It is not often that Colgate hosts two of the nation’s top-10 teams in the same weekend. It is even rarer for the Raiders to go undefeated against such highly-ranked teams, but that is exactly what the women’s hockey team accomplished at Starr Rink last weekend against St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
Wearing pink jerseys as part of the Pink at the Rink program, an event to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer, the Raiders came out strong and never relented. St. Lawrence, ranked sixth and seventh nationally in the two women’s hockey polls, was looking for its second victory of the season over Colgate following a 5-3 win just three weeks earlier in Canton. This time around, the results were very different.
With four first period goals, the Raiders jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a decisive victory against the Saints. Sophomore Ali Edell started the scoring barrage with an unassisted tally midway through the period. Fellow sophomore Jacquie Colborne scored the first of two goals three minutes later when she deflected junior Sam Hunt’s shot into the back of the net. The Saints responded quickly to cut the deficit in half, but Colgate closed out the period in impressive fashion. Colborne collected her second goal at 17:09 and classmate Beth Rotenberg added the fourth Raider goal just over a minute later to make the lead 4-1. St. Lawrence scored the only goal of the second period, but Hunt’s tally just thirty seconds into the third period, her third point of the game, secured the impressive 5-2 victory.
First-year goaltender Lisa Plenderleith has been great between the pipes all season and last weekend was no exception.
“We came out flying against St. Lawrence and definitely caught them off guard,” she said. “To go up 4-1 in the first period against the sixth ranked team in the nation was huge. I think the key in the St. Lawrence game was maintaining our focus for the entire sixty minutes.”
Colgate needed to maintain that focus against Clarkson, as the Golden Knights entered the contest ranked eighth and ninth in the nation’s two polls. Picking up where they left off the night before, the Raiders jumped out to an early lead as Colborne scored her third goal of the weekend midway through the first period. Juniors Kiira Dosdall and Sam Hunt picked up assists on the goal.
Clarkson knotted the game at one early in the second period on a goal that proved to be its last of the game. Both teams had opportunities in the final period and overtime, but neither could find the back of the net for the decisive goal. Plenderleith recorded 19 saves, all of them important, in the 1-1 tie.
“This was obviously a huge weekend for us and we are hoping that it will give us the confidence to be successful in the remaining games of our season,” Sam Hunt said after the games.
“To get three points in a weekend where a lot of people around the league probably didn’t expect us to get any was huge for us,” Plenderleith said. “I think it’s going to really boost our confidence going into the final two weekends of the season.”
As the regular season winds down, the intensity and importance of the games heat up for the Raiders as they make their playoff push. Last year, the squad recorded its first playoff victory in team history against Princeton. This year, a more experienced and equally talented club looks to build upon that success.
“Obviously our main goal is to win the rest of our games and control what we can to get into the playoffs and maybe even get home ice,” first-year Hannah Milan said. “But we just want to play the best hockey possible and end the regular season on a high note.”
In the penultimate weekend of the regular season, the Raiders travel to RPI and Union for a pair of crucial league games on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s important that we realize that we’re playing against two teams that are behind us in the standings on paper, but on the ice, that doesn’t matter at all,” Plenderleith added. “We have to play these two games with the same intensity as we did this past weekend, because you’re only as good as your last game.”
Game times are 7 p.m. Friday at RPI and 4 p.m. Saturday at Union.