HAMILTON, N.Y. — The Colgate Raiders and the Union Dutchmen ended the contest even at 2-2 at Starr Rink. Goaltenders Corey Milan of Union and Charles Long of Colgate gave remarkable performances between the posts tonight, turning away 60 combined shots.
“Both teams had their chances,” said Union coach Nate Leaman, “and both goalies held their teams in the game.”
Leaman referred to Long’s acrobatic saves, saying “you gotta bury those, but we couldn’t put it away on him.”
Milan too earned the praise as he turned down the hot stick of David McIntyer on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity in the first frame; McIntyer looked for the five hole on the ice, but Milan split the width of the net to deny McIntyer’s would be 18th goal of the season.
“Long was our best player on the ice,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said after the game. “He was standing on his head for us tonight.”
Especially in the first period when the horn sounded and Colgate was only trailing by one goal.
That Colgate fought through exciting second and third periods to force the game into overtime “showed some character,” said Vaughan.
At 7:19 in the first, Colgate’s Nick Prockow was sent to the box for roughing, the first of six Colgate penalties on the night. Union set up an efficient cycle in the Colgate zone, finding open looks and passing lanes. After Long sent away several Union shots, Adam Presizinuk collected a Matt Cook pass at the left boards on blueline and found Jason Walters alone on the back post. Walters easily netted the puck at 8:43, for his 11th of the season.
The Dutchmen controlled the lead and the pace of the game throughout a second period which included back and forth scoring chances and 7 total penalties; three on Union, four on Colgate.
The momentum started to turn in favor of the Raiders as the clock hit the 10 minute mark in the third frame. The equalizer came at 14:12 in the third when Union defenders cleared the puck into the neutral zone where David Sloane caught the handle. Ethan Cox streaked in along the boards where Sloan’s pass found him at the top of the circle to Milan’s right. Cox sent a quick slapper on Milan which found the back of the net, for his second goal of the year.
Colgate returned to the ice after the goal with renewed energy, but the Raiders got caught leaning on a breakout when Luke Cain intercepted a Colgate pass in the neutral zone to create an odd-man rush. Cain sent it forward to Mike Harr who carried the puck in to the hash marks to Long’s left. Harr passed across to Kelly Zajak who had walked in behind his defender. Zajak stepped in on Long and fought the puck through the goaltender to take back the Union lead at 17:14; Zajak’s sixth score on the season.
Not to be so easily broken, at 18:45 Colgate called a time out and pulled the goalie with the faceoff coming inside Union territory at the dot the Milan’s right.
“We took the timeout to set up a play,” Vaughan said. “Day won the drawback to Mc[Intyer], and that is just what we wanted.” Milan kicked McIntyer’s shot into the corner, but Colgate’s momentum continued to pressure Union.
Colgate (9-16-6 overall, 4-11-4 in ECAC) again gathered the puck in the neutral zone, and sent it back deep into the Union (15-13-3, 8-9-2) end. Brian Day collected in the corner to Milan’s right and walked behind the cage. Day stepped out across the goal line and his pass found Austin Smith on the backside of the defenders in the slot. Smith stepped across the crease and netted the final equalizer at 19:21, his 12th goal of the year.
“After their second goal, you could see us losing our intensity,” said Leaman. “We were barely holding on in overtime.”
“We showed a lot of character by coming out and answering that weak goal with three minutes left and taking the game to the end,” Vaughan said. “Sometimes a team that has struggled goes out there in overtime and plays not to lose; we went out there and played to win.”
Both squads are back in action tomorrow night, February 21; Union travels to Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y. to face off against Cornell (16-6-4, 11-5-3 ECAC) at 7:00 p.m., and Colgate hosts Rensselaer (7-22-2, 6-12-1 ECAC), also at 7:00 p.m., here at Starr Rink in Hamilton, N.Y.