HAMILTON, N.Y. — Goaltender Steve Silverthorn spread his right pad just far enough to stop Sacred Heart’s penalty shot attempt with only 24 seconds remaining in the game, ensuring Colgate’s 3-2 victory.
The Raiders clung to a tenuous one-goal advantage throughout the third period. The team never felt safe, as they had been on the losing end of single-goal affairs in their first three games of the young season, and had given up a tying goal to UConn with under two minutes remaining only a week before.
“I guess you could say that after the penalty shot we felt like we had a monkey off of our back,” said Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “When it was happening you kind of wondered if it was ever going to happen for us.”
In fact, the Raiders had surrendered two leads in the game already. It was the shorthanded goal of Paul Kelley midway through the second period that proved to be the game-winner. Kelley redirected a waist-high pass sent by Kyle Doyle against the grain of Pioneer goalie Eddy Ferhi’s movement and into the back of the net.
“It really brought our bench alive,” said Vaughan. “We talk a lot about momentum, and when you score a shorthanded goal it really can help turn momentum. That was a big play, and we really played better after that.”
Sacred Heart refused to ease up off the throttle, firing 33 shots on Silverthorn and working hard to get the puck to bounce their way.
“I thought our guys played hard,” said Pioneer head coach Shaun Hannah. “We didn’t capitalize on some chances to score, and we certainly had enough of them. That’s the way this great game works sometimes. We just need to pull it together for tomorrow night and hope that we get a few bounces.”
Pioneer goalie Ferhi was busy as well, stopping 37 shots in a losing effort. The senior impressed both coaches and fans after his second strong performance following a 1-1 tie with Bemidji State in which he faced 44 shots on goal.
“Eddy’s been playing well for us,” said Hannah. “He played excellent out in Bemidji last week and played excellent for us tonight.”
The Raiders took the lead early in the game when Dmitry Yashin unloaded a slap-shot past the stick side of Ferhi less than three minutes into the contest. The Raiders have now scored the opening goal in each of their four games this season.
“[Yashin's] as natural of a goal scorer as we have on this team,” said Vaughan. “He’s strong, he’s got a great release, and he’s tough to knock off the puck. If he keeps shooting the puck, it’ll go in.”
Chuck Metcalfe tied the game 12 minutes later after outworking a defenseman to tap home a post-to-post pass.
“Chuck’s a great player for us,” said Hannah. “He’s a hard-nosed player, and plays both ends of the rink very well. He’s the type of guy that scores a clutch goal for you when you need it, and his goal was a big uplifting goal for our bench.”
Colgate’s Adam Mitchell tallied a power-play goal early in the second, but Pioneer Brad Holland found a rebound on his stick later in the period and chipped the puck into the back of the net to draw even once again.
Silverthorn shut the door on a third Sacred Heart comeback, however, and picked up his first collegiate win in his first appearance in front of the Colgate home crowd.
“He only played five games last year,” said Vaughan, “so really this was only his seventh or eighth game. He obviously came up big in the end. In my opinion, I think our goaltender won the game for us.”
Both teams are set to square off tomorrow night. The Pioneers believe that with a few bounces and a few breaks, they will emerge victorious.
“Overall we want to come back with the same effort,” said Hannah, “and just believe that those pucks will start going into the net. And they will.”
As for the Raiders, they look to build on the positives of this game and continue their winning ways.
“To get the win is obviously the most important thing,” said Vaughan. “The guys have got to feel good about all the hard work they’ve been putting in, and it’s nice to come out on the other end of one of these one goal games.”