The Raiders had yet another successful weekend after getting a tie against Yale and a huge win over Brown. The Raiders are now 4-0-1 in their last five games, earning them a key first round bye in the ECAC Hockey Tournament starting up this week. The Raiders end their regular season play with an overall record of 19-11-4.
This past Friday night, the Raiders battled it out against the Bulldogs on foreign ice. While the first period was rather slow with both teams battling hard to get the first tally of the game on the board, the second period saw a lot of action in front of the net. Junior forward Mike Borkowski netted the first Raider goal of the night, putting Colgate up over the Bulldogs. Soon after, however, Yale retaliated with two quick goals separated by a mere 13 seconds. Minutes into the third, junior forward Tyson Spink tallied his 13th goal of the season and tied the game up for the Raiders.
As the game went into overtime, neither team was able to put one between the pipes. This tie was especially key for the Raiders because they gained a valuable point from it in the ECAC standings. In terms of statistics, the Raiders beat the Bulldogs in terms of shots on net, 33-25. In addition, Colgate dominated Yale on face-offs, 35-22.
“The Yale game was a really well played game by both teams, we both play similar styles with speed and skill. I liked our resiliency in terms of coming back after allowing two goals back-to-back after going up 1-0,” Borkowski said.
The next night, the Raiders traveled to Providence, R.I. to face-off against Brown. Despite Kyle Baun’s goal in the first period, the Raiders trailed 2-1 to the Bears for the majority of the game. In the third period, however, the Raiders dominated Brown, scoring three consecutive goals to give them a 4-2 victory. The goals came from sophomore Jake Kulevich, junior Tyson Spink and sophomore Tim Harrison, respectively. The Raiders and the Bears were relatively close on both shots on net (38-34, Colgate) and face-off wins (31-31). The Raiders, however, were able to capitalize better on their offensive opportunities than the Bears.
“Against Brown, we fought back from two one-goal deficits. It really shows the determination and character of our veteran team. Everyone contributed by working hard, and we were rewarded with a much-needed win to get us a bye going into the first round of the playoffs,” Harrison said when asked about his thoughts on the Brown game.
With the regular season over, the Raiders are preparing for the ECAC tournament. Although their season has not gone exactly to plan, the Raiders have done remarkably well considering all the injuries to their players, especially captain Spiro Goulakos.
“Ultimately, I’m really proud of our team’s success. To be able to get a bye with the amount of adversity we’ve faced this year with injuries is an accomplishment in itself,” Borkowski said when asked about the Raiders season as a whole.
ECAC hockey is some of the best in the country, and the tournament will showcase that fact. While the Raiders have done well overall against their ECAC opponents this season, they have still struggled against a few very tough opponents (such as Harvard) that they will undoubtedly come across again in this tournament. I believe that the Raiders are mentally prepared for the tournament. The first round bye is also a huge pick up for the Raiders, as it only helps them get that much closer to claiming the championship title. The team has been under great leadership this season from the senior veterans on the team, and it has become apparent in the last couple of games that the rest of the team is determined to make the seniors go out on top.
“Going into the ECAC playoffs, we have confidence in our game plan: be hard to play against and outwork our opponents. We are going to be facing some stiff competition so it will be key for us to be focused on our game 30 seconds at a time and control what we can control,” Harrison said.