In what was their final home weekend of the regular season, the men’s hockey team could not get away from home soon enough, suffering losses to Princeton and Quinnipiac, who each squeaked out one-goal victories over them.
The weekend got off to a slow start for the Raiders, who limped out of the gate in their first game against Princeton on Friday at Starr Rink. After a scoreless first period, Princeton’s Cam McIntyre scored two goals at the 7:04 and 14:20 marks in the second period to help the Tigers gain a commanding two-goal lead. But the Raiders, as has been their trademark of late, would not go down without a fight. Halfway through the third period and in desperate need of a spark, the Raiders got just that from juniors Tyler Burton and Jesse Winchester; Winchester finished off a give-and-go to give the Raiders hope and cut their deficit in half. Colgate’s offense scraped and scrapped throughout the rest of the game, but their 38 shots were not enough to beat the Tigers and their goalie B.J. Sklapsky. Junior Mark Dekanich’s 29 saves were not enough for the Raiders on this night, as Sklapsky simply had their number on this evening. The Raiders also failed to convert on any of their five power play chances.
The Raiders did not have much time to rest, as their next game was at 3:30 the next afternoon against Quinnipiac. Possibly suffering from fatigue, it took awhile for Colgate to wake up. Just like the night before, the Raiders fell behind by two goals early on. First, Quinnipiac’s Reid Cashman cashed in 14:33 into the first period, hitting the bank with a power-play goal. Again on the power play, Quinnipiac’s Jamie Bates extended his team’s lead to two goals 15:19 into the second period. Fireworks went off in the final period, as the two teams combined for three power play goals. Just 1:47 into the period, Burton was this time the beneficiary as Winchester crashed the net and found Burton in the crease for the crucial goal. But just minutes later, at the 6:33 mark, Bates scored the pivotal goal, crippling the Raiders. Colgate would not give up hope, as Winchester found senior Marc Fulton for a goal with just under five minutes left in the game. Dekanich finished the game with 23 saves. Fulton still was confident in his teams ability after the tough loss.
“To make a run, i think we just need to stay focused, teams in our league dont want to play against us. I think we are still a team that i feared around the league. We are just as good as any team, however we just need to bring it each night and hope for the best,” he said.
The Raiders, who are now tied for seventh in the ECACHL with a 7-10-3 conference record, find themselves slumping heading into the final weekend of the regular season, when they will travel to Harvard and Dartmouth. Senior captain Liam Huculak, in the wake of this rough stretch, seemed optimistic.
“We just have to keep playing our game and continue to limit our mistakes. The league hasn’t been this tight since I’ve been here and it seems like every mistake we make ends up in our net. We need to stay positive because the ECAC could be won by anyone this year,” he said.