HAMILTON, N.Y. — Tyler Burton and No. 17 Colgate (12-6-5, 8-2-1) affirmed the age old saying, “Good things happen when you put the puck on goal,” as they edged Clarkson (12-9-2, 5-5-1) 4-2 at Starr Rink on Friday night.
All Tyler could do was shrug his shoulders as he gave his teammates glove-pounds after notching his 11th goal of the season and giving the Raiders the game-winning goal. The sophomore took a pass from John Smyth behind the net and through a pass in front. Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the puck ricocheted off Clarkson defenseman Tyrell Mason’s stick blade and into the net.
“It’s hockey,” Clarkson head coach George Roll reluctantly admitted after the game.
After an uneventful first period, the second brought some more action. Clarkson cracked the scoreless battle 57 seconds in on a transition goal by Mike Sullivan. Golden Knight defender Michael Grenzy broke up a Colgate two-on-one rush and head manned to winger David Cayer. Cayer crossed for Sullivan, who wristed a low shot on goal. Raider netminder Mark Dekanich made the initial save, but the puck bounced off him and straight up and down in the air, landing perfectly for Sullivan to knock home his own rebound for his 11th of the season and second point in two games after snapping a scoreless stretch of 151 minutes of hockey.
Colgate responded 42 seconds later to tie the game at one. Marc Fulton found Kyle Wilson streaking down the middle at center ice. Wilson preceded to split the Clarkson defensemen and roof the puck over David Leggio’s blocker as he went down to cover the lower half of the net.
Though Colgate drew a quick power play after scoring the tying goal, Clarkson’s Nick Dodge took advantage of a shorthanded opportunity for the fourth time this year to give the Golden Knights back the lead. Colgate’s Mike Campaner had trouble holding the blueline in the offensive zone and stumbled while trying to gain control of the puck, which was more than enough for Dodge to swoop in and take off to create a breakaway opportunity. Dodge put a low shot on Dekanich’s leg pads and then stuffed in the rebound for his 12th of the season.
With six minutes left in the period, the Raiders managed to tie the score again. After almost giving up another shorthanded goal, the Raiders settled down and worked the puck down low in the offensive territory. Just as their power play expired, freshman Peter Bogdanich skated with the puck behind the Clarkson goal and wrapped around a backhand pass to an open Fulton on the opposite side. Fulton snapped home his eighth this season and his second point of the game.
At the end of the second, Colgate head coach Don Vaughan focused on telling his team to limit their mistakes. “These were two relatively young teams,” Vaughan said after the game, and he added that nerves would be an important factor going into the final period.
The third period belonged to Colgate’s Dekanich.
“They played desperate hockey,” said Vaughan of the Golden Knights’ performance in the third when trailing.
“When down a goal, a team’ll come at you hard,” added Dekanich.
Clarkson roared back from Burton’s fluke goal to outshoot the Raiders 23-5.
“Honestly, I like it better to see a lot of shots,” Dekanich responded after the game. “It keeps me in the game. The defense cleared guys out from in front so I could see all the shots.”
“Mark really stepped up his game tonight,” commented Vaughan about his young goalkeeper. “We knew we had a really good goalie last year, but he was playing behind another good goalie in Silver [John Silverthorn].”
Roll said, “Dekanich got in the way of the shots, that’s all that matters.”
Dekanich showed excellent poise as he held the Raiders down the stretch. Eventually Ryan Smyth sealed the deal as he slid his fourth goal of the season into the empty net. Colgate accumulated its second win in a row and snapped a four-game winless streak against Clarkson, while Clarkson extended its losing streak to three games after sustaining its first weekend sweep against Union (5-0) and Rensselaer (4-3).
“I can’t get upset at the effort,” remarked Roll after making his post-game speech to his team. “The bounces will start going in if we keep playing like that… I mean, the shots looked like they’d go in from where I was standing. I wouldn’t want to play us when we play with that sort of effort that we had tonight.”
Though Leggio said that he tried not to let the Burton goal get him down, his aggravation peaked as he got off the ice and broke his stick as he entered the locker room.
“I wanted a lucky bounce our way in the third…we’ve got a really frustrated team,” the goaltender said. “I mean, one goal went off my stick, one went off my head, and then at the other end the guy made the big saves.”
Leggio finished with 23 saves for the evening.
Colgate takes on No. 10 St. Lawrence Saturday night at 7:00 PM to battle it out for first place in the ECAC.
“We’re banged up,” concluded Vaughan, which he thought affected the team’s lack of face-off wins and tiring out in the third period, something he hopes will not happen against the Saints.
Clarkson looks to end their winless streak tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. in Ithaca against the Cornell Big Red.