HAMILTON, N.Y. — Two teams fell short on Saturday night — one short of home ice and one short of the playoffs.
After 60 minutes of hockey, the Colgate Red Raiders were done for the season as the Rensselaer Engineers scored three times on the power play in the third period to win, 3-0.
The loss, combined with Vermont’s win, knocked Colgate out of the ECAC playoffs, while the win wasn’t enough for the Engineers to secure a home-ice playoff berth as Cornell, which had to lose for the Engineers to host the first round, defeated Union.
“We had our opportunities earlier on and hindsight is 20-20,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “We wanted to get a couple of wins this weekend and let things take care of themselves. If we’re on the road, we’re on the road.”
The teams went scoreless for the first 40 minutes of the game, but then on the power play the Engineers took the 1-0 lead, though not without controversy.
Henkel came in with the puck and cut in front of David Cann. He then put a wrister on the net that got past Cann. The goal light went on, though it seemed like the puck went off the post, then hit the crossbar and did not go into the net. Referee John Murphy checked with the goal judge and ruled it a goal.
“I was streaking down and I had some room,” said Henkel. “I made a move and I shot it top shelf and I think it hit the back bar and came back out. I saw the light go on and I celebrated.”
“After reviewing the tape, it certainly doesn’t look like it,” said Red Raider coach Don Vaughan. “It’s a tough call — it’s a quick game and they have to make the call the way they see it.”
Soon thereafter, the Red Raiders went down a man once again, and the Engineers capitalized. Matt Murley found himself with the puck all alone to the left of Cann and buried it for the 2-0 lead.
Then Murley found Carson Butterwick in front on another power play to make it 3-0 when Butterwick one-timed it between the legs of Cann.
Nathan Marsters made 36 saves in his fourth shutout of the season and kept the Engineers in it as Colgate came out on fire.
“I thought we looked good most of tonight,” said Vaughan. “We had all kinds of opportunities real early and their kid made all kinds of saves, or else it’s different.”
“That’s what happens when you have a team that’s fighting for their playoff lives,” said Fridgen. “Unfortunately, they didn’t make it, but competition is competition and they really took it too us in the first period. We handled that and calmed down and stuck to business.
“Earlier on we weren’t winning those games in the third period, so these have to be feeling confident about that and our power play got it going. I thought it was a team win tonight and last night as well.”
The Engineers (17-13-2) will travel to Dartmouth for the first round of the ECAC playoffs, while the Red Raiders end their season at 10-20-4.
“We had a couple of bad breaks,” said Vaughan. “We had a couple of goals, some nights they count and tonight they didn’t. That sort of sums up our whole season: we didn’t get any luck or bounces.”