It will be hard for the men’s hockey team to equal the success of their home games against RPI and Union two weeks ago when they essentially rewrote the record books. Although last week was not nearly as exciting, the Raiders did not come away empty-handed on their recent road trip to Princeton and Quinnipiac. Last Friday night, Colgate had a rough night defensively and lost 7-2 to the Tigers. But the Raiders followed that up with a last-minute overtime victory last Sunday afternoon over the Bobcats, 4-3.
Senior goaltender Mark Dekanich’s ECAC record for consecutive shutout minutes was finally broken five minutes into Friday evening’s game by Mike Kramer, ending it at an astonishing 217:16. Junior forward Peter Bogdanich scored amidst a scrum in front of the net to tie up the game six minutes later. The two teams went into the first intermission tied at one, but Princeton’s Lee Jubinville showed why he is the one of the best ECAHL players by scoring both an even-strength and short-handed goal within four minutes of each other in the beginning of the second period. Jubinville currently leads the ECACHL in point scoring with 34. Junior defenseman Jason Fredericks responded to Jubinville’s goal by scoring on a shot from the left point with a Raider extra attacker on the ice. The score remained 3-2 going into the second intermission.
Unfortunately, the numerous Raider defensive lapses that occurred throughout the game caused their own demise. In a whirlwind third period, Princeton scored four goals. Jubinville notched his 23rd assist of the year on Taylor Fedun’s goal at 4:54, and Kevin Kaiser scored on a two-on-one odd-man rush opportunity a minute later. Princeton scored two more goals against sophomore goalie Charles Long near the end of the game, and mercilessly, the game ended. The Raiders let up six breakaway chances against Dekanich, two of which the Tigers cashed in on, and several other odd-man rush opportunities. The Raiders also gave up their first short-handed goal of the season, as the Tigers outshot Colgate 43-17 on the night.
“We were disappointed with Friday’s game,” Coach Vaughan said. “Looking at the score people would think that it was a complete blowout, but it wasn’t. Princeton has a good team; we had some major breakdowns through the middle of the rink. We got caught pressing and we made some bad mistakes.”
Sunday was a much better day for Colgate, although things did not start well for the Raiders. The Bobcats Greg Holt beat Dekanich on the power play to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead at the 7:50 mark. Only a minute later, Raiders sophomore David McIntyre scored his 10th goal after receiving a feed from first-year Brian Day. In the second period, Quinnipiac’s Brandon Wong, who is in the top-five on the ECAC scoring list, scored a power-play goal off a rebounded Holt shot to give the Bobcats a lead that would not last long. With just over five minutes left in the second period, Day continued his great game by breaking his goal-scoring drought and putting in a rebound. The fans watching at TD Banknorth Center and on NESN were getting a treat on this day, as the back-and-forth action continued when senior Tyler Burton scored his 18th goal three minutes into the third period unassisted. However, Colgate’s special teams woes continued to be their downfall when the Bobcats’ Bryan Leitch scored the team’s third power play goal after shooting the puck just above Dekanich’s glove at the 6:26 mark.
Since neither team scored during the rest of regulation time, the game proceeded into an extra period. In overtime, Burton gave Bogdanich his 23rd birthday present by feeding him the puck and giving him the opportunity for the winning goal with exactly one minute left in overtime. Bogdanich put the puck past Fisher to lift Colgate over the gritty Bobcats for the win. Quinnipiac outshot Colgate 29-18, but the Bobcats did not get a shot off during the entire extra session.
Despite the Raiders inconsistent weekend, Colgate still has one issue this season that has been hindering them greatly.
“Our power play has been a sore spot all season,” Vaughan admitted. “It’s something we’ve worked hard on but haven’t been able to execute in games.”
Despite the special teams troubles, the Raiders can still grab an ECAC first-round bye with two wins and some help.
“We’re where seven to eight other teams are right now; nothing’s changed much, Vaughan said. “There’s a fine line between winning and losing in this league between the top teams and the others. We’re in eighth place right now, but if we get four more points next weekend we can climb as high as fourth. We can only control what we have control over, and we’re going to keep working toward our goal of being a top-four team and getting that bye.”
Colgate will cap off its regular season at home next weekend. On Friday, the Raiders will host Harvard at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, the Raiders will face-off against Dartmouth at 4 p.m.