Men’s Hockey Enters Season Primed for Success

The Colgate Men’s Hockey team is set to kick off their season on Oct. 1 against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). RPI is set to be a formidable opponent, coming off a season in which they finished 18-18-4 and made it to the ECAC semifinals. In a season of ups and downs, including a winning streak of 5 games in a row and a losing streak of 7 games, the Raiders ended the year strong by making a nice run in the conference tournament and eventually bowing out to Quinnipiac. The 2022 season marks a new start for the team, though, and expectations are high.

Junior defenseman Pierson Brandon commented on his expectations for the team this year.

“Let’s just say we expect a way more consistent year than last year. Not dropping as many games, staying in it with a more experienced group. We expect to go further than we did. I think we grew as a team and we know what we need to do to get where we want to be,” Brandon said.

The team did well last year, but with high offseason expectations, it’s up to the team to continue to meet and even exceed their goals. It is a long season, and maintaining team chemistry and morale is immensely important, something that the team has placed a huge emphasis on as they’ve prepared to get the season underway. Junior goaltender Carter Gylander commented on the importance of team chemistry.

“The chemistry over the last two years has been great and we are carrying that into this year with our returners and our freshmen. You can tell when we’re at the rink that we’re all really excited for this year and have high expectations for what’s to come. Everybody is excited to be there on a daily basis and is looking forward to playing games every weekend,” Gylander said.

The exhibitions at RPI and the home game against Guelph will provide a great opportunity for the team to catch their stride and start building up for the season. The first real games are a doubleheader against Northern Michigan on Oct. 7 and 8 here in Hamilton. The Raiders will look to have a successful non-conference schedule as they also take on Arizona State, Merrimack and Vermont before opening up ECAC play against Quinnipiac, the team that ended their season last year. 

With 14 upperclassmen, this is an experienced group with key playoff experience after last year’s conference semifinal run in Lake Placid. Although they couldn’t secure the win, the experience proved to be crucial in a potential postseason push. 

When asked about the conference tournament run last year, Junior forward Ross Mitton said, “With a lot of guys coming back after what we went through in the playoffs and coming up just short in the ECAC playoffs, I think that is something that gives us a lot of motivation going into the season. More guys will be able to step up and really play their roles and all of this experience will give us a lot of depth in the lineup.”

Expectations are high, but the team is ready to meet and hopefully exceed them. There are a lot of games to be played, but the importance of a strong start cannot be overstated. The team is looking to do just that, and fans are just as excited to see the men’s hockey team win some games.