Men’s and Women’s Hockey Begin the Road to NCAA College Hockey Tournament Glory

Rob Rasmussen/Colgate University

Women’s Hockey: 

The Colgate Women’s Hockey team found themselves down 1-0 early in the first period of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship game against Yale University on Saturday, Mar. 5. Nevertheless, the Raiders held down the fort with first-year goaltender Hannah Murphy keeping the score 1-0 for the remainder of the first and second period, eventually stopping 35 of 36 shots when all was said and done. 

After coming from behind in Friday’s game against Quinnipiac University, the Raiders did it again against Yale. Junior forward Kaitlyn O’Donohoe scored the equalizer a minute and a half into the third period, where the score would remain for the rest of regulation, sending the matchup into an overtime period. 

Five minutes into overtime, Colgate’s sophomore forward Kalty Kaltounkova intercepted the puck on Yale’s blue line, skated into a one-on-one with the Yale goaltender and scored the championship winning goal on a backhanded shot. The goal solidified the Raiders’ defense of their ECAC title from last season, and clinched the team an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s hockey tournament. 

“Tonight was everything that a championship game should be,” said Colgate Women’s Hockey Coach Greg Fargo. “Two very strong teams giving it everything they had and a game going to overtime to settle an ECAC championship. Our team has really become one the past handful of weeks and it was just a joy to watch them celebrate together today. We’re excited to be conference champions and to have an opportunity to continue this journey we’re on together in the NCAA tournament, hopefully right at home in Hamilton, N.Y.” 

The Colgate women’s hockey team had an unforgettable postseason journey. They swept rival Cornell in two games, highlighted by Murphy’s 27 save shutout in the first game, which ended with a 1-0 overtime victory for the Raiders. After sweeping Cornell, the Raiders headed to New Haven to face Quinnipiac where, after trailing 2-1 in the third period, they came back to win 3-2. 

Next up for Colgate is the NCAA women’s hockey tournament, where they look to avenge their first round defeat from last season and bring the first women’s national championship trophy to Hamilton. They have secured a first round bye in the expanded 11 team tournament and will have a rematch against Yale in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.


Olivia Hokanson/Colgate Athletics

Men’s Hockey: 

The road to Lake Placid for the NCAA men’s hockey tournament began this past weekend for the Colgate men’s hockey team, as they swept the Yale Bulldogs in the first round of the ECAC tournament. 

Fans packed the Class of 1965 Arena this past Friday to witness senior forward Josh McKechney lead the Raiders to a win in Game 1 of the series for Colgate durinng an overtime thriller. The Raiders carried that momentum into Saturday’s Game 2 as they dominated Yale 5-1 to complete the sweep. The win propelled the Raiders into the next round of the ECAC tournament.

The team will now have to shift their attention to their neighbors in Ithaca. Cornell University, Colgate’s biggest rival in hockey, will be the Raiders’ next step along the road to Lake Placid. The Raiders will face their upstate rivals in the ECAC Quarterfinals next weekend. The matchup will not be a cakewalk; all three games will take place at Cornell’s Lynah Ice Rink, an arena famous for its student section. During the regular season, Colgate won both games against Cornell, beating them 3-2 at home and winning in a shootout at Lynah. 

When asked about the prospect of playing Cornell, first-year defenseman Tommy Bergsland recalled the home and home series as one of the moments that gave the team momentum. 

“First big win of the year [against] one of the top 15 teams at the time [in a] rivalry game.”

That series was the first of a six-game winning streak for Colgate, part of a stretch that included going 8-2 to end the season, propelling them to the five seed in the ECAC. That momentum carried over into the first round of the playoffs with the team’s sweep of Yale University. 

Colgate looks to advance to Lake Placid for the first time since 2015. The Raiders were a tough team to play against all season; they beat Cornell already twice in the regular season and the attitude in the locker room right now is that they can go far.

First-year defenseman Nick Belpido was confident and straightforward in his description of the team’s attitude heading into the playoffs.

“Do whatever we have to do to win. … We are a confident group,” Belpido said. 

Cornell also ended their season on a high note going on a three game win streak to end the season, clinching the first round bye in the playoffs. They were 12-6-4 in the conference with 28 points. While Colgate looks to go back to Lake Placid for the first time since 2015, Cornell has made it to the NCAA tournament in each of their last three played seasons (the 2020 tournament was canceled). 

The first game of the ECAC Quarterfinal series against Cornell will be Friday, March 11 in Ithaca. Colgate will have to play their best hockey to have a chance to win and move on to the NCAA’s in Lake Placid.