Women’s Hockey Splits Pair of Road Games

Chas Kurtz

Last weekend, Colgate had momentum and confidence following a win and a tie against No. 6/7 St. Lawrence and No. 8/9 Clarkson and looked poised to continue their great play against RPI and Union. Although the trip to the Capital Region resulted in only two points after Colgate lost to RPI, 3-2 and defeated Union, 4-1, the Raiders clinched their seventh consecutive berth to the ECACHL playoffs in seven years of ECACHL contention.

The Raiders fell behind early against the Engineers of RPI and were unable to earn the victory. RPI’s Kendra Dunlop scored a power play goal at 9:36 of the first period, but the Raiders answered quickly. With just over six minutes remaining in the opening period, sophomore Evan Minnick received a perfect pass from senior Mallory Johnston and found the back of the net for a game-tying power play tally. In the final minutes of the period, Engineer Whitney Naslund scored an unassisted short-handed goal to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Undaunted by the deficit, the Raiders played well in the second period as they knotted the score at two. Sophomore Marissa Dombovy received a pass from Elin Brown and just barely slid the puck past the Engineer goaltender at 9:08. Both sides had chances in the remainder of the period, but neither side could find the back of the net and skated off the ice for the second intermission tied at two.

Just over one minute into the third period, the Engineers struck again. Senior Julie Aho put her own rebound in against first-year goaltender Lisa Plenderleith at 1:13 of the third period for what would prove to be the final goal of the game. The rest of the period was dominated by Colgate, as the squad outshot RPI 15-8, but there would be no more scoring on this night.

“Our lack of preparation and execution during special teams led to the loss against RPI,” junior Kiira Dosdall noted. “Plus, they had the support and excitement of wearing the pink jerseys [for Pink at the Rink] that gave them an extra boost.”

There was no time to dwell on the defeat, however, as Colgate traveled to Schenectady the following night for another important ECAC contest against last-place Union.

“We had to bounce back from the loss against RPI on Friday night and come out flying against Union,” Plenderleith said. “We had to have a strong start to the game and maintain our focus for 60 minutes.”

The Raiders did just that as Johnston opened the scoring with her second goal of the season at 12:03 of the first period. Minnick and first-year Hannah Milan assisted on the power play goal. The star of the night, however, was undoubtedly Colgate’s junior forward Sam Hunt. The Calgary native scored an unassisted goal late in the first period, a tally that marked her 100th career point, making her just the third Raider to ever reach the century mark. Union’s Marissa Gentile cut the deficit in half in the second period when they scored on a two-man advantage, but Colgate responded quickly. Adding to her already historic evening, Hunt scored her second goal of the game to increase the lead back to two. The goal was her 18th of the season and the 54th of her career, tying her with Allison Paiano ’06 for the most in Colgate’s D-I history. Later in the period, first-year Jessi Waters received a pass from sophomore Beth Rotenberg and scored the game’s final goal.

The Raiders look to close out the regular season in style this weekend as they host No. 1 Harvard and No. 10 Dartmouth. The Big Green are a perennial women’s hockey power, while the Crimson are currently the best team in the nation. It will certainly not be an easy end to the regular season, but it should serve well as playoff preparation.

“The key this weekend is to be mentally prepared and be ready for anything,” Plenderleith added. “We need to stay positive on the bench, encourage each other and play as a team. We were successful against St. Lawrence because we stuck to the game plan for the entire sixty minutes. We can’t lose our focus. Special teams will be key this weekend. Harvard and Dartmouth have exceptional power play units, so we will want to try and stay out of the box, but be prepared to kill of the penalties that we do get and shut them down.”

Game times are 7 p.m. Friday against Harvard and 4 p.m. Saturday against Dartmouth. Both games are at Starr Rink.