Men’s Hockey Drops Two Heatbreakers

Jaime Heilbron

Last weekend will serve as a learning expe­rience for the Colgate men’s hockey team, as it gets its feet wet in the 2010-2011 season. The Raiders dropped two tough decisions to CCHA foe Lake Superior State University, falling 2-1 on Friday and 5-4 in the final seconds of Saturday’s contest. Senior captain Brian Day continued his scoring and point streak, which goes back to last year. Day had three goals and an assist on the weekend and is currently tied for tops in ECAC Hockey for points per game. Dating back to last sea­son’s conference playoffs, Day is on a five-game point streak and four-game goal streak. Senior assistant captain François Brisebois had a career high of three assists on Saturday and matched a career high on points, for a total of four on the weekend.

“It is important for our team to get off to a good start, as with so much parity in college hockey, every game matters,” Day said. “It has been great being able to play with Franky Brisebois who has set me up for a couple nice goals in the past few games. Having such a small senior class, we have been looking for­ward to leading this team for the past three years and feel like we have the opportunity to do something special this year.”

After having played only one NCAA game in its young season, Colgate took the ice last Friday evening against the Lake Supe­rior Lakers, who already had four games of experience. The first game of the series was decided by each team’s efficacy on the fa­ceoff circle. The Lakers won the faceoff battle 37-24, with Day winning 14 of those won by the Raiders.

The first period saw both teams trading scoring chances, but with Colgate dominat­ing play and maintaining puck possession in Lake Superior’s defensive zone. The Lakers opened the scoring at the 3:51 mark, scoring right off the faceoff two seconds into a power play. The Raiders knotted the game at one sev­eral minutes later, when Day scored his first goal of the weekend and second of the season at 11:14, assisted by Brisebois and first-year forward Chris Wagner. Throughout the rest of the period, the men from Hamilton attempt­ed to take the lead but were unable to put the biscuit past Lake Superior’s goaltender.

Early into the second stanza, the Lakers struck once again, off a defensive zone fa­ceoff. At the 2:16 mark, Lake Superior won the faceoff and proceeded to put the puck in the net to take a 2-1 lead that would remain throughout the rest of the game. Colgate proceeded to dominate play and cre­ate great scoring opportunities throughout the remainder of the contest, but was un­able to beat Lake Superior netkeeper Brian Mahoney-Wilson.

“I don’t think we took enough shots when we had the opportunities to do so on Friday night,” Day said. “Also, our power play did not get going until Saturday, scoring two goals with the man advantage, something we weren’t able to do on Friday.”

The following night, ‘Gate went out fired up, determined to put forth its best effort in order to salvage a split in the weekend series. While the effort was there, the circumstances did not allow for the Raiders to walk away with a win. The only goal of the first period came late, at the 16:08 mark, when Lake Superior forced a turnover in the Raiders’ defensive zone.

Early in the second period, however, Colgate put itself right back in the game after Brisebois served sophomore forward Kurtis Bartliff with the puck, who then fed it to sophomore defenseman Thomas Larkin. Larkin proceeded to muscle himself through the Lakers’ two defensemen and put the bis­cuit past their net-minder for his first goal of the season. Several minutes later, at 13:05, the Raiders took their first lead of the se­ries after Day’s second goal of the weekend. Brisebois gave the puck to junior forward Austin Smith who put it on the net. Day caught the rebound in mid-air for Colgate’s second of the game. Lake Superior regained the lead with less than two minutes left in the frame, scoring twice in a 41-second span. The first of the two goals came at the 18:16 mark, off a faceoff in the Raiders’ defensive zone. The Lakers’ third of the match came at the 18:57 mark, when a lucky bounce off a Raider’s shoulder found itself in the net and gave Lake Superior a 3-2 lead after two periods of play.

At the 5:56 mark of the third stanza, Colgate made the Lakers pay for their trans­gressions by once again scoring on the power play. Sophomore forward Robbie Bourdon scored his first one of the campaign, assisted by Day and Smith. Five minutes later, Lake Superior momentarily retook the lead, but the Raiders struck once again at the 11:28 mark when Day scored his second of the game and third of the weekend, assisted by Brisebois and Smith. When it seemed as if the game would be decided in the extra session, the Lakers scored with 14 seconds left, mak­ing Colgate’s effort and resilience throughout the weekend go unrewarded.

“We made a few errors that cost us on Saturday night,” Day said. “I felt as though we outplayed Lake Superior State, but ulti­mately it comes down to the team that lim­its its mistakes and is able to capitalize on its opponent’s.”

Colgate will next take the ice this upcom­ing Saturday as it returns to the friendly confines of Starr Rink to host Sacred Heart University on Family Weekend.

“I don’t think we will change our game plan much as we know what we have to do in order to win,” Day said. “We just need to execute better and as I said before, limit our mistakes. I think that if we continue to out­work teams, we will like the results.”

The tilt is set for a 4 p.m. start.