Worst Weekend of the Year for Men’s Hockey

Worst Weekend of the Year for Men's Hockey

Alex Clark

The Colgate men’s hockey team stumbled to the finish line of its 2004-05 season, taking only one point on the road against Clarkson and St. Lawrence last weekend. The Raiders finished the season in third place in the ECACHL and will now wait for their first playoff opponent to be determined. Colgate entered last weekend one point behind Harvard for second place in the league. With Harvard facing the fourth and fifth best teams in the conference and with the Raiders holding the tie-breaker between the two clubs, however, a top-two finish seemed altogether plausible for the men in maroon. The Raiders got off to a great start at Clarkson thanks to first-year phenom Tyler Burton. Colgate’s leading scorer burst in on the right wing and fired a shot under the crossbar just five minutes into the contest to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Golden Knights scored six minutes later with a two-man advantage to even the score at 1-1. But the Raiders answered back with a power-play goal of their own. Sophomore defenseman Mike Campaner, who had gone 11 games without registering a point before Friday night, picked up his third goal and 17th point of the year when his long slap shot redirected off of a Clarkson stick and above the flailing glove of goalie Dustin Traylen.Burton struck again midway through the second period from much the same spot on the ice. His wrist shot nicked off of the outstretched glove of Traylen and into the net for his second goal of the game, giving Colgate a 3-1 advantage.Burton scored three times on the weekend and added an assist, pushing his points total to 30 in just 32 games played in a Raiders jersey. The Langley, British Columbia, native was named the ECACHL Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week.”He’s a great player,” Colgate head coach Don Vaughan said. “The puck has a way of finding him, and he finishes. He’s a great freshman, and if we had a couple more like that we’d be in good shape.”The Raiders entered the third period with a seemingly commanding 3-1 lead. Prior to Friday night, Colgate boasted a daunting 16-1-0 record when leading after two periods. But Clarkson chipped away at their deficit early, scoring less than five minutes into the final frame to slice the lead in half. Then, with its goaltender off the ice in favor of an extra attacker, Clarkson came through with a thrilling game-tying goal with just one second remaining on the clock. Jay Latulippe, the Golden Knight’s sixth man, crashed the net and chipped home a rebound to complete the Clarkson comeback and force Colgate to settle for a 3-3 tie.”It’s disappointing,” Vaughan said. “We don’t normally give up late goals. We’re a pretty good team with the lead, especially that late in the game. They kept the puck in our end and we couldn’t clear it.”Despite the tie, Colgate managed to retake second place in the league thanks to a Harvard loss to Dartmouth. A victory against St. Lawrence would insure the Raiders the second seed for the playoffs. The Saints ruined any hopes of a Colgate victory early, however, scoring three times in Saturday night’s first six minutes, including twice in the first 48 seconds. The Saints third goal proved especially painful. St. Lawrence leading scorer T.J. Trevelyan attempted to ring the puck around the boards deep in the Colgate end to allow his team to change players. As Raider senior goalie Steve Silverthorn went behind his net to play the puck, however, the puck took an odd bounce off of a partition in the glass and slid directly into a wide open net.”We had a couple of bad bounces go against us,” Vaughan said. “The one that really stung was the one that bounced off of the glass. After that, I thought we played really well. But St. Lawrence really played solid in its own rink and [St. Lawrence goalie Mike] McKenna made some huge saves.”Colgate put the pressure on St. Lawrence for the rest of the game, outscoring the Saints 3-2 and bringing the final score to 5-3. Senior tri-captain Adam Mitchell scored in the second period with a hard-working rebound goal to cut the lead to 3-1. Down, 4-1, at the beginning of the third period, Burton buried his third tally of the weekend when he dove for a loose puck in front of the St. Lawrence cage and whacked it past McKenna. But the Raiders could never close the gap, and the Saints added an empty net goal with 30 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory. Colgate junior Kyle Wilson’s late goal served only to pad his stats, as Colgate dropped to third in the ECACHL with the loss.With the tough weekend, Colgate all but eliminated itself from consideration for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders now most likely must win the ECACHL Tournament, which begins for most teams this weekend. By finishing in the league’s top four, however, Colgate earned a first round bye, and will wait to host Brown, St. Lawrence, Union, Clarkson or Princeton beginning on March 11. Tickets for the ECACHL Quarterfinals series can be purchased at the Colgate box office. The first 300 students who arrive will be paid for, compliments of University President Rebecca Chopp. Otherwise, reserved seats will cost $10, general admission will cost $6 and students and children under 12-years old pay $4.