unusual nine-day break before the regular grind of the season got underway. Unfortunately, all of that rest did not lead to success in the season’s first road trip to Connecticut and Providence on October 10th and 11th.

UConn opened the scoring early against the Raiders, as the Huskies took advantage of a powerplay just 3:32 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Colgate was able to settle down for the remainder of the period and knot the game at one. Senior Sam Hunt scored an unassisted goal with less than four minutes before the first intermission, capping an impressive opening period by the Raiders in which they outshot the Huskies 13-5.

After a tight and even first two periods, the third was marked by an offensive explosion by UConn. The Huskies, aided by five Colgate penalties in the period, took advantage of their opportunities by lighting the lamp three times in just four minutes to take full control of the game. Over the course of the period, the Huskies fired 16 shots on goal, compared to only seven for Colgate. After playing so well for two periods, things fell apart for Colgate, as they limped out of Storrs with a 4-1 defeat.

The momentum, or lack there of from that third period, seemed to follow the Raiders to Providence for their contest against the Friars the following night. The Raiders gave up three more unanswered goals in the first period, a deficit that would prove to be too much to overcome.

On the bright side, first-year Kristi-Lyn Pollock prevented a shutout with her first collegiate goal midway through the second period; Katie Stewart picked up an assist.

Adding a little drama to the contest was senior Clancy Todd, who found the back of the net with just one second remaining in the period. Todd’s goal, assisted by senior Kiira Dosdall, made the score 5-2 Providence at the second intermission.The Raiders were in need of a third period miracle, but that miracle failed to appear. Providence added their sixth goal while holding Colgate scoreless; 6-2 was the final score.

“It is still early in our season and playing against UConn and Providence showed just that,” junior Evan Minnick said after the games. “UConn is ranked number ten in the country and Providence is getting votes for the top ten, but our team just wasn’t prepared. We weren’t quick enough and instead were letting the other teams dictate the play.”

Sam Hunt was equally disappointed in the team’s play.

“The games against UConn and Providence were frustrating to play in. We did not play our systems well and everyone was pretty much running around trying to make up for mistakes. After those games we had a good idea about what we needed to work on. I think we have definitely picked up our game since then.”

Picking up their game is exactly what the Raiders did the following weekend in a two-game series at Starr Rink against Niagara.

In the first game, Kiira Dosdall put the Raiders ahead midway through the first period with a great goal assisted by junior Marissa Dombovy and sophomore Jacquie Colborne. Sam Hunt and sophomore Hannah Milan scored twenty seconds apart early in the second period to give the Raiders a lead that would prove to be insurmountable. The Purple Eagles avoided a shutout with a late third period goal, but Colgate prevailed 3-1.

The Raiders put on an even better performance in the second game of the series. After a scoreless first period, Colgate turned into a scoring machine, putting seven pucks into the back of the net over the course of thirty-one minutes. Evan Minnick scored the first and last goals, Marissa Dombovy and Sam Hunt added a pair each, and Hannah Milan scored her second in as many games for the red-hot Raiders in the 7-1 thrashing of Niagara to complete the series sweep.

“Against Niagara, we set the pace,” Minnick said. “They had to play to our level. Our special teams were a lot better and overall, we played as a team. We played with confidence because we know our potential.”

After their impressive performances against Niagara, Sam Hunt was named the ECAC Player of the Week and first-year Kimberly Sass was named ECAC Rookie of the Week.

The Raiders travel to Michigan for a pair of games against Wayne State this weekend. Game times are 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.