ALBANY, N.Y. — Colgate renewed its passionate rivalry with travel-partner Cornell, albeit in a game utterly devoid of postseason ramification. The Red imposed their will on the battered Raiders in the ECAC Hockey consolation game, defeating the ‘Gate 4-2.
“Games like this are always challenging to get motivated for,” said Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “But that said, both teams came out and played hard.”
“It’s a game that nobody wants to be involved in,” echoed Cornell’s Mike Schafer, “[but] I told [my team] that every time you pull the jersey over your head, you play with pride.”
Raiders captain Jesse Winchester, out of the lineup for his last career game, was asked by Vaughan to step behind the bench with him for the contest.
“I told him a couple of minutes before the game that he was making his coaching debut, and he didn’t believe me,” said Vaughan. “I thought it would be fitting for [him].”
The teams played with equal parts pacifism and punishment, dishing out the hits at times, but also seeking the path of least resistance other times. Raider Mark Dekanich made a terrific diving glove save halfway through the first period, but Cornell’s Doug Krantz made him look foolish four minutes later with a soft five-hole shot from low on the left wing.
“We really tried to enjoy ourselves” in our last game, said Krantz of his team’s attitude.
The Raiders drew even with their biggest rivals at 16:04 of the period, as 6-foot-5 sophomore Sean Carty beat Ben Scrivens on a one-timer from Mike Werner. The goal was Carty’s first career point, earned by busting down the slot and slamming the feed between Scrivens’ pads on the two-on-one rush.
The Big Red power play victimized the Raiders on consecutive chances in the second, putting the Ithaca icers up 3-1 by the nine-minute mark.
First, co-captain Raymond Sawada tipped Mike Devin’s point shot over Dekanich’s shoulder from in close at 7:31. Sophomore Justin Krueger followed it up with a rip over the goalie’s blocker from the left-wing dot at with 8:57 gone in the frame.
Vaughan elected to replace his bread-and-butter ‘keeper halfway through the period, to a rousing applause from Colgate’s bench and backers. Senior classmate Justin Kowalkoski — “Moose”, to his teammates — came in for his seventh appearance of the season, and 18th of his career.
Cornell converted on yet another power play opportunity 3:16 into the third, as second-year skater Colin Greening deflected fellow soph Brendon Nash’s shot through Kowalkoski’s pads.
Junior Dan DiLeo replaced Scrivens with just under three minutes to play, making his first-ever appearance for the Big Red.
“A lot of guys on our team who play a lot could learn a lesson [from DiLeo],” said Schafer. “[He] works hard day-in and day-out.”
Tyler Burton gave the newcomer his first-ever goal-against, knocking home a cross-crease rebound of Ben Camper’s shot from the right.
Vaughan had his goalies change “on the fly” late in the third, as he was intent on Dekanich finishing his Colgate career on the ice.
“I’m not sure that’s legal in the NHL,” laughed Schafer afterward, “but we were trying to figure out how to change our guy [too].”