SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Games against Colgate have never been easy for Union.
Between winning just once at Colgate in 16 years, dropping tight ones at Messa Rink over the past few seasons and having Raiders forward Tyler Burton scored 12 points in six games, the Raiders have had the Dutchmen’s number. Union had lost nine straight to the Raiders entering Friday’s ECAC Hockey contest at Messa Rink.
Burton got a hat trick, but the Dutchmen finally got a victory against the Raiders. Thanks to a three-goal first period, Union held on for a 5-4 ECAC Hockey win at Messa.
“It’s pretty big for us, especially [since] we need the points in the league,” said Dutchmen defenseman Mike Schreiber, whose goal with 3:51 left in the third period ended up being the game-winner when Burton completed his hat trick with a power-play goal 41 seconds later. “It’s all ECAC games from here on in, and we now important they are. It was a really big win.”
The Dutchmen (2-3-2 ECACH, 7-8-3 overall), who have won three straight, last beat Colgate, 4-1, Jan. 18, 2003, at Messa. Union coach Nate Leaman, who was 0-8 against Colgate since he was hired in 2003, downplayed the significance of the ending the skid.
“Different year, different teams,” Leaman said. “I thought that game could have gone either way. We were fortunate enough to outscore them tonight.”
The Raiders (1-4-2, 7-9-3), who had not played since Dec. 29, nearly scored the first goal 16 seconds into the game. But Nick St. Pierre’s slot shot hit the post to the right of goalie Corey Milan, who was screened.
The Dutchmen took advantage of the break. Jason Walters scored the first goal for Union at 1:43, one-timing a pass from Matt Cook over goalie Mark Dekanich’s right shoulder.
Adam Presizniuk made it 2-0 56 seconds later, tipping in a Brendan Milnamow shot from the high slot. John Simpson got a lucky goal on the power play at 7:27. Lance Caffaro’s high slot shot was going wide. But the puck hit Simpson’s glove and sailed past Dekanich.
“It was really important for us to come out flying,” Presizniuk said. “If we can do that [every game], it definitely gives us a boost.”
The last time Union scored three goals in the first period since Feb. 11, 2006, against Yale.
“I like to have those first eight minutes back,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “They did a good job. We had a great first shift, [we] hit the pipe. I thought maybe we weren’t as rusty as I thought we might be.”
Burton started Colgate’s comeback, scoring a power-play goal with 4:07 left in the first. Jason Williams made it 3-2 5:14 into the second.
Caffaro got the momentum back for the Dutchmen midway through the second when he took a pass from Stephane Boileau on a two-on-one break and beat Dekanich.
But Burton got that one back with 2:40 left in the period.
After killing off three power plays in the third, Schreiber made it a two-goal game again for the Dutchmen. Burton’s third goal of the game, his second career hat trick against Union, made the final 3:10 nail-biting time.
But the Dutchmen didn’t give the Raiders another chance, even when Dekanich was pulled for an extra attacker with 47.5 seconds left.
“To hang on to a win like that is such a character builder for this team,” Schreiber said. “We’ve been through so much adversity it seems like this year. To get a win like that helps the team a lot.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for the The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.