Men’s Hockey Defeats RPI In First-Round ECAC Series, Advances to Quarter-Finals

Cassie Warwick, Maroon-News Staff

The Colgate men’s hockey team kicked off the ECAC Hockey Tournament at the Class of 1965 Arena this past weekend. On Friday, March 2, No. 5 Colgate faced No. 11 RPI in the first round of the series. After competing with the Engineers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Raiders defeated the visitors in the best-of-three series and will advance to the quarter-finals.

On Friday, the Raiders hosted the first ever home playoff game in the new Class of 1965 Arena. Colgate took a 1-0 lead in the series over Rensselaer. With a 3-1 victory, the Raiders extended their winning streak to four games. With only 13:46 left in the first period, first-year defenseman Trevor Cosgrove fired the first goal of the game past Rensselaer’s goaltender Linden Marshall. Cosgrove was assisted by first-year defenseman Nick Austin. 

Although the Raiders held the Engineers scoreless in the first period, RPI responded with a goal in the second period. With 9:12 to go in the second period, junior forward Hunter Racine scored the game-winning goal after a one-on-one against Marshall. In the last 3.6 seconds of the game, senior forward Mike Panowyk scored on Rensselaer’s empty net. Sophomore goaltender Colton Point played a major role in the Raiders’ victory, saving 26 of 27 shots on goal. The Raiders also dominated in faceoffs, with junior forward Adam Dauda leading Colgate with 13 faceoff wins. 

“A good start will be really important. We often say that, but in a game like that tomorrow night where we’re trying to close a team out will be tough. It’s not a cliché; you’re going to see their best game of the year. It’s hard to put a team away,” head coach Don Vaughan said before Saturday’s game.

In the second game of the series, the Raiders fell to the Engineers 0-1. With 7:17 left in the first period, Rensselaer scored the only goal of the game. Despite the loss, Point continued to illustrate his impressive goaltending skills. Point stopped 25 out of the 26 shots he faced, continuing his streak of allowing no more than two goals in a game in each of his last ten starts. Colgate had five power play opportunities but the Raiders failed to capitalize on these chances. Although they lost, the Raiders once again beat the Engineers in faceoffs 40-33 and outshot them 25-13.

On Sunday, March 4, the puck dropped at 7 p.m. at Class of 1965 Arena in a winner-take-all Game 3. The Raiders beat the Engineers 2-0 in Game 3 to advance to the ECAC tournament quarterfinals. 837 Raider fans filed into the arena to watch Colgate beat Rensselaer 2-0. 

Both teams remained scoreless until late in the second period when first-year forward Josh McKechney found the back of the net. He was assisted by junior defenseman Willie Brooks, his sixth assist and seventh point of the season. The next goal came with 3:05 left in the final period by first-year forward Evan Tschumi. The Raiders’ defense combined with Point’s 23 saves kept the Engineers scoreless for the entire game. 

“We were able to generate a lot of chances while limiting theirs. It definitely felt like one of our better full game efforts,” sophomore forward Bobby McMann said.

The Raiders move onto the ECAC Hockey Tournament quarter-finals next weekend. Colgate will travel to Potsdam, New York to face Clarkson. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 9 to kick off quarter-finals weekend. 

Contact Cassie Warwick at [email protected].