The men’s ice hockey team had quite a successful weekend against Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. The Raiders have won their last three games by a substantial margin and have done an exceptional job of dominating their opponents up and down the ice. With only two games left in regular season play, will the Raiders keep the ball rolling?
The Raiders came out of the gate in the game against Union ready to play. The Raiders were able to successfully secure sophomore keeper Charlie Finn another shutout after junior forward Tyson Spink and senior forward Joe Wilson tallied the Raiders only two goals for the game. Despite their early lead, the Raiders continued to dominate for the remaining two periods.
“We played our brand of hockey for the better part of the game as well,” said senior forward John Lidgett.
What he means by this is that the Raiders were able to capitalize on their offensive opportunities, dug hard in the corners and were unrelenting in their fore-check and defensive play up and down the ice. I have not seen that level of intensity and the desire to win from the Raiders since earlier this season.
In large part their intensity seemed to have been sparked by their first goal. Coming from behind has been a reoccurring theme throughout the Raiders’ season so far, and playing with a lead certainly affected the team’s morale and mentality against Union.
“Playing with a lead is much better than trailing by a couple,” junior forward Tylor Spink said when asked about the game versus Union.
While Union tallied more shots on net than the Raiders did (35 vs. 28), Colgate did a great job in their defensive zone and did not give up the second and third follow up shots, trusting that Finn would be able to make the initial stop.
“I thought we played a great game defensively and kept their scoring chances to a minimum,” said junior forward Tyson Spink.
The game against Rensselaer was much more back and forth than the Union tilt. The Spink brothers led the charge for the Raiders, tallying two goals and four assists during the game. Tylor scored off an assist from Tyson just a minute into the contest. Before the end of the first period, Rensselaer was able to tie it up. Colgate soon recovered and reclaimed their one-goal lead at the hands of the Spink brothers once again. This time, however, it was Tyson who scored the goal off the assist from Tylor. With two more goals from junior forwards Darcy Murphy and Kyle Baun, the Raiders were able to secure their victory over RPI.
“We lost some 1-on-1 battles in the later parts of periods which you never want to do. Aside from that it was a solid game for us,” Lidgett said.
Saturday night’s win over Rensselaer was actually a lot more important than just getting the Raiders another tally in their win column: it was Senior Night. A total of six seniors are graduating this year.
With all of their families at Starr Rink watching them play their last home game, a win meant a lot to the seniors who will not return to the program next season. Luckily, however, the Raiders have a deep team and will flourish under the leadership of the current juniors next season.
“They lead our team on and off the ice and will continue to lead us throughout the remainder of our season. They are a special group of guys that have done a lot for Colgate hockey,” Tyson Spink said when asked about the influence of the seniors this season.
This weekend, the Raiders’ regular season will come to an end after they battle it out with Brown and Yale. With the ECAC Hockey Tournament just around the corner, the Raiders need to have a good week of practice and play their “brand” of hockey against these two Ivy League opponents. In preparation for these last two tilts, the Raiders are taking it one day at a time for practice.
“It starts with a good week of practice, paying attention to detail and being confident that we have what it takes to get two big wins this weekend,” Tylor Spink said.
The Raiders lost to Yale and beat Brown earlier this season, so this weekend should be very interesting. Going into the tournament on a five-game win streak would be a huge confidence booster for the Raiders and could put a lot of undoubtedly tough tournament games in their favor.