HAMILTON, N.Y. — On Saturday night, the Colgate Raiders played host to the fifth ranked Yale Bulldogs at Starr Rink.
Colgate still was searching for their first league victory on the year. In order to win, they would have to beat a top-tier Yale team that prides itself on physical play and a potent offense.
When the final horn sounded, Yale flexed its offensive muscles and showed why it is one of the best teams in the country.
Offense would prove to be the story of the game and, early on, the game was an offensive showcase. Yale’s Jimmy Martin took a slashing penalty 30 seconds into the game and Colgate, whose special teams has been lackluster as of late, capitalized early. Captain Brian Day ripped a shot past Yale’s Ryan Rondeau with Anthony Hamburg and Austin Smith getting the assists. Under a minute into the game, Colgate jumped up 1-0.
Yale would flex its own offensive muscles throughout the rest of the period, scoring twice on their first three first period power plays.
“We understand how hard it is to win college hockey games, especially in the ECAC, which is a very challenging league,” said Yale head coach Keith Allen. “Almost every game is close and experience has taught us that we have to fight for every point.”
The first Bulldog goal was scored on a power play by Andrew Miller. The goal was unassisted. Miller picked up the puck in the neutral zone off a Colgate turnover, and skated down the left side. Miller beat a Colgate defenseman and was in alone on netminder Eric Mihalik. Miller deked Mihalik and knotted the game at one at 6:33 of the first.
Just under a minute later, Robbie Bourdon would take an elbowing penalty, putting Yale on the power play again. Yale would grab its first lead of the game at 7:36 when Jeff Anderson slid the puck through Mihalik’s five-hole right in the slot. Chris Cahill and Miller were given the assists.
Yale would double its lead just 14 seconds later, as off a Jesse Root face-off win, Kenny Agostino skated the puck inside the left offensive zone circle and flipped the puck on net. It might have been redirected on the way in by a Colgate defenseman, but either way, it beat Mihalik stick-side and Yale was up 3-1 at 7:50 of the first.
By the end of the first period, Yale had outshot Colgate 21-8 and was dominating play. But a lucky bounce put Colgate right back into the game. Robbie Bourdon had the puck in the left corner behind the goal line and passed it in front. In trying to intercept the pass, Yale’s Kevin Limbert redirected it into the net, cutting the Yale lead to 3-2.
Colgate would even up the game at three, with another lucky bounce, on a power-play goal by Corbin McPherson. Chris Cahill was in the box for a slashing penalty. Jeremy Price had the puck at the point and passed it across the ice to McPherson, who wristed the puck on net. The puck deflected off Yale defenseman Mike Matczak’s stick and went over the shoulder of Rondeau into the net. Just over 3 minutes into the second period, the game was even at three.
“There was some signs of life there, we showed some grit and toughness,” said Colgate assistant coach Brad Dexter. “These things don’t fix themselves overnight but we definitely had some good moments tonight.”
The game would not be even for long though, as Yale would respond.
Yale would regain their lead as Colin Dueck hit Antoine Laganiere with a headman pass, sending the Bulldogs in on an odd man rush. Laganiere would pass across to Kenny Agostino in the slot and Agostino had no problem beating Mihalik short side at 13:04 of the second period.
Yale would continue its offensive onslaught as Jesse Root and Agostino cycled the puck in the Colgate zone. Agostino passed to line-mate Laganiere, and Laganiere had no problem backhanding the puck over Mihalik’s glove, putting the Bulldogs up 5-3 with exactly 4 minutes left in the second.
Just a minute and a half later, Yale added to its lead. Denny Kearney passed the puck behind the net to Kevin Limbert. Limbert skated out and around the circle, sailing the puck across the center to Broc Little on the right side. Little blasted a one-timer past Mihalik, making it 6-3 Yale after two periods of action.
“We spread our scoring out and we’ve had a line that has been solid defensively,” said Allen. “The line of Root, Laganiere, and Agostino really stepped up tonight.”
Colgate would come out swarming in the third period, really throwing everything they had at Yale, desperately trying to get back into the game. With 13 minutes left in the final frame, Kurtis Bartliff put the puck on net that Rondeau got his pad on. The rebound popped out and Mike McCann pounced on it, getting it over a stretched Rondeau, making things interesting at 6-4 Bulldogs.
“It was the energy and physicality late in the game sparked us,” said Dexter. “(Yale) is a really good team over there and we now have things to build on.”
That would be all Colgate would get, though, as Rondeau stopped the last few Raider opportunities, keeping the score at 6-4 in favor of Yale. Bad blood was boiling in the last minute as Colgate’s Thomas Larkin and Yale’s Chris Cahill each received five minute penalties and four more players would receive minor penalties for hitting after the whistle with one second left.
Yale (7-1-0 overall, 4-0-0 in the ECAC) improves its perfect league record while Colgate (2-7-1, 0-5-1) drops another game, extending its losing streak to five games. Colgate will return to action Tuesday night at Niagara while Yale returns home to host Sacred Hart Tuesday as well.