Last weekend, the Colgate men’s hockey team traveled to New England hoping to protect their unblemished ECAC Hockey record. On Friday night, the Raiders visited Brown, earning a 5-3 win, the result of a three-goal third period. The following evening they faced off with the defending league champions, No. 12 Yale Bulldogs, who were coming off a victory against No. 3 Cornell. The teams skated to a 3-3 tie in an entertaining, fast-paced and highly-energized contest. Sophomore Austin Smith continued his strong play, scoring a goal and adding two assists to his résumé. Senior Jason Williams had four points on the weekend, with two goals and two assists. Sophomore Corbin McPherson picked up his first collegiate goal and his first multi-point game on Friday night and first-year Robbie Bourdon scored his third and fourth goals of the season.
“Everyone has stepped up and decided to hold themselves to a higher stand point and strive for perfection during practice which has really translated for us in games,” Bourdon said. “Experience-wise all of us now have games under our belt and have been able to contribute to the team’s success. Ever since our last exhibition game, the lines have clicked. Also, our power play units have finally found a way to the hit the back of the net.”
On Friday night, Colgate came strong out of the gate. They controlled the puck and dictated the play throughout the entire period. The Raiders drew first blood off a faceoff taken by senior co-captain Ethan Cox and was scored by Williams at the 7:55 mark. Less than two minutes later, Bourdon scored on the power play, assisted by sophomore Kevin McNamara and McPherson. Colgate continued to control the play the rest of the period, keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
The second stanza of the game brought a more tightly contested game, but was otherwise uneventful. The Bears took the initiative and outplayed the Raiders throughout most of the period, but senior goaltender Charles Long put forth another strong performance and did not allow any goals. Colgate also had several opportunities to add to their lead, yet just like their opponents were unable to decipher Brown’s goaltender.
The Raiders’ powder keg trio composed of Smith, junior assistant captain Brian Day and senior co-captain David McIntyre reconnected in the third frame, combining for two goals. The first goal of the period came at the 1:32 mark when Smith scored off assists by Day and McIntyre. 56 seconds later Colgate stroke again. This time it was McPherson scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal, off assists by senior Adam Corrin and Williams. 41 seconds later the Boys from Hamilton scored yet again to put the game away as Day scored assisted by Smith to make the score 5-0 in Colgate’s favor. The Bears would not give up, however, as they would go on to score three goals in a three-minute span to make the final score 5-3 in favor of the visitors.
“The team did a great job of putting the puck in the net,” Bourdon said. “In recent years, our team has not been very successful against Brown, but we just approached it like it was any other game. Taking the game a shift at a time we managed to get a couple early, and I would say that Willy [teammate Jason Williams] really put them on their heels with the first goal of the game coming right after a Brown time-out.”
The following night the Raiders had another strong first period, this time against the twelfth-ranked Bulldogs. Early in the first period, at the 5:51 mark, Colgate took advantage of its only power play opportunity of the evening when Day scored his seventh of the season off assists from McIntyre and Smith. A little less than six minutes later, at the 11:22 mark, Williams scored his second goal of the weekend on a short-handed breakaway to take a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Colgate began the second period in a similar way to the first, but it was Yale who cut the lead to one at the 8:59 mark. A little over two minutes later, Bourdon once again gave the Raiders a two-goal lead, off assists by Williams and Cox. A minute and a half later, however, the Bulldogs scored again as Colgate held on to the lead going into the last twenty minutes of the game.
The third period showed a desperate Yale team attempt to tie the game, while the Raiders tried to hold on to the lead and win their fifth game in a row. It would be the hosts who achieved their goal, as they scored halfway through the period to send the game to overtime. Both teams had great scoring chances in the extra frame, but both goaltenders kept their net intact and thus the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
“Yale has a very good hockey team, and they came out strong against us, got the right bounces they needed and tied the game,” Bourdon said. “So many times the game could have gone the other way where instead of a 3-2 game; it could have easily been 4-2 in our favor. On Saturday night two great hockey teams battled for the win, and on one end of it we came in to the dressing room angry with the tie and Yale relieved.”
Colgate faces another tough challenge this upcoming weekend, as they will take on three teams ranked in the top 20 in a span of five days. On Friday night they will host No. 13 Quinnipiac in a game that will determine the leader of the ECAC. The following night they will host No. 19 Princeton and three days later, on Tuesday night, the Boys from Hamilton will travel to Ithaca to take on No. 5 Cornell.
“We just need to keep going and keep playing the same hockey we’ve been playing,” Bourdon said. “We are going to be successful if we capitalize on our chances, stay out of the penalty box and play hard hockey. There isn’t going to be anything pretty about it, so we are going to need contributions from everyone and our goaltending to keep stopping the puck.”
The Raiders head into the weekend with a 5-2-4 record, boasting a 3-0-1 ECAC mark, good for second place in the conference. Game time for all three games is slated for 7 p.m.