Men’s Hockey Falls To UMass-Lowell

Clark, Alex

The Colgate men’s hockey team came up just short yet again last Friday, losing its third one-goal game of the year to fall to a 7-3-0 record.The Raiders traveled to face UMass-Lowell last week in their second look at a Hockey East opponent. Earlier in the year, the team dropped a tough 4-3 decision to Northeastern on Family Weekend. Luck stayed on the side of Colgate’s Hockey East foe again last Friday, as the River Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Raiders and held on for a 3-2 victory.The game remained tight throughout the first half, as Colgate battled hard well into the second period. The ice began to tilt towards Raider senior netminder Steve Silverthorn midway through the middle frame, however, as Lowell generated many quality chances. Only Silverthorn’s solid play kept the Raiders down just one goal heading into the third period.The River Hawks finally cashed in on some of their chances after the intermission, however, and dug a huge hole for the visiting Raiders. A tally less than a minute into the period and one just three minutes later put Colgate down three goals late in the game.”The game really was taken away at the beginning of the third period,” Colgate head coach Don Vaughan said. “We gave up two quick goals, including one on the opening shift which was not a good goal. That put them up 2-0. Then they added a power play goal to make it 3-0. At that point, we took it to them.”The Raiders snapped back into gear following Lowell’s third goal when first-year Tyler Burton notched his second career goal at the 8:00 mark. Junior Kyle Wilson then sliced the River Hawks lead to one with more than eight minutes left to play in the game. Colgate failed to complete the comeback, however, returning to the locker room with the sinking feeling that accompanies a one-goal loss.”The difference in the game was those five or seven minutes at the start of the third period,” Vaughan said. “I don’t have the answer as to why we came out that way. Our guys have to understand that we have to play with determination for a full 60 minutes.”Colgate nearly came back to earn first- year goalie Mark Dekanich his first career point. Vaughan replaced Silverthorn with Dekanich after Lowell’s eventual game-winning goal as a message to the rest of his team. “It was absolutely just trying to wake some guys up and get them to rally around the [first-year],” Vaughan said of his decision. “It didn’t have anything to do with the way Steve played. He made some big stops. The move seemed to work.”Dekanich turned aside all three shots he faced during his 15 minutes of action, giving a much-needed boost to the first-year who had surrendered three goals on 13 shots against Army earlier this season. “He’s a good goaltender,” Vaughan said. “We’ve got to find opportunities to get him some time and that was a chance. I think the more minutes he gets, the more comfortable he’s going to get.”Colgate generated only 25 shots on net during the game, as it was forced to play at even strength or down a man for most of the contest. Despite the league’s recent push to crack down on interference, which has resulted in contests filled with whistles, the visitors received only a couple of man advantage opportunities during the night.”We only had two power plays the whole game,” Vaughan noted. “They had a 6-2 advantage in power plays, which there might be something to. To only have two power play opportunities this year, especially with the way the games have been called, is very surprising.”While difficult to swallow, the loss came outside of conference play, which the Raiders resume this weekend on the road against Dartmouth and Vermont. The Big Green recently suffered the loss of first-round NHL draft pick Hugh Jessiman for the entire season due to injury, and have struggled out of the gates with a 3-3-0 start. Meanwhile, Vermont and its first-year phenom goalie Joe Fallon have posted a 3-0-1 league record so far and are one of the hottest squads in the ECACHL.”I don’t think you can take anyone lightly in our league,” Vaughan said. “Vermont’s always been tough, especially on its own ice. Dartmouth’s a very good team with or without Hugh Jessiman. When you lose a player of that stature, the rest of the guys have to pick it up, and sometimes that can be a motivational factor.”Colgate hopes to remain undefeated in league action and take another step forward towards an ECACHL regular season crown with a pair of victories up north this weekend.