SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — In front of a crowd of 2,218, the Union Dutchmen hoped to clinch their second consecutive berth to the ECAC semifinals.
Things definitely looked that way early, as Union jumped out to a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. Unfortunately for Union and its fans, Colgate was not ready to end their season. Colgate came out firing on all cylinders in the period and poured on four straight goals to take the game 4-2.
Just 5:21 into the first period, Wayne Simpson gave Union the lead. Driving into the zone, Simpson knocked a backhanded shot into the top right corner of the net while carrying a defender on his back. The goal was his 30th point of the season, and gives the Dutchmen six players with 30+ points for the season.
“I got some speed going through the neutral zone,” said Simpson. “It was a great chip by Forgaard, so I had kind of my full speed going into it and I got myself in the slot with it on my backhand kind of and I just got to the net and found some open net.”
In the second period, Union doubled its lead. The goal was scored by Mat Bodie after he rifled a shot that knocked off Colgate goalie Eric Mihalik’s glove into the net. With the goal, Bodie joins Simpson in the 30-point club, and gives him the record for most points by a defensemen in Union D-I history.
The third period belonged to Colgate.
“Our captains did a great job,” said Colgate coach Don Vaughan. “We talked about just clearing our heads again. It has been something we have been trying to do for the last month. Focus on just playing 20 minutes of hockey and not letting anything creep into our minds that happened prior to this 20 minutes.”
“We got passive and we stopped competing, said Union coach Nate Leaman. “If you do that, you are going to let the other team just start coming at you in waves and that is what they were doing.”
The first goal was scored on a second opportunity. After making the save, Union goalie Keith Kinkaid fell to the ground. There was a scramble in front of the net, but after a shot and a deflection, Austin Mayer was able to put it in for Colgate’s first goal of the evening.
Down by only a goal, Colgate was given a power-play opportunity after a tripping call on Union. A minute later Colgate tied it. Chris Wagner scored the goal for the Raiders, deflecting in a shot by Brian Day.
“Bob Bourdon stopped at the blue line, I kind of just drove the net and Bourdon fired it to Day who put it on my tape and all I had to do was tap it in on that one,” said Wagner of the goal.
Colgate took the lead for good a few minutes later. Bourdon scored this one after a beautiful pass from Wagner to set up the one-timer goal.
“Bourdon again made an unbelievable play, I just threw it in front kind of, saw him and I think he put through his legs and took it in somehow. He has a lot of skill.”
The Raiders clinched the game with an empty-net goal with under a minute left to play. Day intercepted a pass and easily drove to the net before tapping the puck in for Colgate’s fourth goal of the game.
“We have to clear our heads tonight, because we know we are playing a great opponent, said Vaughan. “Nate will have his guys ready. They are a great team. I have said this all year long. They deserve to be the first place team in our league. We will have to bring our best game tomorrow night and our guys know that.”
“[The loss] might be good to refocus us,” said Leaman. “It might be good to get some desperation back in our game, because we clearly didn’t have the desperation level that I wanted us to have.”
The series continues tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. The winner will move on to the semifinals next week in Atlantic City.