Men’s Hockey Triumphant in Overtime Winner

MONEY MITTON: Men’s Hockey celebrates after Junior Ross Mitton’s overtime winner propelled the Raiders to a 4-3 win over Princeton.

Shelley Szwast

MONEY MITTON: Men’s Hockey celebrates after Junior Ross Mitton’s overtime winner propelled the Raiders to a 4-3 win over Princeton.

It has been an up-and-down start to the season for Colgate Men’s Hockey, but there is no denying that this year’s squad is loaded with talent. That talent was on display last Saturday when the Raiders rolled into Hobey Baker Rink looking to take care of business against a tough Princeton team. 

The Tigers and Raiders both came into the matchup hungry – looking to snap their respective three-game winless skids. Each side was locked-in during warmups, and the normally crisp rink air was just a little bit thicker with the tension that accompanies a must-win situation. The game did not disappoint. 

Princeton got on the board first, scoring within the first six minutes of the puck drop. Unfazed, the Raiders answered back five minutes later when sophomore defenseman Nic Belpedio, off an assist by first-year Simon Labelle, blasted a shot into Princeton’s net and tied the score at 1-1. The rest of the first period was uneventful from a scoring standpoint, as the Raiders’ lone action was fending off a potential Tiger scoring chance with a nice penalty kill around the eight-minute mark.

Princeton regained the lead in the second period with a goal at 12:52 to make it 2-1 Tigers. The rest of the second period was a gritty affair – both teams created some nice scoring chances but neither was able to convert. 

Around two minutes into the third period, the Raiders capitalized on a power play; an excellent sequence from Alex Young, Ethan Manderville and Colton Young ended in the latter scoring the equalizing goal for the Raiders to make the score 2-2. The pendulum swung yet again when Princeton took the lead for the third time, three minutes later, with a goal to make the score 3-2. 

Again, the Raiders remained unfazed, and they collectively gritted their teeth and pushed through the adversity. The last ten minutes of the third period saw the Raiders inflict nothing short of crushing offensive pressure on a Princeton defense that was beginning to waver. Thirteen was the lucky number for freshman Simon Labelle, as he netted his first-ever goal in a Raiders tarp 13 minutes into the third period, tying the score yet again at 3-3. 

And then the fireworks: less than a minute into overtime, there was a flurry of passes — Colton Young to Nick Anderson to Ross Mitton — and just like that the Raiders had done it. It was Mitton who sealed the deal for the Raiders with a snipe from just inside the blue line. Final score: 4-3 Raiders. 

Junior forward Alex Young talked about the team’s clutch ability.

It was a must-win game for us, and although we didn’t play our best, we continued to battle after being down three different times in the game,” he said.

Even though the season is still young, this was a huge win for the Raiders who hope to ride this momentum into their upcoming games. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the victory was the team’s tenacity to come back from being down three separate times. Mitton deservedly was the hero, but make no mistake: this was a team win through and through. The Raiders battled through the pressure and, crucially, kept their defensive line strong when it counted. It is also worth mentioning that goalie Carter Gylander racked up an impressive 33 saves during the game. 

Head Coach Don Vaughn raved about the win.

We always say that it’s never easy to win in this league and tonight that was certainly the case,” he told Colgate University Athletics. “Princeton played a great game, and [Gylander] had to make some big stops to keep us in it. I liked how we competed in the third period and the composure the guys showed after they pulled ahead. What can I say about Ross Mitton? He is in the zone right now. So, I should probably just get out of his way.”

Mitton echoed the sentiments from his coach: “I mean, yeah, it was a great feeling to score the overtime winner. Being able to secure the win was huge for us as a group after how we battled.”

It was, ultimately, the team-wide perseverance, aggressiveness, and composure that propelled the Raiders to a vital, show-stopping win.