Men’s Hockey Beats Harvard and Dartmouth

Jaime Heilbron

The Colgate men’s hockey team opened the 2009-2010 ECAC Hockey season in impressive fashion. On Friday night, the Raiders overcame a 4-1 deficit to stun the Harvard Crimson with a 5-4 victory. The following afternoon, Colgate’s recent strong play continued as the boys from Hamilton extended their current win streak to three games and the unbeaten one to four with a 3-2 decision over the Dartmouth Big Green. Sophomore forward Austin Smith had another strong weekend, scoring twice and adding an assist against Harvard and posting a helper against Dartmouth. Senior co-captain David McIntyre also had a productive weekend, obtaining four points on Friday off a goal and three assists, while scoring once the following day to finish the weekend with five points. Senior goaltender Charles Long stopped 53 of the 56 shots he faced this weekend after entering Friday’s game late in the first period.

“I just went into the weekend with the mindset that I was the starter,” Long said. “Even though I didn’t start Friday, I still had that mind set when I went into the game. I think the team as whole felt that we were still in the Harvard game even though wewere down 3-0 and after we came back we just carried that into the Dartmouth game.”

On Friday night, the Raiders sleepwalked through the first period, allowing the Crimson to take advantage of their opportunities and control of the play. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Harvard scored their first goal of the night at the 7:17 mark of the period on the power play. With the Cantabrians ahead 1-0, Colgate seemed unable to get back in the game despite trying. A little less than six minutes later, at the 12:58 mark the Crimson scored for the second time. A minute and a half later they scored once again to take a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Raiders dominated the second period, outshooting their opponents 17-3. They came out with energy, determined to turn the game around. The first sign of a comeback came at the 8:40 mark of the period when first-year Thomas Larkin scored his first intercollegiate goal, off assists by junior assistant captain Brian Day and McIntyre. Colgate’s hopes were momentarily squashed a minute later, however, when Harvard scored its fourth goal of the game on the power play. The Raiders controlled the rest of the period, but were unable to score and were still behind by three goals going into the last twenty minutes of the game.

The Raiders took their strong play from the second frame into the last one. Colgate’s offensive onslaught began 31 seconds into the period when McIntyre scored his first goal of the season and achieved his 100th career point off assists by Smith and junior assistant captain Wade Poplawski on the power play. Ten minutes later, the Raiders pulled within one goal when Smith scored his first one of the night assisted by McIntyre and Larkin. A little over two minutes later, Smith scored again to tie the game, assisted by McIntyre.

Colgate’s impending rally was capped off at the 15:56 mark when first-year Robbie Bourdon scored the game-winner, assisted by fellow first-year Nathan Sinz and senior Jason Williams. The boys from Hamilton outshot the Crimson 40-29 in the game.

“We had a sense in the locker room that we gave Harvard those 3 goals and we were more than capable of coming out and taking the game back, and we did,” Long said. “I think that out of all the teams I’ve been on at Colgate, this one is more cognizant of our capabilities and we believe in them more.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Raiders established their control early and did not let go. While the team did not score nor take many shots on net in the first period, they did dominate the puck and created several opportunities that but for incredible saves by the opposing goaltender did not go in.

In the second frame of the game, Colgate once again dominated early, keeping the puck in Dartmouth’s zone. Therefore, it came as no surprise when McIntyre scored the first goal of the game at the 6:45 mark, assisted by Day and Smith. A minute and a half later, the Raiders took a 2-0 lead when sophomore Kevin McNamara scored his first goal of the year, assisted by junior François Brisebois and sophomore Nick Prockow. The two-goal lead would not last long, however, as just 28 seconds later the Big Green cut Colgate’s lead to one. Dartmouth proceeded to dominate the rest of the period and scored once again with a little over four minutes left to make it a tied game heading into the third period.

In the final frame of the game, the boys from Hamilton came out determined to earn a sweep in the first ECAC weekend of the year. The Raiders worked hard throughout the entire period, gaining several power plays throughout the period. It only took one to win the game, as almost five minutes into the period Day scored on the man advantage, assisted by Smith. Throughout the final fifteen minutes, Colgate kept the puck in the offensive zone in order to keep the Big Green scoreless. This did not prove easy, however, as in the last three minutes of the game the Raider penalty kill was forced to kill two back-to-back penalties before they could secure the win and earn their first weekend sweep since February 2008.

“We came out knowing that if we played a full 60-minute game like we did the last 30 minutes against Harvard, we were going to win,” Long said. “We talked about how important it is to win games at home in order to be at the top of the ECAC and we were determined to finally have a sweep on Silver Puck weekend not only because of the momentum that creates in starting ECAC play, but the message it sends to the league and our supporters as well.”

Colgate will go on the road on their second ECAC Hockey weekend, as they take on Brown and Yale.

“I think the key to success for us this weekend is coming out and playing our game and continuing to build on the momentum we have,” Long said. “I think this team is more than capable of dictating the play against most teams, but that’s only when we’re playing to our own strengths, which is controlling the play down low and dominating the penalty kill.”

The Raiders will visit the Brown Bears on Friday at 7 p.m.. Game time at Yale is slated for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday night.

Contact Jaime Heilbron at [email protected].