The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate Men’s Ice Hockey Returns to ECAC Play

Colgate Athletics / Mary Grygier

The Colgate University men’s ice hockey team has opened the 2023-24 season 3-5-2 across their first ten games, amounting to six points and eighth place in the ECAC standings.

While it has been a relatively slow start to the season, the team started last season 4-5-1 across their first 10 games. And how did last year finish? With the ECAC Championship — just their second title in program history and their first in 33 years.

Plus, the Raiders have already shown their ability to quickly turn the tide early in the season. After dropping a tough game to Brown University 3-2, they came back the night after and beat Yale University 7-1 — their highest-scoring and probably most dominant game of the season.

Senior captain Pierson Brandon — hailing from Irvington, NY — spoke about the big win.

“We showed resilience and bounced back and played the way we know we can. It just has to become a mindset for us and not reacting to a loss,” Brandon said.

Senior forward and Alberta native Levi Glasman added to this sentiment.

“We feel we have lost some games we shouldn’t have, so seeing us come out with a good response has been a great step in the right direction,” Glasman said.

Glasman appears to be right, as the Raiders’ record does not reflect how well they have been playing. Their +3 goal differential is third-best in the conference, trailing only Quinnipiac’s +24 and Cornell’s +13. They’re also tied with Union for the second most goals in the conference with 31, behind Quinnipiac’s 43.

Starting goaltender and senior Carter Gylander highlighted one of the most important things for any team: chemistry.

Our team is coming together and we’re building chemistry each day. I think that was one of our biggest strengths last year and played a huge role in our success last season, so that’s a big emphasis for this year. I think we have a lot of skill, playmakers and speed on our team, which makes us a fun team to watch, Gylander said.

Not to mention, the Raiders are coming off a very recent coaching change, as longtime coach Don Vaughan retired just last season. So, transitions like these naturally take some time.

“We are playing a very different style than past years and it’s taken a bit of time to work out the kinks, but it’s clicking and we’re showing shades of domination,” Brandon said.

Donald F. Vaughn Head Men’s Hockey Coach Mike Harder who took over in June 2023 — has a very special connection to Colgate. Not only is he a Colgate ice hockey alumnus, graduating with the Class of ’97, but he is the program’s all-time leading scorer, tallying 214 points.

Harder also has years of professional hockey experience in North America and Europe, was an assistant coach at Colgate from 2013-2019 and founded his own hockey program for youth players of all ages. During his time as assistant coach, he helped to recruit some of the senior members of the team. With experience as a player, coach and entrepreneur, it will be very exciting to see where Coach Harder takes this Raiders squad.

Just this weekend, the team took on Harvard and Dartmouth at the Class of 1965 Arena in what was an especially exciting weekend, as the team raised their ECAC Championship banner and honored longtime head coach Don Vaughan for his 30 years at the helm of the program. The Raiders were able to pull off an upset, defeating 20th ranked Harvard in a shootout after tying 2-2 through regulation and overtime.

Moving on to their roster, the Raiders did lose their top two scorers from last season: Alex Young, who transferred to Arizona State, and Matt Verboon, who graduated and is now playing professionally in Switzerland.

Still, plenty of players from last year’s title-winning squad are on the ice. Senior goaltender Carter Gylander — who won MVP of the ECAC tournament last year — has allowed 2.40 goals/game this season, the fifth best in the conference

Seniors Nick Anderson and Ross Mitton, both among the top five in points on the Raiders last season, are still beasts. Pierson Brandon, ECAC leader in blocked shots last season with 84, is still leading a strong defense and was promoted from assistant captain to captain this season. He has been living up to his status as captain, tallying six points, two power-play goals and 19 blocks so far — tied for second most in the conference.

In addition to their seniors, junior defensemen Tommy Bergsland has already tallied nine points, which leads the Raiders, and eight assists, which sits at third most in the conference. Junior forward Ryan McGuire has tallied three goals and three assists — and the most face-off wins in the conference with 130. Junior forward Brett Chorske has also added six points of his own, a new addition to the team as he transferred to the Raiders’ squad this year after two seasons at Colorado College.

As for the rest of their schedule, the Raiders have another 24 games from now through March — including two back-to-back against Cornell University in early December.

Looking at their schedule ahead, Gylander and Glasman noted their excitement for the rivalry weekend against Cornell.

The Cornell series is always one of the most exciting and anticipated weekends I look forward to,” Gylander said. Last year’s atmosphere was unmatched and playing in those packed environments gets the adrenaline going. There’s nothing like it.

“The Cornell series is always fun and the history just makes the weekend that much more competitive,” Glasman echoed.

The game at home against Cornell will be played on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Unlike prior years, Colgate Athletics is requiring students to download tickets on their phones ahead of puck drop.

Finally, most of the players have a similar mindset as they progress into the season: capitalizing on opportunities and closing games out.

“We are creating tons of opportunities for ourselves with our new style, but we are falling short and dropping games because we aren’t capitalizing,” Brandon said.

“[We’d] like to improve by playing a full 60 minutes and burying our chances when we can,” Glasman added.

Coming off their title last year, the men’s hockey team looks to rely on their experience and confidence and, hopefully, make another championship run.

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