It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times

Bill Stoklosa

It has been a tough season for women’s hockey, and their last two conference games before Turkey Day did not help them out very much, as trips to Quinnipiac and Princeton yielded just a single point. The Raiders followed it up with an exciting 5-4 win over Syracuse, only to get blown out in their next two games, both against top ranked Mercyhurst.

Two Fridays ago the Raiders traveled to Connecticut for an ECAC contest against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Bobcats are a much better team this season than they have been in the past, and entered the game with a 4-1-1 record in the ECAC. The game was a defensive struggle with neither team scoring until there was 8:21 left in the third period, when Quinnipiac’s Melissa Perry scored unassisted to put the Bobcats up 1-0. The Raiders tied it up with just 2:30 remaining when first-year forward Brittany Phillips followed her rebound and buried it to knot the score up at one, sending the game to overtime. Neither side scored during the overtime period, sending Colgate home with a point. Sophomore Kim Sass was key in preserving the tie as she had 23 saves on the day.

After the overtime contest, Colgate traveled to Princeton the next afternoon to face the number 10 team in the land. After the Tigers notched the first goal, sophomore defender Amanda Kirwin knotted things up in the first, off assists from junior forward Hannah Milan and Phillips. Princeton regained the lead in the second, but just before the period was out, senior forward Katie Stewart knotted things up again as she scored off assists from Milan and junior forward Jessi Waters. Through two periods the Raiders were outshooting the Tigers 21-14.  The Tigers dominated the third, however, outshooting Colgate, 14-3.  Junior goalie Lisa Plenderleith was strong though, making 13 saves, but Daniele DeCesare got one past her, giving Princeton a hard fought 3-2 victory.

Colgate finally cooked up a win in their next contest, a home date with Syracuse on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Colgate was clearly hungry for a win and jumped out to an early advantage. After Syracuse goalie Lucy Schoedel saved a shot from Stewart, senior defender Ali Edell gained control of the puck, burying her chance to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead, just 6:04 into the contest. Two minutes later, Colgate upped their lead to 2-0 as Minnick scored a pretty goal, off assists from first-year defender Whitney Routman and Stewart. However, less than two minutes later, Syracuse’s Britney Maschmeyer scored on the power play to pull the Orange within one. With just 42 seconds remaining in the first, Colgate’s Katie Stewart picked up her third point of the night, this time on a goal that was set up by first-year forward Jenna Klynstra and Waters.

The Orange again cut the lead to one in the second thanks to an unassisted goal from Megan Skelly. Just 16 seconds into the third, Colgate went 4-2 up, thanks to a Beth Rotenberg shot that was deflected into the net by first-year defender Jordan Brickner. Syracuse would cut the lead to 4-3 later in the third thanks to a power play goal from Stephanie Martay. Colgate regained its two-goal advantage as senior defender Nicole McDonald got the puck to Klynstra who dished it to senior forward Merissa Dombovy.

Dombovy beat Schoedel over the left shoulder to give Colgate a 5-3 lead with 3:19 left in regulation. Syracuse quickly responded with a goal from Julie Rising, but could not get the equalizer as Colgate skated off the ice with a 5-4 victory. Plenderleith got the start for Colgate, recording 20 saves. The game against Syracuse was one of Colgate’s best offensive performances of the year, combining five goals with 38 shots.

“We played extremely aggressive right from the drop of the puck and two quick goals early in the game really helped boost our confidence,” Stewart said regarding her team’s offensive effort. “Everyone played very well as a team, and we battled right to the end.”

Unfortunately, Colgate followed up the win against the ‘Cuse with a disappointing two game weekend series at top ranked Mercyhurst. In game one, Mercyhurst got out to an early 1-0 first period lead, but leveled the game a minute later. Mercyhurst then scored five unanswered goals, leading 6-1 at the end of the second. Though Stewart and Minnick both scored in the third, it was nowhere near enough as Mercyhurst won 8-3. Sass was in goal making 22 saves for Colgate.

Starting the second game, the Lakers scored four goals in the first period and two in the second to take a 6-0 lead, before sophomore defender Amanda Kirwan got the Raiders on the board just before the second period expired. Mercyhurst got the first two goals of the third before Stewart scored the last goal of the game to make the final score 8-2.

Colgate’s record now stands at 3-11-3 overall and 1-4-3 in the ECAC. This weekend Colgate desperately needs to pick up some ECAC points as they host Brown at 7 p.m. on Friday and Yale at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Brown is 1-8-3 overall and 0-5-3 in the ECAC, while Yale is 2-8-1 overall and 1-7-0 in ECAC play.

“We need to play the full 60 minutes in each game and capitalize on our chances early,”  Stewart said. “Brown and Yale are close to us in the league standings so it is a very important weekend for us.”