Wilson’s Weekend Can’t Lift Reeling Raiders

Ruben Leavitt

The Raider men’s hockey team came away with a single point from last weekend’s ECACHL match-ups against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and in the process fell into a second-place tie with the Big Green of Dartmouth in the conference.

Seeking to get back on to the winning track after a disappointing weekend against Cornell, the men decided to vent their anger against a tough and gritty St. Lawrence squad. However, this contest proved to be a very close and intense battle between the two squads. Colgate gave up an early goal to go down 1-0, but by midway through the second period the Raider leadership reversed the situation thanks to goals by senior assistant captain Kyle Wilson – his 21st tally of the season – and junior assistant captain Liam Huculak.

Colgate could not hold on to its meager lead, however, and spent much of its energy killing costly penalties. Sophomore Matt Torti’s five-minute major penalty for charging eventually caused the Raiders to fall behind 3-2 halfway through the third period, and that’s how the score remained at the end of regulation. Sophomore starting goaltender Mark Dekanich’s 41 saves for the evening proved not enough to hold his team in the game.

“It’s a tough road trip,” Raider head coach Don Vaughan said. “We got a taste of why St. Lawrence is one of the best teams at home.”

The next evening the Raiders traveled to Clarkson and had a difficult time scoring. Colgate was unable to tie the score after a first period Clarkson goal until there was 12 minutes remaining in the third period. Wilson struck again for the third consecutive game, his 22nd marker of the season, to tie the game at one. After five minutes of overtime neither team could pull ahead, even though junior Marc Fulton took a roughing penalty with a minute to go in the extra period, and so the score ended in a 1-1 tie. Dekanich amassed 24 saves over the course of the night for the Raiders.

For Vaughan, Saturday night’s tie was an acceptable result. “I was pleased with our response against a team that had beat Cornell the night before and was obviously riding that high,” he said. The coach cited untimely penalties as an aspect his team still needed to improve upon, but noted that, at the end of the weekend, his team was still in pretty good standing – one point out of first place.

With so much on the line in the team’s final few league games, Vaughan stressed the importance of playing well.

“We need to be ready to play every night,” Vaughan said. “It’s rare that anyone runs away with this league, but that’s what makes every game exciting.”

The Raiders play their last two home games of the regular season this weekend when they host Harvard and Dartmouth at Starr Rink. Dartmouth, with its 2-1 overtime victory against Princeton, lifted itself to second place alongside Colgate, while Harvard trails closely, only three points behind. Therefore, the top spots in the ECACHL could be determined largely by this weekend’s performances.

Saturday’s game will include a special on-ice ceremony to honor the club’s five seniors who will be playing in their last regular-season home game.