The Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey team opened their season with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22 playing Holy Cross and an exhibition game against Kingston. The team has high expectations coming into the year, having recorded four straight 20+ win seasons. Expectations are not only high in Hamilton but across the country as the team is currently just one vote off of being ranked in the Top Ten of the AP Women’s Hockey poll.
In the squad’s first game of the year on Saturday, they took on Holy Cross. From the outset, the Raiders looked to be in control. While they were unable to find the back of the net in the first period, they outshot the Crusaders 12-5 and peppered Holy Cross with shots throughout the opening three minutes. Just a minute into the second period, the Raiders scored a shorthanded goal from first-year Danielle Serdachny, the first goal of her career. Just eight minutes later the Raiders doubled their lead when sophomore forward Noemi Neubauerova sent a shot to the bottom right corner and into the net, making the score 2-0. While the Raiders were unable to add to their lead for the rest of the period, they did pepper Holy Cross sophomore goalie Jada Brenson with shots forcing her to make 11 saves to keep her team within two.
The Raiders extended their lead nine minutes into the final period when junior forward Coralie Larose sent a shot to the top right shelf from across the crease. The goal was assisted by Neubauerova as well as sophomore defender Tanner Gates. Not easing of the pedal, Serdachny continued her impressive Colgate debut scoring again with just under five minutes to go. The first-years second goal also gave Gates her second assist and the Raiders a 4-0 lead. Despite little time remaining, Holy Cross continued to fight and were eventually able to break through with a minute and a half left to avoid the shutout, giving the Raiders a 4-1 opening day win.
The next day Colgate was back on the ice taking on the Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves, a team that competes in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, the highest teir of junior (age 16 to 21) hockey in Canada, in an exhibition game. As the Ice Wolves are not an NCAA team, the game did not go towards the Raiders record. Despite Kingston being considered the strongest team in the league, Colgate was the stronger side from the first drop of the puck.
Just two minutes in, the Raiders got on the board when senior defender Caroline Ross found a puck from first-year forward Kaitlyn O’Donohue in front of the net and tapped it in to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
While the Raiders continued to keep the advantage in the first period, outshooting Kingston 15-1, they had to wait until the final 30 seconds to double the lead when Gates picked up a pass from sophomore Rosy Demers just outside the crease and blasted it into the net to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead to end the period.
Continuing the trend of quick goals, the Raiders made it 3-0 just under a minute and a half into the second period when Larose send a feed from first-year forward Darcie Lappan, a former Ice Wolf herself, off of her backhand and into the net. Colgate was not done though and made it 4-0 12 minutes later as first-year defender Allyson Simpson sent a sniper shot across goal from the top of the face-off circle for her first career goal.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the final frame and the Raiders walked away with a 4-0 win.
Colgate’s start to the season continues next week when they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to take on #2 Minnesota Gophers in a weekend doubleheader. The Raiders return home the next weekend for games on Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5 against Mercyhurst. The games are at 5 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively.