Women’s Hockey Endures Winter Woes

The women’s hockey team started the year slowly, but after three straight victories to open ECAC play, the squad seemed to have righted the ship. Unfortunately for the Raiders, their great play didn’t last. After a 5-2 win over Quinnipiac on Friday, November 16, Colgate lost its following two league games to Princeton, as the Tigers outscored them 7-2. Those games were sandwiched around a series against Wayne State. The Raiders lost the first game 4-2, but rebounded well in the finale by scoring a season-high seven goals to claim a commanding and much-needed 7-3 victory.

The Raiders closed out their ECAC play in the first half of the season with a 1-1 tie against Quinnipiac in Hamilton. Junior forward and co-captain Elin Brown scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game in the third period. Colgate outshot the Bobcats 35-18, but went scoreless on nine power play opportunities and had to settle for the draw.

In the final two games before the break, Colgate skated against Niagara University at Starr Rink. In the first game, Niagara carried a 1-0 lead into the final period and looked poised to add another loss to the Raiders’ record. Early in the third period, however, juniors Kiira Dosdall and Sam Hunt found the back of the net less than three minutes apart to give Colgate a decisive 2-1 advantage. The following night, the confident squad captured another victory as first-year Lisa Plenderleith stopped all 36 shots she faced to record her first career shutout. Fellow first-year Jessi Waters earned another milestone; her first collegiate goal gave the Raiders the lead en route to a 3-0 victory.

With momentum and a two-gme winning streak in hand as the winter break began, the Raiders were poised to come out strong in January. In what has undoubtedly been the pinnacle of the season thus far, the Raiders traveled to eighth-ranked Dartmouth for an ECAC bout on January 4. The favored Big Green came out strong with a first period goal to take an early 1-0 lead. The Raiders, however, looked undaunted as they tried to extend their winning streak and capture an upset in Hanover against a highly-ranked Dartmouth squad for the second consecutive season. Brown, Colgate’s second-leading scorer, received a textbook pass from sophomore Evan Minnick and fired the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at one late in the second period.

The third period was full of action, but not goals, as Plenderleith and the Big Green’s Carli Clemis turned away every shot they faced to set up overtime. In the extra period, sophomore Marissa Dombovy was able to fire the puck past Clemis at 2:58 to give the Raiders the huge ECAC win.

“The upset was a team effort,” Dombovy said. “Everyone stepped up and played a solid sixty minutes. It marks a two-year streak of beating them at their rink!”

With their momentum and confidence boiling over, Colgate traveled south to Cambridge to face another national title contender. However, third-ranked Harvard proved to be too much for the Raiders to handle. With three second period goals, the Crimson cruised to a 4-0 victory, ending Colgate’s four-game unbeaten streak.

Undeterred by their setback against Harvard, the Raiders took the ice against Union on Friday, January 11 in search of a victory, one that would not prove to be very elusive. Colgate scored in every period and thoroughly dominated the game with a 5-2 win. Leading-scorer Sam Hunt found the back of the net twice, while Dombovy added three points to lead the team.

With the squad finally clicking on all cylinders, a game the following night against RPI appeared to be an opportunity for the Raiders to continue ascending the ECAC standings. The Engineers, however, played very competitively, outshooting the Raiders 30-22 in a game that finished 1-1. First-year Jacquie Colborne opened the scoring with a power play tally in the second period. For most of the game, it appeared that her goal would be the difference, but RPI answered by scoring with just over two minutes to play in regulation to knot the game at one. Lisa Plenderleith was impressive between the pipes once again with 29 saves in the tie.

Following the rather disappointing result against RPI, Colgate had an important weekend with league games against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. It was a chance to prove they belong in the upper-echelon of one of the nation’s elite women’s hockey leagues. Unfortunately, after a pair of close games, a pair of losses was added to Colgate’s record.

Last Friday, Clarkson jumped out to an early lead, taking a 1-0 advantage into the first intermission and adding another unanswered goal in the second. Colborne added her second goal in as many games to put the Raiders on the board and pull them within one later in the second period, but that was as close as they would get. They had a number of chances in the third period, but were unable to finish. A late goal gave the Golden Knights a 3-1 home win.

The following night the Raiders continued their North Country tour against sixth-ranked St. Lawrence. After a scoreless first period, the Saints beat Lisa Plenderleith five times in the second period to take an insurmountable lead. Hunt scored two goals in this game, and Colgate held St. Lawrence scoreless in the third period, but the deficit was too great to overcome. The final score was 5-3.

“The low points[of their winter break] would have to be tying RPI and not picking up a point on the road against either Clarkson or St. Lawrence,” Dombovy added. “We have not been able to play a solid 60 minutes since Dartmouth.”

The Raiders look to bounce back from a tough stretch with games at ECAC opponents Brown and Yale this weekend.

“Beating both Yale and Brown this coming weekend is going to be a team effort,” Dombovy said. “The most important key is creating a lot quality chances in order to beat their goalies, who have kept them in games throughout the year.”

Game times are 7 p.m. Friday in New Haven and 4 p.m. Saturday in Providence.