The Colgate women’s ice hockey team continued its impressive start to the season with back-to-back 4-3 and 6-0 home wins against Merrimack College.
In the first game of the series on Friday, the two teams went back and forth until the last minute of the third period. After Merrimack took an early goal lead in the first period, a barrage of shots and offensive pressure by the Raiders eventually ended in a goal by junior forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett with about three minutes to play.
For most of the second period, it seemed like neither team could find the back of the net. However, with 2:31 to play in the second, senior captain and defender Cat Quirion scored the Raiders’ second power play goal of the game. Later in the period, with just 12 seconds left, the Raiders took a 3-1 lead off a one-timer by junior forward Megan Sullivan.
In the third, Merrimack battled back, tying the game at 3-3 halfway through the period. As the clock began to wind down, the Raiders found themselves on a power play. With only 17.2 seconds left to play, sophomore defender Olivia Zafuto was able to light the lamp off of a rebound, scoring the eventual game-winner.
Head Coach Greg Fargo shared his thoughts after the game on Friday.
“Overall I thought it was a really good game by us. It was our best game of the year. A lot of credit to our team for persevering here tonight and I like the way we played for a majority of the game, minus maybe a couple of shifts throughout. Overall a really positive night,” Fargo said.
Colgate carried the momentum from the previous game into Saturday’s tilt. First period goals by sophomore forward Bailey Larson, junior captain and forward Annika Zalewski, and sophomore forward Jessie Eldridge put the Raiders up 3-0, giving them some breathing room going into the second.
Coach Fargo acknowledged the significance of the first period scoring, emphasizing how important it was to get off to a fast start.
“I thought our team played really well tonight. Our start was a key component of the game. We came out and got the start we wanted and never really looked back,” Fargo said.
The Raiders’ scoring success continued into the second period as first-year forward Anonda Hoppner and junior forward Shelby Perry both scored goals, increasing the lead to 5-0. An early third period goal by Larson was the perfect end to a successful day for the Raiders’ offense. Not to be overlooked though was sophomore goalie Julia Vandyk’s stellar performance. Vandyk stopped all 23 shots she faced en route to Colgate’s first shutout of the season.
After the game, Coach Fargo was very pleased with what he saw from his team.
“We’re starting to see some of the habits come to life that we’ve been preaching and talking about for a few weeks; it’s great to see,” Fargo said.
The Raiders will look to continue their strong start as they take on Syracuse in a two-game series this Friday and Saturday.