This past weekend the Colgate men’s hockey team hosted its final non-conference series of the season against the Robert Morris Colonials. On Friday night Colgate took a 4-1 victory in dominant fashion. Senior forward Jason Williams led the offense with three points off a goal and two assists. First-year forward Robbie Bourdon also had a multi-point game with a goal and an assist, including the game-winner. The following night Raiders and the Colonials battled to a 3-3 tie in a contest that the Raiders came back to tie in dramatic fashion. Senior co-captain David McIntyre had a multi-point night off two assists.
“My line with Bourdon and Cox has been clicking lately and we are having success on even-strength hockey,” Williams said. “Each one of us has been playing extremely well and we need to continue to have the success that we have been having so that we can help the team win night in and night out because it’s not always going to be your top two lines that are getting the job done. It’s a great feeling when our line can contribute like we did in Friday night’s win.”
On Friday night, Colgate came out hungry in the first period. They took it to Robert Morris and kept the puck on their end of the ice for the greater part of the first twenty minutes. The Raiders poured shot after shot on the Colonial net, outshooting them 15-8 for the period. The first goal of the period came at the 7:05 mark when Williams scored off assists by first-year forward Christian Long and senior forward Adam Corrin. With 31 seconds left in the period, Colgate took a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission when Bourdon deflected a shot by first-year defenseman Thomas Larkin, which was also assisted by Williams.
Early in the second frame Robert Morris cut the Raider lead to one, off a power play goal at the 2:38 mark. The second period was much closer than the first one, as the Colonials had the edge in shots, 10-9. Colgate, however, was able to retake a two-goal lead through a blast by sophomore defenseman Corbin McPherson from the top of the left circle, assisted by Williams and Bourdon.
In the final period of the game, the Raiders once again dominated. The only goal of the frame came with one minute left in the game and with six opposing skaters on the ice as senior co-captain Ethan Cox added an empty-net goal.
“On Friday, we were able to limit the mistakes that we made in the first two periods and were able to do the little things down the stretch that allowed us to win the game,” Williams said. “We had big saves at key moments during the game, which also gave us confidence knowing that even if one of us made a mistake; we had [Alex] Evin to back us up. Down the stretch, we are going to need big saves in order to make a run here in the ECAC. If we continue to play Colgate hockey for 60 minutes, we should have a great end of the year in league play.”
The following night the Raiders faced the Colonials for the second game of their weekend series. The first period of the game was similar to Friday’s. Colgate controlled the pace of play, yet did not hold the shot advantage on the period. The boys from Hamilton scored the only goal of the period at the 12:45 mark on the power play when sophomore Nick Prockow deflected a shot by Bourdon, who was assisted by junior forward François Brisebois.
The second session was the Raiders’ worst of the weekend. Robert Morris dictated the play throughout the entire period and scored three unanswered goals at the 2:01, 7:08 and 9:02 marks to take a 3-1 lead. Day’s goal assisted by McIntyre at 11:32 shifted the momentum to Colgate and several fantastic saves by sophomore goaltender Alex Evin – including a breakaway stop – prevented the Colonials from scoring more goals.
The Raiders came out determined in the final frame. They were back to their old selves, taking the play to Robert Morris and dominating them completely. Colgate, however, was unable to cash in on its opportunities and it seemed as if the Colonials were going home with the series split. That was not to happen, though. Sophomore forward Austin “Clutch” Smith scored an extra-man goal after a great play by McIntyre and Larkin to tie the game up. Neither team got on the score sheet in the extra session, with the game ending in a 3-3 draw. Evin stopped 34 out of 37 shots on the night for a weekend total of 59 out of 63, extending his personal unbeaten streak to three.
“Evin is playing extremely well after coming back from the groin injury that he suffered at Union more than a month ago,” Williams said. “He is continuing to get the nod in net and with that he is able to gain his confidence back. He is also making the important saves that a team needs in order to win and when you get that from your goaltender night in and night out, it only makes the team better.”
This coming weekend will be crucial for the Raiders as it will feature a return to ECAC Hockey when North Country foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence visit Colgate on Friday and Saturday night just two weeks after the Raiders visited them. The Raiders currently sit four points away from first place in the standings with a game in hand on every team concerned but Cornell.
“This weekend against SLU and Clarkson is definitely a huge weekend for us in terms of ECAC play,” Williams said. “We have had a great week of practice coming off the Robert Morris weekend and are heading in the right direction. We will be ready for two tough teams and we’re looking forward to coming out of the weekend with four points. We are in a great spot right now in the ECAC, and it’s up for grabs in terms of the top four teams. If we continue to play our style of hockey and dictate the pace and style of the game, we definitely have a great shot at putting ourselves in a spot to host a quarterfinal series.”
Both games this weekend are at 7 p.m.