NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — P.J. Yedon’s goal at 3:41 of overtime lifted Colgate to a 3-2 victory over Iona on Sunday night. The victory snaps the Raiders’ six-game losing streak while the Gaels have now lost five in a row and nine of their last 11 games.
Sunday’s game was nearly a carbon copy of Colgate’s 4-1 win over Iona on November 3, 2001. In both games, Iona was unable to sustain a 1-0 lead going into the third period. The similarity was not lost on Colgate coach Don Vaughan.
“I thought the teams matched up evenly and I felt that way the last time we played them,” he said. “They took a 1-0 lead in our building too. The games played out pretty similarly.”
Yedon’s overtime heroics were nearly derailed if not for Colgate goaltender David Cann, who stoned Ryan Manitowich on a breakaway with 90 seconds remaining in regulation. While he may have scored the winning goal, Yedon was quick to praise Cann.
“I think the turning point was the save Dave Cann made on the breakaway. Without that save, who knows what could have happened.”
While the teams played a scoreless first period, Colgate held a territorial advantage and a 10-3 shot advantage. Despite those advantages, Iona had a couple of scoring chances of their own but was unable to capitalize with shots on goal off odd-man rushes.
The Gaels opened the scoring in the opening minutes of the second period as they capitalized on their first power play of the game. With Matt Nicholson in the penalty box for obstruction interference, Kelly Bararuk one-timed a cross ice pass from Tim Krueckl past Conn at 1:40. Krueckl started the scoring play when he intercepted a clearing attempt at the top of the right circle. It would not be the last time a poor clearing attempt would lead to a goal.
Iona assistant coach Rich Dimondo summed up the rest of the game when he said, “It’s all about getting that second goal.” Dimondo was referring back to Iona’s inability to get a two-goal lead at Colgate despite four power-play chances.
The Raiders nearly tied the game 90 seconds later on their second power play of the game, but Rob Brown’s point shot off a faceoff rang off the post.
Midway through the second period, the Gaels nearly suffered a big loss when an Iona and Colgate player plowed over goaltender Scott Galenza. The Iona goaltender recovered from the collision and remained in the game. Galenza showed no ill effects from the hit as he kept the Gaels alive by stopping 42 of 45 shots.
Both coaches were quick to praise the work of Conn and Galenza.
Iona coach Frank Bretti said, “Scott played well and I think their goaltender played well too. We were real happy with Scott’s performance.”
Vaughan was equally impressed with both netminders.
“Both goaltenders played very well. Cann saved the game for us on the breakaway late in the game. Their guy made some nice stops in the third period to keep them in it as well.”
Galenza and the Gaels made Bararuk’s goal hold up until the seven-minute mark of the third period when the Raiders capitalized on their third power play of the game. Galenza stopped Steve Silversides shot from the point, but Adam Mitchell was alone in the slot and put the puck past a diving Galenza to tie the score.
“We’re a young team. When you get behind, especially like we have this year, there is a tendency for them to let down a little bit,” said Vaughan. “Our older guys took over the locker room in between the second and third periods.”
While the Gaels were unable to get that important insurance goal, they did manage to regain the lead at 13:50 of the third period as Bararuk and Manitowich broke in on a two-on-one rush. Cann stopped Bararuk’s shot but was unable to locate the loose puck before Manitowich gave the Gaels a 2-1 lead.
While the Gaels’ faithful had visions of their first victory over a member of one of the “big four” conferences, fate was not as kind as another poor clearing attempt would prove costly. In the Gaels’ defense, a misfortunate clearing attempt is a better description, as Brent Williams’ clearing pass off the glass hit one of the metal posts and bounced Colgate’s way.
The Raiders made the most of the opportunity as Silversides wristed home the tying goal from the high slot at 16:55 of the third period on assists from Paul Kelley and Bob Vandersluis.
That goal set the stage for Cann to be the man and force the game into overtime. Bararuk sent Manitowich in on a breakaway at the Colgate blue line. The left-handed shot cut to the net and went to his backhand, but the sophomore from Brampton, Ontario shut the door on the Calgary, Alberta native.
The end came for Iona when Silversides knocked down a clearing attempt at the right point. Yedon notched the game winner as he deflected home the shot from the point.
“I just saw it and I wanted to get my stick on [the puck] and hopefully a good thing would happen … and it did,” said Yedon.
Despite the loss, Bretti was happy with his team’s effort in their first game of the second half.
“All around I thought it was a good college hockey game. Both teams played hard and smart,” said Bretti.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the result but I was happy with our teams’ effort. I just feel so bad for our seniors because this was the game we wanted for them.”
While the Iona game marked Colgate’s second game of the second half, Vaughan was pleased with new focus of his team.
“We tried to be a little more aggressive. Earlier on the season we were playing a little more conservatively. Tonight, we tried to go up-tempo and tried to go aggressive on the forecheck. We’re trying to get some confidence in some guys and I think the only way to do it is to let the reins off at times.”
Colgate (4-11-0, 2-4-0 ECAC) will host ECAC rival Dartmouth on Friday night at 7 p.m. Iona (6-9-1, 5-4-1 MAAC) also returns to action on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. as it hosts MAAC rival Bentley.