HAMILTON, N.Y. — Colgate’s (12-12-5, 6-7-4 ECACHL) Mark Dekanich, after securing sole possession of his school’s record last weekend against Clarkson, earned his second straight shutout as the Raiders grinded out a 4-0 victory over Rensselaer (9-18-4, 5-10-3 ECACHL). Dekanich also extended his scoreless streak to 152:26.
“Mark is one of the best goaltenders in the country and I think he’s the best in the league,” remarked Engineers’ coach Seth Appert about the opposing goaltender.
“It’s nice to hold records, but the important stat is the one in the win column,” said Dekanich after the game.
Dekanich only had to make eight total saves in the game to earn the shutout.
“It’s difficult to keep focused,” he admitted. “I try to follow the puck and talk to my teammates to keep myself in the game.”
The Engineers put out their best effort at the beginning of the second period, monopolizing the offensive chances between the two teams; however Dekanich was equal to the task and staved off the offensive flurry.
“When the tide started turning, he made the key saves,” commented Appert. “That’s what goaltenders do; they bide time for their team to get its things in order.”
Also earning praise Friday night was Raiders’ coach Don Vaughan, who tied former Raiders’ coach Terry Slater’s 251 career victories.
“It speaks to my longevity,” jested Vaughan. “I haven’t really thought much about it, honestly, but my first thought went to Terry [after the game]. Terry was a tremendous coach and a great character. I missed him a lot tonight.”
About his team’s performance on Friday night, Vaughan felt that the Raiders played a solid game.
“We didn’t give [RPI] any grade-A chances. kept their shots to the outside.”
“They simply outplayed us,” said Appert about the Raiders. “They out-executed us.. For two straight games, we have kept their big guys off the scoreboard [referring to Tyler Burton and Jesse Winchester], but that just demonstrates that the depth of their talent out-shone ours.”
“You can’t ask for more,” Raider Brian Day commented on the subject of the Raiders’ big guns not scoring in the Raiders’ victory. “Production from all four lines [is key].”
The Raiders’ first goal came six minutes into the first. Raiders’ defenseman Nick St. Pierre corralled the puck and took it end-to-end, generating a 3-on-2 opportunity. He then dropped a pass between his legs to Joe DeBello, who was trailing the play. DeBello lifted a shot over the shoulder of Engineers’ netminder Mathias Lange that went in top shelf for his second goal of the season.
After Colgate weathered off an early second period storm of offense from RPI, the Raiders quashed the Engineers steam with their second goal of the game. Forwards David McIntyre, Tom Riley, and Day worked the puck down low in the Engineers’ zone until Tom Riley got free and niftily slid a pass between the legs of Engineers’ defender Brian Brutlag to McIntyre, who was coming out of the right corner. McIntyre showed good strength as he fended off the other Engineers’ defender, Jeff Foss, to work his way out in front. McIntyre made Lange look foolish as he recognized that the goaltender had left his post too quickly to slide across the goal mouth and slipped the puck into the net on the near side for his eighth of the season.
With only a minute left in the period, Colgate tacked on another. Francois Brisbois sprung Ethan Cox coming out of the Raiders’ zone, who led the charge three-on-one toward the RPI net. Cox faked the shot and instead zipped a pass to the opposite post, where Jason Williams one-timed home his eighth of the season.
Midway through the third, with a delayed penalty coming against RPI, Mark Anderson capped off the Raiders’ scoring for the evening. Riley gained possession of the puck at the top of the left slot and pivoted toward the center. He let go a low wrister that found its way through a sea of bodies and tipped off Anderson’s stick low blocker side and into the Engineers’ net for his fifth of the season.
“In the second and third I thought we created just as many scoring chances [as the Raiders],” confessed Appert, “Colgate demonstrated that they have skill, poise, and a willingness to drive to the net and to block shots.”
When asked if there was anything his team could take away from this game, Appert said, “It’s weird to play two different teams; it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of systems and what not. We continued to fight and be physical. We have to be able to make plays and execute.”
Commenting on the Raiders “spreading the wealth” in terms of scoring on Friday night, Dekanich said, “It’s an indicator that everyone is on their game. Secondary scoring is what wins championships.”
“It’s nice to get production from the other guys,” added Vaughan. “It takes pressure off [our big guys].
“Our focus has to quickly shift to Union. It’s the nature of the beast; we can’t dwell on the wins or the losses. We have a tough match against Union tomorrow that we have to gear up for.”
The Raiders will host Union on Saturday night at 7 p.m. as they try to claw their way toward one of the top four positions in the ECACHL, while RPI will travel to Ithaca to take on the Big Red and snap their four game winless skid.