HAMILTON, N.Y. — With less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Colgate seemed pinned in its own end by Yale.
But suddenly, defenseman Tucker Veenis made a nifty pass through the legs of a Yale defender to hit first-year forward Adam Mitchell on the fly up the ice. Mitchell dropped the puck to a trailing Brad D’Arco, whose shot found a hole through Yale goalie Dan Lombard’s pads.
The two thousand plus fans in attendance went crazy, as Colgate took the lead for the first time of the night and managed to hang on for the 3-2 victory.
“That’s ECAC hockey for you,” said Raider head coach Don Vaughan. “It was a great hockey game.”
The game featured a lot of physical action and even got ugly at times. Seven minutes into the second period, Colgate’s Bob Vandersluis was caught for hitting from behind and was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Said Vaughan, “It was a very good call. I wasn’t sure at first because I couldn’t see it, but after we reviewed it, it was exactly the right call. You have to take that stuff out of the game.”
With the game then knotted, 1-1, Yale had a long power-play chance to try to put itself on top. The Bulldogs failed to generate any chances, however, and the momentum of the game seemed to swing in the Raiders’ favor.
Said Yale coach Tim Taylor, “I thought Colgate came to life in that second period. Killing that five-minute man advantage really gave them a lot of energy. We were pretty horrible on that power play, and I think that dragged us down and picked them up. Up until that time, I thought we were doing a good job of keeping them on their heels a little bit. They had very few shots and very few scoring chances, but then I think it switched.”
The Bulldogs did manage to take the lead in the third period. With a three-on-two rush, Mike Klema sped in on the right wing and fed the puck to defenseman Robert Mutter who put a hard shot on net. Raider goalie David Cann made the initial save, but Klema was in perfect position to snap the rebound into an open side. It was Mutter’s second assist and Klema’s second goal of the evening.
“I’m very happy for Mike,” said Taylor. “He made a nice pass to the middle and then drove to the net. It was a nice, solid hockey play. He’s been playing very consistently.”
Yale could not hold the third period lead, however, as the Raiders tied the game just five minutes later. After taking a faceoff in the Bulldog zone, Colgate’s Scooter Smith made a hard lunging effort to push the puck past a startled Lombard to tie the game at two.
“Both teams were very balanced tonight,” said Vaughan. “Our penalty killing unit was on top of its game tonight. If it wasn’t for that we would have been in big trouble. I thought they were moving pretty good early on. In the second period, I thought we started to take the body, and that motivated our guys. After that I thought the game was pretty even.”
Yale’s Klema scored the first period’s only goal, while Colgate defenseman Ben Bryce scored a power play goal just nineteen seconds into the second period. The Raiders finished one for four with the extra man, while Yale failed to score on its five chances with the man advantage.
Added Taylor, “We just passed the puck around the perimeter on the power play and didn’t get any shots. Our power play was pretty inept.”
With the loss the Bulldogs dropped to 6-14-2 overall (5-8-2 ECAC), placing them in a four-way tie for eighth in the conference. Meanwhile the Raiders continued their hot streak, stretching their winning streak to four games and their unbeaten streak to six. They are now 11-13-1 (8-6-1), which keeps them in fifth position in the league.
The Raiders will play host to Princeton on Saturday. The road for the Bulldogs will not get easier, as they travel to face the Big Red of Cornell.