Men’s Hockey Swept Off the Ice



Last weekend, Colgate men’s hockey suf­fered its two toughest defeats of the season. On Friday, the Raiders fell to Harvard 6-2 and the following evening dropped a 7-3 de­cision to Dartmouth. Senior assistant captain François Brisebois shined as Colgate’s biggest offensive threat, scoring once each night while senior captain Brian Day assisted on three of the Raiders’ five goals throughout the week­end. Sophomore defenseman Mike Leidl and junior forward Mark Nasca also scored their first intercollegiate goals on Saturday.

“It always feels good to score your first goal at any level of hockey, but I just wish it could have been in a winning effort,” Leidl said.

Friday’s game could not have had a better start for Colgate. The Raiders dominated the Crimson from the moment the puck dropped at the beginning of the first period, winning each battle along the boards, beating their opponents to the puck and applying constant pressure in the offensive zone. Therefore, it came as no surprise when sophomore for­ward Robbie Bourdon scored his eighth goal of the season, assisted by junior forward Nick Prockow and first-year forward Chris Wagner at 7:47.

The celebration did not last long, however, as just 13 seconds later Harvard knotted the game at one and stole any momentum Col­gate may have held at that moment. The rest of the frame saw each team find itself unable to capitalize on its scoring chances, until the Crimson took the lead for good with exactly one minute remaining in the opening period.

The second period was the Raiders’ worst of the season. Harvard took the play to Col­gate from the get-go, causing irreparable damage. After almost 10 minutes of unend­ing pressure, the Crimson took a two-goal lead off a power play at the 9:47 mark. With 39 seconds remaining, a great individual play by a Harvard skater put the contest out of the Raiders’ reach at 4-1.

Colgate opened the final frame of the game in the best possible manner. Brise­bois gave the Raiders hope of a comeback at 1:25 by scoring off assists from Day and junior forward Austin Smith. There was rea­son to believe Colgate could turn the contest around too, given that the Raiders had found themselves trailing the Crimson 4-1 after two periods last season, only to score four unan­swered goals in the final period and defeat Harvard 5-4. The comeback, however, would not happen on this occasion. Despite having regained momentum and maintaining play in Harvard’s defensive zone throughout most of the final frame, Colgate was unable to get anything past the Crimson’s net minder. Har­vard potted two empty-net goals in the final minutes of the game to make the final score a deceiving 6-2.

“I think we should have done a better job of staying focused,” Leidl said. “We had a few mental lapses that ended up in the back of our net, thus making the dif­ference in the game.”

On Saturday, the Raiders traveled to Ha­nover, New Hampshire to take on No. 18 Dartmouth. The start of this game was the antithesis of the previous night’s, as Colgate found itself on its heels trying to weather the offensive storm brought forth by the Big Green. Just 57 seconds into the opening pe­riod, Dartmouth scored to take a 1-0 lead. The Big Green proceeded to dominate the game throughout the next 10 minutes before the Raiders were able to find their groove and begin taking the play to Dartmouth. Colgate’s efforts were finally rewarded at the 19:44 mark when Leidl’s slap shot taken from the blue line breezed past the Big Green’s goaltender to tie the score at one.

The Raiders once again suffered from a weak second period as Dartmouth took advantage of several mistakes by Colgate to build an insurmountable lead. The Big Green quickly took the lead at 4:37, which they backed up with another goal less than two minutes later at 5:58. Another goal at the 11:43 mark cemented Dartmouth’s lead at 4-1. A power play tally by Brisebois with less than five minutes remaining in the pe­riod gave the Raiders hope of getting back in the game.

Any hopes of a Colgate comeback were dashed at 2:28 of the final frame. While on the man advantage, the Raiders turned the puck over, setting up a short-handed break­away on which the Big Green capitalized, taking a commanding 5-2 lead. Several min­utes later, Nasca scored to pull Colgate with­in a two-goal deficit, but several opportune saves by Dartmouth’s net minder stopped the Raiders from getting closer on the score­board. The Big Green added another goal with three minutes remaining, as well as an empty-net tally with 54 seconds left in the contest to take a 7-3 victory.

Despite remaining winless in confer­ence play, Colgate remains optimistic as the regular Patriot League season comes to a close.

“It is no secret that this has been a tough year for us, but we have continued to work hard no matter what the score is in each game and that is something that we will need to carry into the playoffs if we want to have some success,” Leidl said.

This upcoming weekend the Raiders will greet North Country foes St. Lawrence Saints on Friday and the Clarkson Golden Knights on Saturday. Since every team in ECAC Hockey makes the playoffs, everything now is about gathering momentum going into the postseason.

“It will be important for us to have a good week of practice and get off to a good start in Friday night’s game,” Leidl said. “At this point in the season we want to focus on one game at a time and try to build some momentum. Once the play­offs start, regular season records don’t matter, but we want to finish strong in our last eight league games and gain some confidence because anything can happen in the playoffs.”