HAMILTON, N.Y. — Senior goaltender Steve Silverthorn set a Colgate record for career shutouts on Senior Night at Starr Rink on Saturday, as the Raiders blanked Rensselaer 1-0.
Silverthorn turned aside 21 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season and seventh of his career. In earning his 52nd career victory, he also moved closer to the Colgate (22-8-2, 14-4-2 ECACHL) goaltender record of 55 victories set by Dan Brenzavich in 1998.
“It’s not that many, and it’s not all me,” said Silverthorn of his seventh blanking. “Tonight especially. The penalty kill played amazing in front of me. I can’t say enough about our defense. I don’t see hard shots at all.”
Modesty aside, Silverthorn did make several clutch saves in the final five minutes of the contest to keep the Engineers off the board. Sophomore Kevin Broad created the best opportunity of the night for the visitors when he drove across the crease only to be stopped by the flashing left pad of the Raider netminder.
“He’s done it all and he’s been backstopping us all year long,” said Colgate coach Don Vaughan of Silverthorn. “He’s a gamer. He was the best player on the ice tonight, and he won the game for us.”
Rensselaer (13-19-2, 4-15-1) coach Dan Fridgen saw a clear reason why his team only mustered quality chances in the waning minutes of the contest.
“At times when we had some opportunities to score goals, it’s hard to score goals when you have a guy on your back,” he said. “It’s sad, but we’ve let rugby creep back into our game.”
The Engineers failed to score for the second consecutive night, and have been shut out in three of their last four games.
“You need some bounces and you need some luck,” said Fridgen. “We didn’t get any of that this weekend.”
Colgate struggled to find offensive chances as well. The Raiders lone goal came late in the second period, while on the power play. Freshman Tyler Burton dropped a pass just inside the blueline to Colgate points leader Jon Smyth, who fired a low shot through the pads of otherwise-perfect Rensselaer netminder Andrew Martin. Yet the home team generated only 18 shots for the game.
“We’re tired,” said Vaughan. “We looked tired at times tonight. We took some penalties in the third, and when you’re already tired it makes it a little tougher.”
The Raiders held on to earn their 22nd win of the year, however, matching last season’s total. Barring collapse, the seniors will have been a part of a Colgate team whose win total improved in each of the last four years.
“You start to look ahead and think what it’s going to be like without them here, and I don’t want to do that,” said Vaughan. “The program’s gotten better in each year that they’ve been here. They make everyone around them better, and I hope it will carry on after them after they’re gone.”
Ever focused, Silverthorn refused to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of his final regular-season home game in a Raiders jersey. With a guaranteed home playoff series in the second round of the ECACHL playoffs and two more regular-season games to come on the road at Clarkson and St. Lawrence, Colgate’s goalie believes that time for reflection on the past will come in the future.
“It hasn’t really set in yet,” he said. “We’ve got so much left to go in our season that it doesn’t really matter. We’ve still got the playoffs here and then wherever we’re going to go after that.”
Rensselaer sits four points out of eighth place in the league, and therefore will likely be on the road for the first round of the playoffs. The Engineers hope to improve their current 10th-place position next weekend when they host Princeton and Yale.