HAMILTON, N.Y. — The Colgate Raiders faced off against the Brown Bears Friday night at Starr Rink. Both teams came into action in search of their first conference win this season. It would prove to be the story of two teams heading in opposite directions, as Brown pulled out a 5-2 victory over a slumping Colgate team.
The first half of the opening frame saw the two teams trading possession at both ends of the ice, with the goalies seeing limited action. However, a boarding penalty on Colgate’s Mike McCann at 7:48 followed by a kneeing penalty on Billy Rivellini at 9:24, both in the neutral zone, gave Brown a two-man advantage.
The Bears’ power-play unit had no trouble setting up and generating offense right away. Off an offensive zone face-off Brown defenseman Jeff Buvinow picked up the puck at the right point and sent it across to Dennis Robertson. Robertson wristed the puck towards the goal and it bounced to Chris Zaires just inside slot. Zaires shot the puck into a wide-open goal.
Raiders’ netminder Alex Evin had trouble locating Zaires and did his best to scramble to try and make the save, but to no avail, Brown grabbed the 1-0 lead at 9:32, just eight seconds into the 5-on-3 power-play.
“We took advantage of opportunities tonight,” said Brown head coach Brendan Whittet. “I give our guys credit. If you don’t score on 5-on-3s you can often get demoralized. Our special teams won us the game tonight.”
Colgate would kill off the remaining penalty and Zaires goal would hold up as the only tally, as the first period ended with the Bears leading the Raiders 1-0.
In the second period, Colgate came out fast but Brown was equal to the test and the physical play immediately picked up.
Colgate would even up the score at 8:32 of the second period. The Raiders broke out of their zone, coming in on Bears’ goaltender Michael Clemente an odd man rush. Matt Firman carried the puck down the middle and took a shot that Clemente got his pad on. Austin Meyer picked up the rebound and put it on net with another follow up shot by Corbin McPherson. Ultimately, it was Firman who banked home the equalizer past a flopping Clemente.
Mistakes by Colgate, however, would allow Brown to regain the lead on another 5-on-3 power play. Thomas Larkin took a delay of game penalty, which was followed up by another Rivellini penalty for hitting from behind. Brown’s Dennis Robertson overpowered Evin with a one-timer from the right face-off dot at 10:26, putting the Bears up 2-1. Jack MacLellan and Jeff Buvinow were credited with the assists.
“When things aren’t going your way, the little mistakes get magnified,” said Colgate coach Don Vaughan. “Even though we gave up two goals on 5-on-3′s and a shorthanded goal, we were still in the game.”
With just under 4 minutes left in the second period and Colgate on a power-play, Brown’s Bobby Farnham turned a McPherson turnover into a breakaway. As he was coming in on Alex Evin, Jeremy Price tripped him and Farnham was granted a penalty shot. Evin stood tall and denied the shot, keeping the deficit at one, which is where it would be at the end of the period.
Special teams would haunt Colgate once again half way through the third period. On a power-play, Nathan Sinz could not keep the puck in the zone and Brown capitalized. Jack MacLellan came down on a 2-on-0 with Bobby Farnham. MacLellan skated the puck down the left side and hit Farnham with a beautiful pass in the slot. All Farnham had to do was tip it past Evin and with 10:46 left in the game, the Bears held a 3-1 lead.
Brown put the icing on the cake with just over 4 minutes left in the game as Garnet Hathaway wrapped the puck around the cage and found a wide-open David Brownschidle in the slot. Even with an acrobatic effort, Evin was helpless and could not stop the shot that beat him low glove side. It was evident that Evin was left out to dry by his team tonight. There was not much more he could do.
In a last-ditch effort, Vaughan pulled his goalie with just over 3 minutes left and his strategy worked, as Colgate maintained possession in the offensive zone and generated offense. Robbie Bourdon blasted a slap shot past Clemente from the right point, making things interesting, cutting the Brown lead to 4-2, with 2:45 left in the game. Francois Brisebois and Jeremy Price were given assists.
“We have to get back to battling,” said Vaughan. “When the puck doesn’t go in its backwards thinking. They tend to think that scoring goals will get them going when in fact it’s the opposite. They have to get themselves going before the puck can go in.”
That would be all for the Colgate comeback effort, though, as Brown was able to hold off the last few chances and tally an empty-netter with 30 seconds left in the game. MacLellan was given the goal with Farnham and Zaires getting assists completing the scoring at 5-2 in favor of Brown.
“We haven’t had much success here in the past,” said Whittet. “But for us to come in here and get our first league win is huge. Clemente played great and it was our team effort that I am really proud of.”
The Colgate Raiders (2-6-1, 0-4-1 ECAC) are now on a four game losing streak and will host Yale tomorrow night at Starr Rink, while Brown (2-2-1, 1-1-1) heads to Cornell and will play at Lynah Rink at 7 p.m.