HAMILTON, N.Y. — Though they took the initial lead and kept the game close, it appeared as if the St. Lawrence Saints (9-11-3, 4-6-2 ECACHL) petered out down the stretch, falling to the Colgate Raiders (9-9-4, 2-4-3 ECACHL) 4-1 at Starr Rink of Saturday evening.
The victory raised the Raiders’ record to .500 overall in the season, capping off an unbeaten weekend after the team tied No. 12 Clarkson Friday evening. St. Lawrence dropped its second game in as many nights after losing to Cornell 3-1 Friday.
The Saints jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, scoring 4:35 into the first just as Colgate’s Brian Day’s penalty expired. Saints’ co-captain Jared Ross fired a slap shot from the right point that Colgate netminder Mark Dekanich thought he trapped in his pads; however, the puck squirmed through his legs, stopping mere inches from the goal line. Aaron Bogosian quickly located the puck and tapped it home for his fourth of the season.
Colgate responded by tallying four straight goals and preventing any further damage on the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
“We had a sluggish start,” commented Raiders’ coach Don Vaughan after the game. As to what caused the shift in momentum in the game, Vaughan said, “Jesse [Winchester] and [Tyler] Burton got us going on the bench.. Our big players stepped up.”
Colgate got on the board five minutes after the opening goal. David McIntyre, who Winchester credited for truly waking his team up, picked up a loose puck in front of the Saints’ net after goaltender Kain Tisi made a couple of saves and buried his fifth goal of the season to level the score.
Colgate’s second goal came near the end of the second period. First-year defenseman Kevin McNamara broke the tie by cheating in from the point and whacking in another rebound goal. In a heads up play, McNamara zipped a pass to the far blue line from deep in the Raiders’ zone where David McIntyre stood alone tapping his stick frantically. McIntyre had just stepped out of the penalty box after serving two minutes for cross-checking. Tisi stopped the breakaway opportunity, but could not stop the onslaught of Raiders crashing the net to follow up the play.
Tyler Burton notched the third Colgate goal 4:52 into the third to give the Raiders a little insurance, a play made possible by Day. Day caused a turnover near the Saints’ blue line and displayed nice hands as he juked out a Saints’ defender. Though his shot went wide, McIntyre picked up the carom off the boards and fed it to Burton, who sniped his 12th of the season.
Winchester put the nail in the coffin with six minutes left in the game on Colgate’s fifth shorthanded goal of the season. Saints’ co-captain Shawn Fensel, meaning to start a breakout, inadvertently passed the puck directly to Winchester, who in the blink of an eye one-timed a laser of a slap shot into the top far-side corner past Tisi for his seventh of the season.
Saints coach Joe Marsh thought his team put in one of its best performances of the season, despite the loss.
“We worked hard and we need to work harder,” he assessed. “[Colgate's] big gunners did a terrific job. They have one of the best goaltenders in the nation. They’re a good transition team and I think the difference-maker was that they showed better ice-management.”
Marsh sang much praise for Vaughan and his talented group of players. Of his team’s 0-for-7 performance on the power play, Marsh candidly replied, “Hey, it was better than last night when we were 0-for-8.”
Winchester, who was buzzing around the net and had a hand in numerous offensive opportunities for the Raiders, commented that he has been trying to shoot the puck more in recent games. He feels that he has more confidence in his shot as a result of working with his coaches on extra shooting drills before and after practice. “It’s paid its dividends,” he chuckled.
Colgate looks to extend its unbeaten streak when they host Yale and Brown on January 25th and 26th, respectively, at 7 p.m. St. Lawrence will look to get back on track at home next weekend against Union and RPI on January 25th and 26th, respectively, at 7 p.m.