HAMILTON, N.Y. — The Colgate Raiders (13-12-5, 7-7-4 ECACHL) pulled out all the stops as they steamrolled the Union Dutchmen (13-11-5, 8-6-4 ECACHL) 8-0 on Saturday night at Starr Rink.
“Hockey is a game of momentum,” Raiders’ coach Don Vaughan commented, and the momentum seemed to be wholly in the Raiders favor throughout.
With the victory, Vaughan took sole possession of first place in career victories in Colgate history, surpassing the late Terry Slater.
“I’m honored,” said Vaughan about the feat. The night before, he admitted that he had not really thought about the record coming into the weekend, but Saturday he said that throughout the evening he was thinking “about all the guys who contributed [to my success], my assistant coaches, Mike Harder, Andy McDonald, Joey Mormina. I definitely felt a little bit of nostalgia.”
“Everything they shot went in tonight,” dejectedly assessed Dutchmen coach Nate Leaman. “We’d have three to four good chances and then they’d get one and pot it; that’s tough to stop. They were deadly with their chances.”
Leaman credited Raiders’ goaltender Mark Dekanich for making a number of key saves to keep the Dutchmen off the board.
“We had possession I’d say 70-80% of the time, particularly in the second period. That was a well-deserved shutout.”
Tom Riley opened up the scoring for the Raiders midway through the first period. After the teams traded offensive opportunities to open the first frame, Riley gathered the puck through center ice and, as he crossed the blue line, let go a weak wrister on net. Union goaltender Corey Milan thought he gloved the save; however the puck snuck into the near top corner for Riley’s eighth of the season. Milan looked at his glove after the play, seemingly confused as to how the puck got past it.
The Raiders quickly tagged on another goal 50 seconds later. Francois Brisebois threw the puck toward the front of the net from the right corner. Though the pass was blocked by a Union defender, Ethan Cox streaked in, stripped him of the puck and in one motion spun around toward the goal and put a shot on net low glove side. The play happened so quickly that Milan could not react in time to make the save, giving Cox his fifth goal of the season.
Just before the close of the period Tyler Burton tallied the Raiders’ third goal. Raiders’ captain Jesse Winchester blocked a pass in front of his own goal and broke the puck out of the Raiders’ zone. A Union backchecker started hooking Winchester, preventing him from keeping both his hands on his stick. With only one hand, Winchester slid a pass to Burton along the Union blue line. Burton kicked into a higher gear and blew past Union captain Lane Cafarro to go on a mini-breakaway. Burton picked his head up and tucked a shot in low glove side for his sixteenth of the season.
Those three goals were enough to convince Leaman that his freshman netminder was not on his game that night, so senior goaltender Justin Mrazek was put in the game in relief.
Burton notched his second of the game to give the Raiders a 4-0 lead a quarter of the way into the second. After leading a two-on-one opportunity that Mrazek stopped, Burton cut toward the net to arrive just in time to tip Mark Anderson’s shot from the point in for his seventeenth of the season.
Over ten minutes later, on a five-on-three power play opportunity, Colgate tacked on its fifth goal of the game. Only 20 seconds in, David McIntyre fed Nick St. Pierre, who had planted himself at the top of the slot. Mrazek scrambled to get square to the shot while St. Pierre took his time to pick an open corner. St. Pierre wristed the puck top blocker side for his first of the season.
The Raiders were not done, even though they had a commanding lead. Midway through the third, David McIntyre tipped in a Wade Poplawski shot from the point on another Raider power play for his ninth of the season.
Five minutes later, the Raiders got another power play chance. Vaughan made an interesting choice to send out 6’5″ defenseman Matt Torti on the forward line with Burton and Winchester.
“We decided to give it a whirl, see what it looks like,” admitted Vaughan. The line change paid off. Winchester, from the right corner, zipped a pass to Torti, who had crept toward the Union goal undefended. Torti merely had to tap the puck in on the open side for his first goal since his freshman year. After the game, Burton and Dekanich both indicated how happy they were to see “the big ugly,” as Torti is affectionately called, get a goal. Torti’s family happened to be in the stands to witness and celebrate the event.
Not more than a minute later, Anderson put home another one, ending the scoring for the evening. Anderson received the puck around the Union blue line. Realizing that the Union defense had offered him an open lane, he let rip a slapper that zipped under the glove of Mrazek along the ice for his fifth of the season.
The Raiders eight goals were recorded by seven different players.
“We really killed them tonight,” said Dekanich excitedly. “It’s great to see our secondary and primary scorers getting on the board. It’s a lot more fun to play with a lead.”
Dekanich notched his third straight shutout and also set the Coglate record for consecutive shutout minutes in Saturday’s game.
“It definitely gives the team confidence,” Burton said about the team’s “spreading the wealth.” “It was a full team effort.”
About his own play, Burton discussed how his assistant coaches had told him before the game to “really hound the puck” and “get in there,” advice he certainly took to heart and executed. Burton now has 11 goals and 18 total points in his career against Union.
About what his team can take out from this game, Leaman said that the Dutchmen cannot come out as soft as they did in the opening period. “We just have to put this one behind us and move on,” he said. “It’s all about the [next] two points.”
“We’ve had trouble at time scoring goals this season,” admitted Vaughan about his own team. “We can’t expect it to go [like it did tonight]. We’ve got some real battles ahead of us.”
The Raiders will look to raise their ECACHL record above .500 as they take on Princeton and Quinnipiac on the road next weekend, playing at Princeton on February 22 at 7 p.m. and at Quinnipiac on February 24 at 12:30 p.m. The Dutchmen will host No. 13 Clarkson on February 22 at 7 p.m. and St. Lawrence the following night, also at 7 p.m.