Men’s Hockey Hosts Connecticut Vying First Win: Hard Fought Contest On Both Sides Ends In a 4-4 Tie

Junior+forward+Evan+Peterson+helps+to+keep+the+pressure+on+the+Huskies%27+goalie+with+a+snapshot.+Peterson+tallied+two+goals+for+the+Raiders%2C+marking+the+first+multiple-goal+game+of+his+career.

Junior forward Evan Peterson helps to keep the pressure on the Huskies’ goalie with a snapshot. Peterson tallied two goals for the Raiders, marking the first multiple-goal game of his career.

Eric Fishbin

The Colgate Raiders welcomed the Connecticut Huskies last Friday October 14 and fought for a 4-4 tie despite being outshot 45-27. An otherwise normal matchup was made special due to a goaltending change for the Raiders.  First-year Colton Point, a fifth round NHL draft pick, made his first collegiate start in net and stopped 41 shots, the most for a Raider goaltender in his debut since the 1999-2000 season.  

The first period was busy for the officials; five penalties were called.  The first call went against Huskies sophomore Maxim Letunov for hooking only 12 seconds into the game.  First-year Bobby McMann capitalized on the power play, scoring his first career goal and giving the Raiders a 1-0 advantage. The Huskies answered twice, with goals from juniors Derek Pratt and David Drake at the 14:00 and 8:27 marks. Junior Evan Peterson finished up the first

period’s scoring by tallying two.  His first goal was assisted by sophomore Adam Dauda, coming at the 5:57 mark.  Shorthanded with under five minutes to go in the first, Peterson found the back of the net again with a twisted wrist shot that just snuck under the blocker of UConn senior goaltender Rob Nichols, giving the Raiders a 3-2 lead at the end of the first.

A scoreless second period was Point’s sharpest, stopping all 16 shots he saw.  The Raiders offense, on the other hand, only put three shots on Nichols. The Raiders held a lead on two separate occasions throughout the game, but UConn scored twice in the third period to take a 4-3 lead, with UConn’s Tage Thompson scoring the go ahead goal.  Raiders senior forward Derek Freeman tied things up with under 10 minutes left.  The Raiders were tested up to the final minutes of regulation, when they had to kill off a boarding minor called on senior Andrew Black.

With time ticking down and overtime looming, the Raiders had a solid opportunity from the slot to ice a 5-4 win, but Nichols stood strong to preserve a tie and force overtime. Defensively, five overtime saves from Point kept the scoreline even until the final whistle. The Raiders penalty kill was 8-8 thanks to strong forechecking from freshman Tyler Penner and the lightning-like glove of Point.  

“We need to do a better job of staying out of the box. We’ve taken too many penalties in all three games this season and we can’t be playing a man down all the time,” senior captain Jake Kulevich said.

Another aspect that the team hopes to improve on during practice is having the defense work as a unit. “We need to continue to work on ‘team’ defense.  We are getting better in that area but we are far from where we want and expect to be.  With only two full weeks of practice under our belts, it is not a big surprise that we need to improve and we will,” head coach Don Vaughan said.

Penner has jumped onto the scene as a first year. Earning a spot on the top penalty kill line, the centerman has won 12-18 face-offs, the best percentage on the team.“Making the jump to a high level of hockey there is an adjustment period, but I think the first-year players have transitioned well and have made an immediate impact on our team,” senior forward Tim Harrison said.  

The Raiders have yet to capture the elusive first win of the 2016-2017 campaign, but will look to do so against Merrimack next weekend at Lawler Arena in North Andover, MA.  This is the first road trip for the Raiders, who have high hopes of returning to NCAA postseason play this season.