This past weekend, the men’s hockey team traveled to Cambridge and then up to Hanover, NH to battle it out when Harvard and Dartmouth, respectively. Despite their eager anticipation to redeem themselves against the Crimson, the Raiders fell to Harvard for the second time this season, losing 1-4.
Although this loss undoubtedly shook them mentally, they were able to rebound and came out on the ice ready to make a statement against Dartmouth on Saturday. The final tally: Raiders 3, Dartmouth 0.
About four weeks ago, Colgate played Harvard for a home tilt and got beat 5-0. Naturally, the Raiders wanted some revenge on such a devastating loss and looked forward to their trip to Bright-Landry Hockey Rink for some redemption. The Crimson, however, came out onto their home ice ready to dominate. Not only did they notch their first two goals within two minutes of each other in the first period, but they were also able to get a 4-0 lead before the Raiders found the back of the net. Sophomore Tim Harrison finally tallied a goal for the Raiders, recording his sixth of the season on a Raider power play six minutes into the third period.
“Those first two goals were too easy. You can’t give up easy goals like that. It’s very draining to have to work your way back into a game like that,” head coach Don Vaughan said of his team falling behind 2-0 in the first period.
Coming from behind has been a recent theme in the men’s hockey games, and it is certainly not easy to come back against a highly ranked team in the ECAC like Harvard. There were many pluses to the Harvard game, as illustrated by junior defenseman Ryan Johnston.
“We pressed and put a lot of pressure [on Harvard]. Harvard is a good team and was able to withstand our pressure and pull out with the win.”
The score to the Harvard tilt was also a little misleading when looking at the Raider’s performance. In terms of shots on net, the Raiders had 26 shots compared to Harvard’s 28. The Raiders also dominated on face-offs, besting Harvard 37 to 25. While the team generates plenty of offensive opportunities and shots on goal, they need to continue to work on finding the back of the net.
The Raiders bounced back from the tough loss Friday night and pummeled Dartmouth 3-0, getting first-year keeper Zac Hamilton his first career shutout. Hamilton recorded 22 saves in the effort.
“In contrast to Harvard, we had our foot on the gas early and didn’t slow down as we got Hamilton his first win and shutout. As a whole, I thought the team played well,” Johnston said.
On the power play midway through the first mark, senior forward John Lidgett scored the first Raider goal. After fellow senior forward Joe Wilson tallied the second Raider goal, Lidgett sealed the game by scoring his second. Vaughan and injured captain Spiro Goulakos were very pleased with the Raiders’ overall performance during the Dartmouth game.
“Spiro said on the bench ‘we’re back.’ What he meant by that was that we were winning all of the battles for loose pucks. We won a lot of one-on-one battles tonight, something that we didn’t do last night,” Vaughan said.
This coming weekend the Raiders prep for their last two homes games of the season. Friday night they play Union and Saturday they play Rensselaer. The puck drops for both games at 7 p.m. in Starr Rink.
In thinking about the last two home games, Johnston said, “We are preparing like any other weekend, but want to end on a high note and on a winning streak heading into the post-season.”
With only four games left in regular season play, it is very critical for the Raiders to continue to leave everything they have out on the ice. Five straight wins going into the ECAC Hockey Tournament – starting March 6 – would give the Raiders momentum against tough teams and hopefully carry them to a championship title.