The Colgate women’s hockey team had an pivotal game on Sunday, playing in its first-ever title game in program history. Unfortunately, No. 4 ranked Colgate fell to No. 2 ranked Clarkson Golden Knights in a 3-0 battle for the ECAC Hockey Championship on Sunday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
Both Colgate and Clarkson had strong defensive performances throughout the entire game. Colgate’s senior defender Lauren Wildfang had a great play at the end of the game to prevent a two-on-one breakaway that was crucial for the Raiders. Junior goaltender Julia Vandyk helped the Raiders as well, serving as their backbone by making critical saves when time was running out.
Colgate struggled in the second period. Despite starting the period off strongly with a power play, the team was unable to capitalize on it. Later in the period, with 6:05 remaining, Clarkson forward Michaela Pejzlova scored on Vandyk. With just 22.4 seconds in the period remaining, Clarkson snuck another goal past the Raiders’ defense. Clarkson’s strong offensive performance continued in the third period, as they put up another goal with nine minutes left in the period. Despite Clarkson’s three goals, Vandyk had a great game, finishing with 25 saves on 28 shots. Vandyk’s save percentage now stands at .926 on the season with a goals against average of 1.79.
This puts the Raiders at a record of 32-5-1 on the season, and the Golden Knights improve to 33-4-1. Despite the loss, this season marks the furthest postseason play for the Raiders in program history. Junior forward Jessie Eldridge was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for February and recently earned herself a spot on the all-tournament team. In the previous game, Eldridge scored the game-winning goal against Cornell, which allowed the Raiders to advance to the championship to face Clarkson. The team has a lot to be proud of as they advance into NCAA tournament play.
“Being in this kind of environment was great. Just building off yesterday, there was a lot of emotion in the game. That’s playoff hockey. For us, we just have to learn and continue to get better. We can dictate play whenever we want to and we have to continue to do that from this point on,” head coach Greg Fargo said.
Vandyk reacted to the loss, “Obviously it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, I think we had a really good start to the game. That’s something we’ve been working on all season and we were able to dominate for a large portion of the game. Unfortunately, they got a couple of lucky bounces to start off the scoring. We had a lot of good chances, we just couldn’t capitalize today. The good thing is that we’re not done yet. We will be playing again next weekend in the quarter-finals for the national title so I think we’re all hoping Clarkson and Colgate cross paths again,” Vandyk said.
For now, the Raiders have to wait to see who they will play next. They find out on Sunday night at 9 p.m. who they will face off against in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Stay tuned to watch the Raiders continue on their journey.
Contact Kate Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.