HAMILTON, N.Y. — Colgate showed it had plenty of horsepower in its final tune-up before league play, as the Raiders drove over visiting Findlay, 6-0, at Starr Rink.
Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn picked up his first collegiate shutout by fending off Findlay’s meager 15 shots. Apart from a handful of brief chances, the junior went untested throughout the night thanks to tough defense.
“The guys played great in front of me,” said Silverthorn. “There wasn’t much for me to do out there. Our defense played solid, our forwards back-checked, and all the credit goes to them.”
“Having the shutout was important for the whole team,” agreed Colgate head coach Stan Moore.
“But I’m sure that Steve is more comfortable now knowing that he can do that. It might add to his consistency, knowing how important it is to stay focused, especially in a game where he didn’t see a lot of shots and then finally had a bevy thrown at him.”
The Raiders got on the board first with the only tally in a choppy opening period. Defenseman Joey Mormina held an Oiler clearing attempt in the zone and slipped the puck to Paul Kelley streaking up the boards. Kelley located a cutting Kyle Doyle, who deposited the puck past Findlay goalie Will Hooper for the game’s first goal.
Colgate capitalized on a power play less than :30 into the second frame, as Kyle Wilson skated unmolested in front of the Findlay net and jammed a shot through Hooper’s pads.
“We got beat in every single aspect of the game,” said Oilers head coach Pat Ford. “They had a ton of power plays, and even though they had a ton and we had so few, we couldn’t do anything with ours.
“In games like this you take the game tape and you throw it in the trash can and burn it, because there’s not a lot of positive things you can take out of a game like this.”
Doyle notched his second goal of the game later in the period when he powered a long slap shot through the wickets of the freshman Findlay goaltender. Hooper, who left after surrendering the game’s fourth goal, faced 25 shots in the first losing effort of his career.
“If you look back at some of the goals, I couldn’t really fault him, except for the one slap shot that scored through the five hole,” said Ford.
“We can’t maintain any excuses, but if you look at our lineup we had 10 freshmen out there and we were exposed tonight.”
Colgate’s Jon Smyth put the game out of reach with his rebound goal early in the third period. The sophomore added an assist on the very next goal, scored by Dave Thomas, giving Smyth his first multi-point game of the season.
“Everyone has their time for growth,” said Moore, “and Jon seems to be fitting into his role. We’ve put him on the power play, and he has responded well to that. He’s taking the load we give him and handling it quite well.”
The night’s prettiest goal came at 13:02 of the third, well after the game was in hand, as Adam Mitchell wowed the home crowd with a drive to the net. The junior deked his way past an Oiler defender along the boards and cut to the front of the net, spreading the pads of Oiler goaltender Jon Horrell and sliding the puck through the opening. That closed out the scoring at 6-0.
“I didn’t really see it,” recalled Moore, “so I had to ask, but [captain Rob Brown] thought it was incredible. If Brownie as a defenseman could think it was an excellent move, then it must have been.”
The tough loss may mean an even tougher week for the Findlay players, as they gear up for their first CHA action against Bemidji State.
“On Monday, those guys are going to have an unbelievably tough practice,” warned Ford. “We’ve got to get back to the basics. We didn’t pass or receive the puck well. We’ve got two important conference games coming up, and we need to regroup and get back to the style of hockey that we need to play.”
Meanwhile, Colgate faces its first league test next week as well, as it travels south to face Princeton and Yale. The Raiders recognize the importance of a big victory entering a tough ECAC road weekend.
“The win’s huge,” said Silverthorn. “We came out after the week off flying, and we just want to carry that momentum into the ECACs. Hopefully we can get two wins next weekend too.”