TROY, N.Y. — Colgate survived eight penalties and 26 Rensselaer shots on goal to earn third place in the Engineers’ 53rd annual Holiday Tournament Monday afternoon.
Raider sophomore Kyle Wilson proved the difference in the game, as his two tallies stood up against the Engineers’ lone goal, giving Colgate (8-7-2, 3-3-0 ECAC) it’s first win of the season when scoring two goals or fewer.
“He has a sure stick, there’s no question about it,” praised Colgate head coach Stan Moore. “We’ve been telling Kyle since his arrival at Colgate that if his work ethic rises to his level of true individual ability, he could be one incredible player.”
After killing off the first penalty in the matinee, Colgate followed by tallying the first goal of the afternoon. Engineer goalie Andrew Martin steered aside an Adam Mitchell slapshot from the near boards, but Wilson sprang on the loose puck and buried his second goal of the tournament, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
Neither team generated many offensive chances. Having surrendered six against Northeastern the previous night, Colgate keyed on a tight defensive effort in the consolation match.
“We battled and were very physical tonight. Our guys are tired, as I would expect RPI’s guys to be. Our players should correlate hard work and bench support with what happened at the end of the game, which was getting a win.”
Meanwhile, even-strength opportunities came few and far between for the tournament hosts. RPI coach Dan Fridgen expressed his frustration after the Engineers (8-7-2, 3-2-1) mustered only three goals on the weekend.
“When you’re playing a perfect hockey game out there defensively, one five-on-five goal over the course of 120 minutes is not going to win you a lot of games,” he said. “In two games we only gave up five goals, but when you struggle offensively, that’s not going to help you.”
RPI made good on an extra-man opportunity midway through the second period. Sophomore Kirk MacDonald fired Kevin Croxton’s centering pass by the stick side of Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn, evening the score at 1-1.
“I thought the effort was there, but at times I think we could have been more physical,” said an unsatisfied Fridgen. “We’ve got to play our game, and I’m not so sure we were consistent with that. We need to get hungrier and find a way to put the puck through the back of the net if we have to.”
The Raiders answered six minutes later with a power-play goal of their own. Wilson chipped a loose rebound over Martin’s outstretched glove to give his team a one-goal edge. The goal was his third of the weekend after having struggled to find the twine coming into the contest.
“There was a little bit of time when I wasn’t getting the puck in the net,” explained Wilson, “but I was still getting assists and helping the team. It doesn’t really matter when you’re winning, but it definitely feels good to put the puck in the net.”
The Raiders used tight defensive play to contain the Engineers for the rest of the night. RPI failed to generate many prime opportunities, and Silverthorn rose to the occasion when called upon.
“We had to tighten up a lot tonight,” said Moore. “We were hoping not to be as porous as we were last night. I thought Silverthorn played quite well, and he might have provided us with the momentum to hold on to that 2-1 lead. As a group, though, we didn’t offer that many chances.”
Despite being a nonconference game, the tournament’s consolation represented more to two league foes, who look forward to two more head-to-head matches as the season progresses.
“It’s good to set the tone with this team,” said Wilson of fellow ECAC member Rensselaer. “We’re going to see them twice more, so it’s good to get a win against them right off the bat and show them a few things of what’s to come.”
Colgate will continue tuning up for the final league push with a non-conference game next weekend against Niagara. Rensselaer, meanwhile, looks forward to an important two-game ECAC swing against Brown and Harvard.