The Colgate women’s ice hockey team went 1-1 over the weekend, topping no. 8 St. Lawrence on Friday night for the team’s eighth annual Autism Awareness Game and then falling to no. 3 Clarkson at home on Saturday. The Raiders improve to 23-4-1 on the season as they move toward the final stretch of the ECAC season.
The 5-2 victory over St. Lawrence was the team’s seventh straight win and came in front of a big crowd in Hamilton on Friday evening. It was a resilient effort by the Raiders who battled back after falling behind 2-0 early on. The win set a program record for victories in a season (it was their 23rd) and improved the team’s home record to an astounding 15-0-1. Junior goalkeeper Julia Vandyk put forth a strong performance in goal, stopping 26 shots by St. Lawrence. Junior forward Jessie Eldridge had a fantastic night, scoring two goals and dishing out an assist as well, ending the night with a +4 plus-minus.
The plus minus statistic records the goal differential; a player receives a plus when she is on the ice and her team scores a shorthanded goal, and a minus if she is on the ice and the opposing team scores. Senior forward Shelby Perry was +3 and ended the night with two assists. Senior forward Annika Zalewski also went +3 on the evening, netting her seventh goal of the season late in the first period. The win propelled the Raiders to 10-4-1 in conference play. Head coach Greg Fargo cited the support from the community as partially responsible for the team’s success.
“The community really rallies around us for this game – both the local Hamilton community and the Colgate community. It’s become a big event. We love seeing all the blue shirts and the blue apparel. It really gets us going,” Fargo said.
Following the hard-fought victory on Friday night, the Raiders fell to third-ranked Clarkson University, losing 5-3 on Saturday afternoon. The loss was just the Raiders’ fourth loss of the season, after Clarkson used the second period to propel itself to a big road win. It was their first home loss of the season. Junior defender Olivia Zafuto contributed to all three Raider goals, dishing out two assists and scoring a goal herself in an excellent all-around game; Zafuto has now scored four goals in the team’s last three games.
Senior forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett scored her ninth goal of the season in the third period, cutting the Clarkson lead to one late in the game. Clarkson capitalized on Colgate’s empty net after Vandyk was pulled in a last-chance attempt to tie the game. Unable to put up any points, Colgate’s 10-game win streak came to an end, as Clarkson improved to 23-3-1 on the year.
“Clarkson is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them and what they do. But I mean, that was a great hockey game. It was back and forth. There were opportunities at both ends. I thought it was just an exciting game for everybody to watch. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the bounces tonight and ended up on the wrong side,” Fargo said of the loss.
With only six games remaining in regular season play, the Raiders will battle a few tough Ivy League foes this weekend, hitting the road to take on ECAC competitors Dartmouth on Friday, February 2, and then Harvard on Saturday, Feb. 3, as they look to finish their season with a win.
Contact Gabe Alter at [email protected]