BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont shocked No. 15 Colgate with three first-period goals before the Raiders battled back to salvage a 3-3 tie with the Catamounts at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday.
“We can’t dwell on it on this game,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “We blew two points, we came away with one. But you’ve got to give credit to the Colgate team, I thought they were hungry.”
Colgate’s Jon Smyth, who potted a hat trick against Vermont on January 24th in a 9-4 shellacking at Starr Rink, scored two power-play goals and assisted on the third. And Darryl McKinnion had a goal and assist. Jeff Miles paced the Catamounts with a goal and an assist.
The Raiders are now 6-0-1 in their last seven contests. The Catamounts came out of the gate flying in the first period, and got goals from Scott Mifsud and Chris Myers just 30 seconds apart. Then later in the first Jeff Miles made a great individual effort speeding down the left wing and stopping on a dime to let the Colgate defenders slide past him. He sent a wrist shot toward Raiders’ goalie Steve Silverthorn. The puck deflected off a Colgate player and into the net at 17:04. It was Miles 41st goal of his career, an unassisted tally.
“It simply became a situation were we were overwhelmed by their play and we were under-whelmed by our own,” said Colgate interim coach Stan Moore. “They played very tough. I though their goaltender turned away a lot of opportunities. There weren’t a lot of second and third chances.”
Colgate (15-8-4, 10-4-1 ECAC) got on the board with the first of its three power-play goals. With 24 seconds left in the opening frame, Smyth wheeled around at the right circle and fired a wrister that found the twine, eluding the glove of Vermont goalie Travis Russell. Despite the goal late in the period, Vermont controlled play, making crisp breakout passes and using the stifling forecheck to create offensive chances that was a trademark of past great Catamount teams. The goal seemed to give Colgate momentum heading to the second.
The Raiders found their defense in the second period, playing a trap that hemmed Vermont into its own zone. Vermont committed four penalties in the period, giving the deadly Colgate power play chances to operate. The Raiders pulled to within one goal at 3-2 by the end of the frame. Smyth scored his second on the night, and 18th of the year at 15:34 after taking passes from Adam Mitchell and Mike Campaner (three assists), and lifting a wrist shot over Russell’s glove from above the right-wing circle.
Before the second Colgate goal, the Cats’ lead almost swelled back to two on the power play. Mifsud just missed a wide-open net after a rocket cross-ice pass.
“Undisciplined,” Sneddon said of the penalties Vermont took in the game. “There’s no excuse for it. It’s my fault that I haven’t gotten the point across. We take selfish, dumb penalties, and that’s a reflection of the coach. I’ll take the blame for it and address it.
“You get up three goals, you shouldn’t give a team a sniff.”
From the second period on, the Raiders only surrendered a staggering total of six shots through regulation and overtime.
In the third period, Colgate defense continued, and did not allow the Cats a clean look at the net, smothering all opportunities. It was only a matter of time before Colgate would get its third power-play goal to pull even.
McKinnion banged in a rebound of a Campagner shot at 17:04 to force the extra session.
Vermont was given a power play at the 20:00 mark of the third that carried over to sudden death, but could not capitalize.
Each team had chances in the five minutes but could not convert. In the end, Colgate went three-for-six with the man advantage while Vermont was scoreless in five chances.
Vermont had 22 shots blocked by the Raiders defense and only got 18 on net. Silverthorn rebounded from a sub par first 20 minutes with a solid 15-save effort.Colgate put 37 shots on Russell and he made 34 saves.
“We’re a lot better team than we showed tonight. You can’t give up a three-goal lead in this league,” said Mifsud. “We can’t take one point right now, we can’t be giving two points away.”
Vermont (4-18-4, 2-12-1 ECAC) welcomes Cornell to Gutterson tomorrow, and Colgate travels to Dartmouth.
Moore said,”We didn’t play sixty minutes, and we played no better than a tie.”