With three victories against top ten teams in the nation, including two against top five opponents, the Colgate women’s hockey team is in the midst of its best season in school history and has solidified its position among the ECAC’s elite. Last weekend Colgate hosted its biggest home-stand in school history with a pair of games against Dartmouth and Harvard, the top two teams in the ECAC and two of the top six squads in the nation.
The final home games of the season began on a sour note. Dartmouth, the ECAC leaders and third-ranked team in the country, played like a team poised to make a run at the national title. The Raiders defeated the Big Green 2-1 in New Hampshire earlier this season, but were unable to complete the sweep.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, the Big Green scored just 17 seconds into the second period to grab a convincing 2-0 advantage. After three more goals recorded by special teams units, two on the power-play and one short-handed, the Big Green had a commanding 5-0 lead over the women in maroon.
Sophomore Sam Hunt prevented the shutout with a late goal, her team-leading 18th tally of the season. Junior Mallory Johnston and first-year Katie Stewart tallied assists.
Against Harvard the following afternoon, there appeared to be an entirely different Colgate squad on the ice. Clearly the previous night’s loss did not translate into another poor performance as the Raiders played one of their best games of the season on Senior Day.
Fittingly, the stars of the day were the seniors making their final regular season appearance at Starr Rink. Ashley Bradford scored her first goal of the season, while Tara French recorded an assist and Brook Wheeler earned first star of the game for her 31-save effort.
First-years Marissa Dombovy and Katie Stewart gave their seniors a pair of great gifts, as they both scored important goals in the 3-1 victory. Hunt and fellow sophomore Elin Brown added assists.
“In Saturday’s game, we had a great game from our whole team right across the board, which was the main reason we were able to convincingly win,” French said after the game. “Despite playing decently on Friday, we were much happier with Saturday’s game, especially as we head into playoffs.”
Before the playoffs begin, however, the Raiders have a pair of huge games remaining. On Friday night, in the USCHO Game of the Week, Colgate travels to Princeton. Currently, Colgate is fourth in the ECAC, just one point ahead of the Tigers. With the top four teams earning home — ice advantage in the playoffs, the importance of this game is immense, as is Saturday’s game at Quinnipiac.
The keys to victory will be, “to continue the momentum, energy and commitment to our team systems from Saturday, to stay focused, but most importantly to stay loose and confident in our abilities,” French added.
Game times this weekend are 7:00p.m. in Princeton Friday night and 4pm in Hamden, CT on Saturday.