HAMILTON, N.Y. — After lopsided defeats in both of its opening games, Yale turned things around against Colgate, cruising 6-1 Saturday night.
Chris Higgins led all scorers with a pair of goals, including one of two empty-netters that the Bulldogs tacked on at the end of the game. Yale put on a clinic both offensively and defensively, controlling almost all aspects of the game and allowing only one goal, which came on a Colgate power play chance.
“I was really happy that we only allowed one goal,” said Yale head coach Tim Taylor. “The guys got back on track tonight. We got a good forecheck out of each line, and it was nice to have a balanced effort.”
After a tight beginning to the game, Yale scored two goals within 40 seconds. Higgins was the beneficiary of a beautiful touch pass by Nick Deschenes that found its way through a series of legs and straight to the sophomore’s stick for an easy tap-in.
Moments later Christian Jensen picked up a rebound from Raider goaltender Steve Silverthorn and jammed a wraparound shot into the net. The goals marked only the beginning of the Bulldog onslaught.
“The quick start was a big part of our success tonight,” added Taylor. “We had a tough time scoring goals against North Dakota and Cornell, so jumping out to a two-goal lead meant a lot to the guys psychologically.”
“We just got outworked tonight,” said Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “I thought we played a good eight minutes to start the game, but after that they just wanted it more than us.”
Yale extended its lead to three goals when Evan Wax redirected a centering pass from Ryan Steeves high past the stick side of Silverthorn. Wax and teammates Higgins, Deschenes, and defenseman Stacey Bauman were playing in their first game following a suspension resulting from a fight in a game against North Dakota. The four were missed in the team’s 6-2 loss to Cornell the night before.
“It was nice to get [Wax] back in the lineup tonight,” said Taylor. “There was good hard work by the entire line down low on that goal. Evan gave a good effort tonight.”
Colgate scored its only goal in the waning moments of the second period. Adam Mitchell’s hard wrist shot beat Peter Cohen on the short side, cutting the Bulldog lead to two. The power-play goal was the only mistake that Cohen made in an otherwise perfect night.
“[Cohen] made some really good saves tonight,” said Taylor. “He had a lot of work even though he didn’t face many shots. Colgate kept the puck in our end really well. I told Vaughan after the game that I didn’t think it was a five goal game.”
Colgate never took advantage of the few chances that it did generate, however, and only managed to get 20 shots on the Yale netminder.
“If a couple of our chances had gone in,” said Vaughan, “maybe we could have made it closer. But we didn’t win the one-on-one battles in front of their net.”
Deschenes chased Silverthorn out of the net with his high blast to the stick side. David Cann replaced the shaken Raider goalie, who surrendered four goals on only 14 shots.
Colgate did not pose a serious threat in the final period, and Bulldogs Higgins and Joe Zappala added empty-net goals to increase the margin of victory.
“I thought that our best period was the third period tonight,” said Taylor. “We really played with a sense of purpose, which is a good sign with a young team like this.”
Yale (1-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) hopes to build on its first win of the season hosting RPI and Union next week. Colgate (4-4-1, 1-1-0) needs to turn things around on the road at Dartmouth and Vermont.
“Getting out on the road can actually help you focus,” said Vaughan. “We have to get back to winning some battles and we have to gain confidence.”