Men’s Hockey Hosts Ivy League Rivals

Jaime Heilbron

This past week saw a lot of action at Starr Rink, since the Colgate men’s hockey team played host to three Ivy League teams: No. 6 Yale, Brown and No. 10 Cornell. The Raiders went one-for-three in the home stand, falling to the Bulldogs 6-3, defeating the Bears 6-2 and falling to the Big Red 6-2. Junior forward François Brisebois was one of Colgate’s highest scoring skaters throughout the home stand, posting two goals against Yale and two assists versus Cornell. Junior assistant captain and forward Brian Day and first-year forward Robbie Bourdon also had a successful trio of games, each posting four points. Senior forward Sean Carty also posted his first career two-point evening in Saturday night’s victory.

On Friday night, the sixth-ranked Bulldogs visited the Raiders in a matchup with important post season implications for both squads. Yale got on the board first scoring early in the first period off a power play. The visitors added another goal halfway through the period to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Colgate cut the Bulldog lead in half at the 15:59 mark when Brisebois scored an extra-attacker goal. First-year defenseman Nathan Sinz and Bourdon were credited with assists. Just when it seemed as if the Raiders were establishing their rhythm and taking over momentum in the game, Yale scored with a second left in the frame to retake the two-goal lead.

The second session of the contest was a hotly contested affair. Both teams had their chances, but neither was able to capitalize due to excellent play from both goaltenders. Colgate had the better chances, but was unable to put anything past the Bulldogs’ Billy Blase. Another late period goal killed any chance of a Raider rally when the visitors added another tally to increase their lead to three at 4-1.

In the third frame, the two squads came out with different mindsets. Yale’s goal was to protect their lead, while Colgate’s was to score early in order to give itself a fighting chance at turning things around. It was the Bulldogs, however, who scored on a power play at 1:29 to put the game away. There would be no scoring throughout most of the period until Bourdon lit the lamp on a power play at the 15:01 mark. The goal gave the Raiders hope at cutting the lead, but Yale once again scored a little over a minute later to once again kill Colgate’s momentum. The last goal of the game came with under three minutes left when a beautiful shot taken by Brisebois from the top of the right circle went in through the left post, making the final score 6-3.

“We needed to win more battles and compete more consistently throughout the game,” sophomore forward Nick Prockow said. “We didn’t do it the entire 60 minutes and that’s something that ended up hurting us.”

On Saturday night the Raiders came out inspired and desperate. The previous night’s loss had forced them to take action, and they began right away. At the 2:53 mark of the period, Prockow opened the scoring off assists by Carty and senior forward Adam Corrin. Colgate continued dominating the game and period, taking Brown by storm. Six minutes later, however, the Bears scored to knot the game at one. With 40 seconds remaining, senior forward Jason Williams scored his first goal of the game as the Raiders took the lead.

Early in the second session, Colgate continued its onslaught as Carty picked up his second goal of the season. Day and Prockow were credited with helpers. From then on, the period belonged to the visiting Brown squad who proceeded to pour shot after shot on sophomore goaltender Alex Evin. The Bears’ efforts proved futile, however, since Evin stopped every shot he faced in the period. Shots for the period were 15-8 in favor of the visitors.

Brown was awarded a power play to start the final frame. It was the Raiders, however, who capitalized not once but twice, while short-handed, putting the game away. The first goal of the period and fifth overall of the game came after first-year forward Kurtis Bartliff took possession of the puck along the boards, setting up first-year defenseman Jeremy Price and Day on a two-on-one. Price gave the puck to Day, who put it in the net for his seventeenth of the year. The fifth Colgate goal came 45 seconds later when senior co-captain Ethan Cox back-handed the puck to Williams, who put it in the net off the post for his second of the night. Halfway through the period, the Bears were once again given the man advantage, and this time they capitalized after pulling their goaltender for an extra-attacker opportunity. Brown had more opportunities to cut the Raider lead, but the Bears were unable to capitalize. A little over two minutes later, at the 13:13 mark, Colgate scored the last goal of the gam, a power play tally, to make the final score 6-2. Bourdon scored the goal and was assisted by senior co-captain David McIntyre and junior assistant captain Wade Poplawski.

“On Saturday, we forgot about the night before and played desperate hockey,” Prockow said. “This time we took more shots and battled harder in the blue paint.”

Three days after the categorical victory over the Brown Bears, the Raiders hosted No. 10 Cornell in front of a packed house at Starr Rink. Early in the first period, it was the visiting Big Red who took the initiative, testing Evin with shots from all over. As a Colgate power play expired, Cornell took advantage of its sudden extra man on the ice to score the first goal of the game on an odd-man rush. That would be the only goal of the period, since throughout the rest of the frame both teams traded scoring opportunities, but were unable to capitalize.

Five minutes into the second session, the Big Red took a two-goal lead scoring with a similar play to that of the first goal. The visitors’ second goal seemed to wake the Raiders up, since they immediately responded when McIntyre scored at the 6:35 mark on a two-on-one break, off assists by Brisebois and Bourdon. Colgate proceeded to dictate the play throughout the rest of the period, outhustling Cornell and outshooting its opponent by an 18-6 margin. Late period goals were once again the Raiders’ Achilles heel, as the Big Red scored with 11 seconds left in the session to retake a two-goal lead.

Entering the final frame, Colgate needed to score early in order to get back in the game. It was Cornell, however, who struck first off a power play goal a mere two minutes into the period, putting away the game. A minute and a half later, the Big Red scored again, this time taking a four-goal lead. Throughout the final twenty minutes, the Raiders tried different strategies to get themselves back in the game, but none were able to work, as nothing got past Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens. The boys from Hamilton finally came through at the 17:13 mark, momentarily cutting the visitors’ lead to three goals. 17 seconds later, the Big Red scored the last tally of the contest off a breakaway to make the final score 6-2 in their favor.

This coming weekend Colgate will travel to New England to take on Ivy League rivals Dartmouth on Friday and Harvard on Saturday in its last road trip of the season. This weekend is crucial for the Raiders, since by earning points against both teams they would also gain valuable tiebreakers over them, especially Harvard, who is only two points behind the Raiders in the ECAC standings.

“We just need to forget about Tuesday night and clear our minds,” Prockow said. “We’re still in a good position in the league and we just need to realize that we will still be in great shape if we can get two wins this weekend. We just have to be focused on getting two victories.”

Both games are slated to begin at 7 p.m.