Oxford, OH — Sometimes, a season doesn’t begin the way you want it to. Just ask Mark Dekanich.
The Colgate Raiders goaltender scored on himself at 10:54 in the first to give Vermont a 1-0 lead, and then provided considerable assistance on the second Catamount goal just 21 seconds later.
With another Vermont goal four minutes and change later, Colgate found itself in a 3-0 hole at the end of the first, and the Catamounts were off and running to a 6-0 win, entering the history books as the first team to win a game in Miami University’s new Steve Cady Arena at the 2006 Ice Breaker Tournament.
Dean Strong led Vermont in scoring with a goal and two assists, and several Catamounts had two-point games, including Peter Lenes, who had two third-period tallies.
“I certainly think that Colgate played as hard as they could,” said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Some of the bounces went our way — I don’t mean to sound like a coach — but on the power play there were some things that happened really nice for us tonight.”
Colgate head coach Don Vaughn would not comment after the game.
All three third-period goals, including Lenes’ two, came on the power play, and the marker that unnerved Dekanich was the end result of Kenny Macauley’s shot from the right point with the man advantage.
The combination of the first game of the regular season and the presence of four CCHA officials on the ice provided plenty of opportunity for each team to initiate the penalty boxes. The Raiders and Catamounts had 53 minutes between them, including Raider David McIntyre’s five minutes for hitting from behind and automatic game misconduct.
It was Ben Camper in the box on a hooking call when Macauley earned his first goal of the season at 10:54. Colgate cycled the puck well high, with Brian Roloff feeding Kyle Kuk, who then passed to Macauley at the top of the right circle. Macauley’s one-timer would have gone wide left, but Dekanich attempted to steer it further, intercepting it in midair — and promptly deflecting it back behind him and into his own net.
At 11:15, when Dekanich shifted to prevent Tom Collingham’s five-hole shot, he instead helped the puck into the net with the movement of his right leg, giving Collingham an unassisted tally and the Raiders a 2-0 lead.
Kuk, a sophomore, netted his first career goal at 15:59, catching the top far corner from the left point for that 3-0 lead after one.
Top of the left circle, caught the inside of the top far corner, and it was 3-0 before the season was 20 minutes old.to close the first-period scoring.
Lenes’ two power-play goals came just over two minutes apart early in the third to give Vermont a 5-0 lead, and the Catamounts capped the scoring with Strong’s even-strength goal at 13:12 in the final stanza.
“I was just really, really impressed with our guys from the standpoint of playing really well together,” said Sneddon. “Our conditioning’s very good. I thought we skated hard for 60 minutes. We probably won more races to loose pucks than Colgate, and as a result we were on the top end.”
The shutout was the 12th of junior goaltender Joe Fallon’s career, and Sneddon said that UVM’s defensive corps deserved some credit for the blanking.
“I think we did a great job. As good as Joe was tonight, making some saves in tight, I thought our six guys that play back on the blue line did a great job blocking those shots on the penalty kill.”
Fallon made 23 saves in the win. Dekanich stopped 23 of 29 shots he faced, and Charles Long finished the game for the Raiders after Strong’s goal.
The Catamounts (1-0-0) will face Miami — 5-2 victors over Denver — for the Ice Breaker title match Saturday night, while the Raiders will play the Pioneers in the early game.