HAMILTON, N.Y. — Hobey Baker candidate Yann Danis failed to complete a nightmarish game, as Colgate chased the Brown netminder from the game in the third period en route to a 6-1 victory at Starr Rink on Saturday night.
After allowing only seven goals in his first eight games of the season, Danis surrendered nine goals in less than two games against Cornell and Colgate. During that span the senior goalie’s goals against average more than doubled from .74 to 1.50 goals per game.
“He’s played so well this year, and he is only human,” remarked Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “Tonight he was off, but the whole team was off. It had nothing to do with him at all.”
The Raiders poured three goals on the Bears in the first ten minutes of the third period alone, as Darryl McKinnon, Jon Smyth, and Kyle Wilson quickly turned the game into a runaway and forced Grillo to play backup goaltender Scott Rowan for the first time on the year.
“We’ve played a couple of goaltenders who were supposed to be hot this year, but we’re a team that doesn’t really pay much attention to that,” said Smyth. “We just focus on our game, and there are always chances to be had.”
Smyth’s unassisted tally tied him for the league lead in goals with 10. The sophomore continues to impress after posting only three points in 25 games during his freshman year.
“For me it’s been puck readiness,” explained Smyth about his improved play. “When I see [Adam Mitchell] or Darryl in the corner, I’m getting my stick down and getting ready for the shot. When the puck comes I’m not taking my time and holding on to it, but just shooting whenever I get the chance.”
Colgate built a 2-0 lead with goals from Kyle Doyle and assistant captain Paul Kelley. But Brown got back into the game midway through the second period after a power-play goal by Brian Ihnachak. The freshman phenom unleashed a slap shot that beat Raider goaltender Steve Silverthorn under the right arm to slice the home team’s lead in half, 2-1.
“He’s a kid that can score, and he’s done a good job for us so far,” said Grillo of Ihnachak. “Hopefully he can continue to contribute down the stretch.”
Colgate answered just 25 seconds later, however, when Adam Mitchell slipped the puck through Danis’ legs and into the net to give his team its all-important third goal. The Raiders are 6-0-1 this season when scoring 3 or more goals.
“I know fate, kismet, and serendipity are parts of it, but I still think that we just took more control during the game and that led to our getting more bounces tonight,” explained Colgate head coach Stan Moore. “You make your own breaks, and I think we did that tonight.”
Silverthorn did not go untested throughout the night, and fought off 21 shots and a breakaway chance by Mike Meech early in the third period to secure his fifth win of the season.
“I think he would have wanted that one goal back, but the reaction to having that puck go in is the important thing,” commended Moore. “Did he come out to challenge later? Did he stay consistent and tough in goal? Making that breakaway save was an indication that he did that.”
The Raiders peppered the Brown goaltenders throughout the night and refused to let up after the game seemed secured in the third period. Colgate mustered 42 shots including 10 in the final frame.
“We don’t believe for one moment that a 40-minute game is the way to go,” said Moore. “It’s got to be a 60-minute game. I was very pleased with the fact that we didn’t let up, and we didn’t give up too many opportunities either.”
Colgate’s victory over the nationally ranked and ECAC-leading Bears may mean more than just two key league points to Jon Smyth and the rest of the Raider players.
“It sends a message to the other teams we play that they can’t come in here and expect to take two points away and then see what happens at Cornell,” said Smyth. “We also showed ourselves that we can compete with anyone tonight.”
Meanwhile, the Bears emerge from their trip to central New York with only one point, as their ECAC lead shrunk to three points. Grillo made no excuses for the team’s play.
“The score speaks for itself,” he said. “Colgate executed their game plan and played very well. There were a million things that went wrong, but the biggest thing is that we just got outworked by the Colgate team tonight.”