Men’s Hockey Finds The Road Tough

The Colgate men’s hockey team managed to gain one point from last weekend’s two-game series against a very tough team from Lake Superior State University (LSSU). LSSU kicked off its season impressively, going undefeated for the weekend and beating Colgate for the first time in school history.

In game one on Friday night, the 16th-ranked Raiders never possessed the lead and only by sheer luck did they pull off the tie. Laker junior Trent Campbell struck first, scoring five minutes into the first period. Six minutes later, Colgate senior center Kyle Wilson netted his third goal of the season, putting home a rebound off of LSSU netminder Jeff Jakaitis’ pads. The first period ended in a tie; however, the Raiders would have to play one defenseman short for the rest of the game after sophomore Matt Torti received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting a Lake Superior player from behind.

Six minutes into the second period, LSSU took the lead again after a one-timer by Derek Smith. The score remained 2-1 until late in the third period, when Raider sophomore Jesse Winchester dumped the puck into the Lakers’ zone during a line change. Luckily the puck fluttered past Jakaitis. The fluke goal, however, proved to be the last of the game. At the end of regulation and overtime, the score remained 2-2. Sophomore goaltender, Mark Dekanich, notched 30 saves in only his second game as the starting goaltender for Colgate.

In game two on Saturday, the Raiders did not fare as well as they did the night before, falling 3-2, and receiving their first loss of the season. All the game’s goals were scored in odd-man situations. Jakaitis had to make only 16 saves for the evening, while Dekanich stopped 23 shots for the Raiders.

Colgate took the early lead when junior Mark Fulton scored in the first period, his third tally of the young season. Junior Jeff Rainville tied the game for LSSU, firing a puck from the point past Dekanich. In the second period, Nathan Ward gave the Lakers the lead by putting away a rebound that caromed off the post. Dominic Osman extended that lead to 3-1 in the third period by banging his own rebound into the net on a power play.

The Raiders pulled Dekanich tried to stir up some offense with an extra skater. The plan succeeded in cutting down the lead to 3-2, after senior captain Jon Smyth tipped a shot past Jakaitis. Later, Colgate pulled its goalie again, but could not muster the game-tying goal.

“We played well,” head coach Don Vaughan said. “On Friday night, we played a little tentative, which can be expected with our first road trip of the season and with breaking in some of the new guys. Saturday night, we had some penalty problems and we didn’t capitalize on chances or finish opportunities.

“I thought the games were pretty even, [and I liked] that we never quit and that we battled back.”

Vaughan pointed out Dekanich, Fulton, sophomore Tyler Burton and Wilson as team members that stepped up over the weekend and played big roles in both games.

“We need a more balanced attack, to get other guys scoring and involved, to spread it around,” Vaughan added.

It will take time for the younger, inexperienced guys to come along, but the Raider coach has full faith that they will.

Vaughan was also excited by the return of Colgate alumnus Brad Dexter ’96, who will take over as an assistant coach starting this week.

“He’s an All-American defenseman who knows Colgate and how to play here,” Vaughan said. “He has a great passion for the game and I think the players will be very receptive of him because he’s young and because he just finished playing.”

Vaughan is looking forward to having Dexter by his side on the bench and on the ice to tutor the young players, utilizing his extensive personal experience both in the United States and abroad.

The Raiders travel to West Point this evening to take on the Black Knights of Army. Colgate hopes to salvage its season after a shaky performance last weekend and to make amends for an unexpected loss to the Black Knights last season.