The men’s hockey team held onto the sixth spot in the national rankings after this past weekend. The Raiders had a successful tilt against St. Lawrence, winning 5-2, and a tough tie against Clarkson, 2-2. The team is now 8-3-1 on the season.
In the game against St. Lawrence, sophomore defenseman Jake Kulevich scored his second goal of the season with just a minute left in the second period to give the Raiders the lead in what was at the time a stalemate knotted up at two. Junior forwards Tyler Spink and Kyle Baun tallied goals as well, with both coming in the third period to assure the win for the Raiders.
“We had a good start and a good finish,” said Kulevich. “We came out and had a great start and I thought we really put it together and played our game in the third period. Everyone stepped up down the stretch and it was a big victory for us.”
This season the team looks a lot more like a cohesive unit; the passes are crisper, and almost every breakout play leads to an offensive push up the ice. This aggressive style of play was demonstrated in the St. Lawrence game. In addition, the Raiders looked particularly good defensively. As a team, they kept the puck to the outside and fought hard in the corners for the full 60 minutes.
Unfortunately, the team could not carry over the momentum from the huge victory against St. Lawrence to the game against Clarkson. The Golden Knights came out strong and seemed to catch the Raiders off guard, scoring two unanswered goals in the first period. Luckily, the deficit went down to one goal after junior defenseman Kevin Lough put one in the back of the net. Trailing from behind for the majority of the game, the Raiders were finally able to tie it up with a strong effort in front of the net from junior
defenseman Darcy Murphy.
“We did not come out like we did on Friday night and fell behind quickly,” Kulevich noted. “We can’t do that at home especially against a quality opponent like Clarkson. We responded well and were able to tie it up. I thought we had a great third period and Charlie made some huge saves for us down the stretch to allow us to tie it up and earn a point.”
Sophomore goalie Charlie Finn made some important saves for the team and kept them in the game with a total of 28 saves on the night. That is not to say that the Raiders did not generate offensive opportunities; in fact, they outshot Clarkson, 32-30.
“Going back in time we would obviously want to have a better first period,” senior forward John Lidgett said on what could have gone differently.
With the season well underway, and with two tough opponents coming up this weekend, Brown and Yale, it is important that the Raiders take their season one game at a time.
“I don’t think there is such a thing as an easy game in the ECAC,” Kulevich commented on the strength of the conference. The team has unbelievable potential this season with five first-years and strong returners, and the team have already proven themselves to be one of the toughest competitors in the ECAC.
The first-years have contributed a lot to the team’s success already this season. Forward Evan Peterson is currently leading the rookies in points with four (three goals, one assist), followed closely by fellow forward Mike
Panowyk with three (two goals, one assist).
“The first-years have been great at adjusting to college hockey and are all going to be big pieces of our team for the years to come,” Lidgett said when asked about the first-years and their contributions to the team so far.
The Raiders take on Brown this Friday, followed by Yale on Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m. at Starr Rink.