Men’s Hockey Goes 0-1-1 Against Archrival Cornell

Last weekend, two different versions of the Colgate men’s hockey team presented them­selves on the ice against Raiders’ archrival the Big Red from Cornell. On Friday evening, the Raiders put forth what was perhaps their most complete game of the season thus far, earning a 1-1 come-from-behind tie at Starr Rink. The following evening, however, Colgate played two strong periods before allowing Cornell to pull away in the third, earning a 5-2 vic­tory in Ithaca, New York. First-year goalten­der Eric Mihalik was the best Raider on the ice the first night, stopping 18 out of 19 shots faced, while sophomore Jeremy Price scored the lone Colgate goal late in the third period. On Saturday, it was junior forward Austin Smith’s time to shine, posting his first multi-goal contest of the season as he scored both of the Raiders’ tallies.

“It felt good to find the net again,” Smith said. “I thought I had been playing pretty well throughout the course of the year, but just haven’t seen many fortuitous bounces. Maybe now I can catch fire and start to find the net on a regular basis. We have been in a lot of one-goal games and it would be nice to score some big goals down the stretch to help our team come out on top.”

In a series as emotionally-driven as the one between Colgate and Cornell, the first shift of the game is always crucial to the de­velopment of a period and the entire game. The Raiders outmuscled the Big Red in the first couple of minutes of the game, which set the pattern for the rest of the frame. At the 7:49 mark, Colgate was forced to kill a five-minute major penalty. This may have been a turning point in the contest, given that Cornell was given the opportunity to take a one or even two-goal lead in the game, which would have forced the Raiders to dig them­selves from a hole. ‘Gate killed the penalty in impressive fashion, allowing the Big Red to muster only one shot on goal throughout the man advantage. Colgate outshot Cornell 7-4 in a scoreless first period.

The second period of the game saw the Raiders once again take the initiative and outplay the visitors. Several saves by both goaltenders and Cornell’s inability to pro­duce on a power play halfway through the period held the two teams scoreless after the first 40 minutes of play.

As the third frame began, it became more likely that whichever team scored the first goal would put itself in a great position to win the contest by gaining control of it. Un­fortunately for Colgate, the Big Red were the ones to draw first blood at the 3:15 mark. In­stead of allowing the deficit to ruin the team’s morale and determination, it strengthened it, and the Raiders kept battling throughout the rest of the period. Colgate’s efforts did not go unrewarded, as Price’s tally at the 18:25 mark of the final period, assisted by senior captain Brian Day and senior assistant captain Fran­çois Brisebois knotted the game at one and sent it to the extra session.

The Raiders dominated Cornell throughout the overtime period and had several grade-A chances to win the game, but were unable to put anything past the Big Red’s netminder.

“I attribute our success in coming from be­hind to our hard work during the week and com­ing prepared to play,” Smith said. “We executed our game plan and played a full 60 minutes of old time hockey. Additionally, I would like to credit the fans for their support and intensity during the game; it was nice to feel the momentum from the crowd at pivotal points of the game.”

The following evening Colgate traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to repay the visit to Cornell. The Big Red, empowered by the hostile environment of Lynah Rink kept the play in the Raiders’ defen­sive zone throughout the first several minutes of the game. It was Colgate, however, who opened the scoring at 6:24 when Smith deflected a shot by junior defenseman Corbin McPher­son into the net. McPherson was fed with the puck by sophomore defenseman Mike Leidl, who captured his first point of the season. Less than a minute and a half later, however, Cor­nell evened things up at one tally apiece. Twelve minutes later, with 27 seconds to go in the first period, the Big Red scored the only power play goal of the weekend to take a 2-1 lead after one frame

In the second period, it was the Raiders’ time to dominate. Colgate dominated, outplay­ing and outhustling Cornell throughout the en­tire middle frame. The Raiders won almost ev­ery battle for the puck and kept the game in the Big Red’s defensive zone throughout extended periods of time, yet were only able to come away with a single goal despite outshooting the hosts 15-3 throughout the period. Smith scored his second tally of the evening, assisted by line­mates sophomore Kurtis Bartliff and first-year Chris Wagner.

Cornell retook control of the game early in the final frame, beating Colgate skaters to every puck and putting pressure on the Raiders’ defen­sive zone and the net, which was protected by Mihalik. The Big Red scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal at 6:10. It did not take too long for Cornell to take a two-goal lead, as a little over three minutes later, at the 9:48 mark, the Big Red took a commanding 4-2 lead that Colgate would fail to dispute despite its ef­forts. With less than two minutes to go in the game, Cornell added an empty-net goal to make the final score 5-2 in its favor. The Raiders are 0-9-3 in their last twelve meetings against the Big Red.

“We just need to stay positive and believe we will get the bounces,” Smith said. “We really need to focus on pushing the play and not sit­ting back. If we can continue to hound the puck and push the momentum in our favor we will see good results.”

This upcoming weekend Colgate will travel to Cambridge, Mass. on Friday and Hanover, N.H. on Saturday to take on the Harvard Crim­son and the No. 18 Dartmouth Big Green.

“Friday is the biggest game of the season for us,” Smith said. “We are going to play a team that is just as fragile as us mentally. If we can go in and dominate play we could es­tablish some confidence and feed off of it for the following night at Dartmouth. For us it’s about getting two points at Harvard. We are fully capable and it’s time to push the moral victories aside and find a way to grasp the win column.”

Friday’s contest against Harvard and Satur­day’s tilt against Dartmouth are both set for 7 p.m. puck drops.