LEWISTON, N.Y. — Niagara stormed back from a two-goal deficit to tie Colgate 2-2 in the final 10 seconds of play, as Barret Eghoetz fought off two defenders and found Joe Tallari for the tying goal before a packed house at Dwyer Arena.
This was no “kissing-your-sister tie,” as both teams battled mightily for whatever meager offensive opportunities emerged from a tight checking, fast-paced non-conference match up. And perhaps because of the way things played out (with Colgate surrendering both goals in the final six minutes) Raiders head coach Stan Moore had a more pessimistic take on the game than his counterpart, Niagara’s Dave Burkholder.
“Some of our guys suffered from a panic attack,” Moore said in describing the final frenzied moments of play. “One of our defenders actually turned his stick around and tried to play goaltender. … Usually when things like that happen, you bleed to death out there and you usually get scored on.”
Said Burkholder, “I thought it was a great game. I thought nobody deserved to lose. But with 10 minutes to go and them [Colgate] up by two I said to myself: ‘Oh, well, our big guns didn’t get it done tonight.’ And that’s when Eghoetz and Tallari stepped up and made plays.”
Colgate struck first in the opening minutes of the third period. Paul Kelley’s nifty work behind the Niagara net was rewarded when he found Rob Brown in the slot, as Brown rifled a wrist shot past Niagara goaltender Jeff VanNynatten.
Moments later Colgate scored again when Jon Smyth outworked two Niagara defenders and threaded a pass to teammate Darryl McKinnon. McKinnon beat VanNynatten along the ice to push Colgate to what seemed an insurmountable lead.
As the clock ticked away, Burkholder juggled his lines in hope of a spark. That’s when Barret Eghoetz redirected a rebound from Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn in for Niagara’s first goal. Coincidentally, moments prior to this goal, Goetz had been tossed out of the faceoff circle, enabling him to gain position to put back Chris Welch’s slapshot.
Niagara’s tying goal came with 10 seconds left. This time Eghoetz was able to control the puck in front of the Raider net long enough to enable Joe Tallari to get free. Tallari’s wrist shot exorcised what up until that point had been a trying season for the senior forward.
“The first half of this season has been one of adversity for me,” Tallari said. “My job is to score goals, and finally I was able to get something done.”