Men’s Hockey Reaches Governor’s Cup Final

Ruben Leavitt

Last weekend, the men’s ice hockey team traveled to Albany to play in the Citizens Bank Governor’s Cup tournament. Colgate began its run with a thrilling opening-game victory over No. 16 St. Lawrence, 2-1 but could not sustain the momentum as they lost 2-0 to RPI in the Governor’s Cup final.

In game one, St. Lawrence’s Jordan Hack scored an even strength goal at 12:23 of the second period to put the Saints on top, 1-0. That score would stay the same leading into the second intermission, but that would change very quickly. Two minutes into the frame, senior Ben Camper picked up his own rebound and fed first-year phenom Brian Day on the left side of the net, who wristed the puck home past goalie Justin Pesony. After the Day goal, both Pesony and senior goalie Mark Dekanich made stellar saves to keep their respective teams in the games. It looked as though the semifinal game would head into overtime, but with only 1:55 remaining, Colgate junior Tom Riley performed a dive a la Bobby Orr in the 1970 Stanley Cup and knocked a loose puck into the net to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead and a berth in the Governor’s Cup Final.

In the second game, Peter Merth and Andrei Uryadov scored first period goals for RPI to give the Engineers a 2-0 lead. The two goals proved to be the only scores of the game, and RPI won the Governor’s Cup over Colgate for the second consecutive year. The Raiders had many chances to win. Senior Jesse Winchester hit two posts and the team as a whole accrued a number of opportunities that led to near goals.

“Ideally, you do not change your game strategy when suffering from a case of bad luck,” head coach Don Vaughan said. “But in reality, the frustration leaks into the guys’ play — we press more and force plays.”

Colgate has struggled with throughout the season thus far, and the team’s malaise on special teams showed in this game. The Raiders went 0-for-6 on the power play against RPI, one of which lasted five minutes.

“You never want to go 0-fer,” commented Vaughan on the team’s power play. “We’ll tweak it if necessary. I’d be careful to make wholesale changes because it may only be the last part — execution — that’s not working.”

Senior Tyler Burton, who assisted on the winning goal in the semifinal victory against St. Lawrence, represented Colgate on the all-tournament team. Vaughan highlighted Burton and Winchester’s play during the weekend as representative of their leadership abilities, and he also pointed out that senior goaltender Mark Dekanich had a solid weekend. Dekanich made 27 saves in game one and 14 in game two for a total of 41 during the weekend. Overall though, Colgate’s performance in the Governor’s Cup can be summed up with one sentence.

“Friday we got the bounces, Saturday we didn’t,” Vaughan said.

The Raiders now sit evenly at 3-3 on the season. Vaughan believes that the team’s performances to this date have demonstrated that implementing the new attack-style they are trying out is a work in progress.

“We’re a skating team,” he said. “We’re trying to play to our strengths in building this strategy.” The coaching staff has felt that the team strategy over the past several seasons has focused too much on the defensive part of the game. With the addition of young players such as first-year Brian Day and sophomores Ethan Cox and Jason Williams, the coaches feel that a more offensively aggressive style would raise the team to a more competitive level in the ECACHL.

Colgate will look to get their record over .500 during Silver Puck Weekend when they host Quinnipiac on Friday at 7 p.m. and Princeton on Saturday at 3 p.m. Throughout the weekend, the team will be honoring both current and former Colgate captains. Coach Vaughan has asked that the student body come out this weekend in support of their team, so come down to Starr Rink to watch the Raiders and participate in several promotional events that will be held over this weekend.