HAMILTON, N.Y. — In a game filled with confusing plays and strategic coaching moves, sophomore David Cann and the Colgate Raiders shutout the visiting St. Lawrence Saints, 5-0.
The shutout was Cann’s first in his collegiate career and the Raiders’ first all season.
“David played really well,” said Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “He made timely saves. That’s all you ask of a goalie. You don’t have to make all the saves, you just have to make the right ones. I thought he played well last night too. He was our best player against Clarkson and maybe again tonight.”
The Saints’ goalie situation provided for one of the abnormalities of the contest, as head coach Joe Marsh used three different players between the pipes. Kevin Ackley began the game but was removed after two periods after straining the medial collateral ligament in his knee. Mike McKenna would play until a little under seven minutes remaining in the third period. Down 4-0, Marsh decided to leave an empty net to give his team an extra attacker.
Said Marsh, “I guess at that point we were just thinking that maybe we could get one and get a little energy going. It also gave us an opportunity to work on our six on five in game conditions.”
The plan backfired, however, as Dave Thomas potted an empty netter for his second goal of the night. Captain Etienne Morin assisted Thomas on that goal, giving the senior three points in potentially his last game in front of a home crowd.
“He is undoubtedly one of the hardest working players that I have ever coached,” said Vaughan. “He just leads by his work ethic. I know that Etienne, Benny [Bryce], and Bobby [Vandersluis] want to go out with a bang. They are certainly going to play hard and hope to play at home one more time.”
The Raiders’ eventual game winning goal was scored three minutes into the contest when P.J. Yedon fired a one-timer past the glove of Ackley. Thomas gave Colgate a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission with a rebound goal off of Ackley’s right pad. The goals came as part of a 14 shot first period for the home team.
Said Marsh, “I thought Colgate played a great game. They played with a lot of emotion and got off to a good start. We’ve battled to get back into games when we’ve been down, but it was difficult to do tonight. They are an extremely fast and well coached team, and could do really well in the playoffs.”
Morin scored a power play goal inside the final minute of the second period on a redirection to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
“There is a big difference between a two-goal lead and a three-goal lead,” said Vaughan. “It was a great play by Morin, because he boxed out his guy and just got his stick on the puck. It was a great tip, and a very big goal.”
Kyle Doyle scored the Raiders’ fourth goal with a peculiar shot. After being slapped towards the net from the top of the left circle, the puck bounced back towards Doyle and play continued. During the following stoppage in play a linesman ruled that the puck had indeed hit the padding just inside the net and ricocheted out. The goal was awarded to Colgate and ended any chances of a Saints comeback.
With the loss the Saints (9-19-2, 7-11-2 ECAC) are now tied with Yale for the 10th and final playoff position in their conference. They will host Dartmouth and Vermont in their final two games of the year.
“We’re just going to have to play as hard as we can and win these next two games,” said Marsh. “We’ve struggled on home ice this year so hopefully we can make it happen. We’re going to have to go out hard and take the initiative and hopefully we’ll do OK.”
Meanwhile the Raiders (13-15-2, 10-8-2) improved to a tie for fourth in the ECAC and will travel to face the stumbling Union Skating Dutchmen and the surging RPI Engineers.