Despite their best regular season in school history, the Colgate women’s hockey team’s final weekend ended with mixed results.
In a game to decide home-ice advantage for the first round of the ECAC playoffs, the Raiders traveled to Princeton to take on the Tigers. Going into the game, Colgate occupied fourth place in the ECAC, while Princeton was only a single point behind in fifth. Named the USCHO Game of the Week, this was one of the biggest games in Colgate history.
The Tigers pounced to an early lead with a power-play goal midway through the first period, a lead that would hold for the rest of the game. Senior Brook Wheeler stopped 24 of the 25 shots she faced, but it was not enough, as Princeton prevailed 1-0.
This was Colgate’s fourth loss in five games, as the potent offense seemingly disappeared during the stretch, tallying only one goal in those four losses. The bright spot, however, was the 3-1 win over sixth-ranked Harvard on Senior Day.
Fortunately, the Raiders were able to shake off the Princeton loss and close out the regular season with a win against Quinnipiac. In an unbelievably exciting first period, Colgate jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and looked poised to bury the Bobcats, with first-year Evan Minnick and sophomore Sam Hunt collecting the early tallies. Undaunted, Quinnipiac rallied with back-to-back goals to knot the game at two. Just six seconds before the end of the period, first-year Katie Stewart picked up Colgate’s third goal when her shot ended up in the back of the net off a Bobcat stick.
The final two periods proved to be much less eventful, as Colgate claimed the 5-3 victory. Hunt and Stewart added another goal apiece, as they both finished the game with three points. After sophomore Elayna Hamashuk became injured, Wheeler replaced her and stopped all thirteen shots she faced.
“Going into this weekend our focus was to earn home ice for the first time ever. To lose to Princeton 1-0, meaning we only lost home ice by one goal, was definitely a heartbreaker,” Wheeler said. “We must look at the positive side, though, and be proud of our regular season standing. Colgate has never finished as well as we did this year.”
The Raiders finished fifth in the ECAC standings, their best result in program history, and get a chance for revenge this weekend when they travel back to Princeton for the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
“Neither team was able to gain an advantage from last weekend, but it hasdefinitelyintensified the already heightened energy of a playoff series,” senior captainTara French added. “We’re taking the playoffs one team at a time, but we have played extremely well against the other teams in our league this year, so we are full of confidence.”