Fresh off a pair of defeats and heading into the last weekend of regular season play in the ECACHL, the men’s hockey team needed some spark to gain momentum going into postseason play. What they didn’t need were losses to Harvard and Dartmouth on the road to enter the playoffs on a four game slide – which was exactly what happened.
Last Friday, the Raiders slide continued in Cambridge, as Harvard handled the Raiders, 4-1. On the bright side, the game was much closer than the score indicates. The match started out well for Colgate as junior Tyler Burton notched his 18th goal of the season, which came unassisted, to give the Raiders an early 1-0 lead. Two full periods passed smoothly for the Raiders, as they maintained their lead, until the last minute in the second period. Then, with barely a minute left before the second intermission, the Raiders had their hearts ripped out. First, Harvard’s Chad Morin finished off a breakaway after receiving a pass from goalie Justin Tobe. Lightning struck again when, with just 16 seconds left in the period, Harvard’s Alex Meintel finished off a pass from teammate Kevin Du. Colgate was seemingly shell-shocked after the late flurry by Harvard, and couldn’t recover. In a losing and valiant effort junior goalie Mark Dekanich stopped 31 shots but that was not enough on this day.
Colgate could not recover from this tough loss in time for their game the next day at Dartmouth, as the Raiders lost a tight game 3-1. It seemed like they were still down from the previous night’s debacle, as Dartmouth jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a power play goal in the first period. But the Raiders regained their composure and evened up the score with a goal that ricocheted off of first-year David McIntyre’s helmet after a shot from sophomore David Sloane. The two teams then played a scoreless second period and seemed headed toward overtime. Dartmouth’s T.J. Galiardi, however, wouldn’t let that happen, as the first-year knocked the puck over Dekanich’s shoulder with just 2:24 left in the game. Johnson finished off the victory for the Big Green with an empty net goal. For the second straight game, Dekanich’s strong 33 save performance was not enough for the Raiders.
The Raiders clearly need to regain the form they showed prior to this slide; with wins against the likes of St. Lawrence and Cornell, they are clearly capable of making a run in the ECACHL tournament. McIntyre believes that his team should be able to take advantage of this new life.
“It’s the start of the second season and as long as we keep working hard, the bounces will come our way and good things will happen.”
Even with the two losses this past weekend, the Raiders still managed to gain the eighth seed and will host RPI this weekend, where they look to salvage their season.