HAMILTON, N.Y. — For a crowd that is historically raucous, the Colgate hockey fans never really had a chance to get into the game last night against Cornell. The Red scored two power play goals early and then rode the stout goaltending of junior Ben Scrivens to a 4-1 win last night in Hamilton, N.Y.
The win did not come without cost, however. Senior co-captain Tyler Mugford, the Red’s leading scorer, went down with a knee injury in the third period and had to be gingerly helped off the ice by two teammates. With junior Brendon Nash sitting out due to the flu and senior Evan Barlow — who had two assists — getting banged up during the contest, the Red was forced to rely on some less familiar faces.
Sophomore defenseman Jordan Berk netted the Red’s second goal and freshman Locke Jillson notched an assist on the squad’s third tally. [img_assist|nid=33579|title=Lend a helping hand|desc=Junior co-captain Colin Greening tallied a goal and an assist at Colgate last night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“It was a big win for us because … we had to play a lot of young guys in situations they hadn’t been in so far,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.
But as much as Cornell (2-0-1, 2-0-1 ECAC Hockey) had to look to fresh faces to contribute, it was the standard vanguards that really led the team. Junior co-captain Colin Greening had a hand in both of the early power play goals, scoring the first only 1:48 into the contest and then assisting on the second at 7:25. Before leaving the game, Mugford also scored his third goal of the season.
The real star, however, was Scrivens. He finished the night with 40 saves — his second 40-save performance of the season and fourth of his career — en route to breaking the Cornell shutout record for a goalie.
“Most of the credit should go to the guys in front of me,” Scrivens said. “It’s team defense that wins games and this is no exception. It’s a great feat especially thinking about the history of Cornell goaltending.”
The lone tally for Colgate (4-2-0, 1-2-0) came 59 seconds into the third period and ended Scrivens’ streak at 206:44, easily passing the 39-year-old mark Brian Cropper’s ’72 of 189:45.
“He plays with a lot of poise and a lot of confidence,” Greening said. “I think that’s the key for someone in his position. He doesn’t get rattled by anything. He’s very focused when he’s in the net.”
While Scrivens showed that confidence throughout the night, the power play unit set the tone for the evening. For an offense that had struggled in its first two games to capitalize on opportunities, the attack did just the opposite last night. The Red scored its four goals on only 16 shots and was 3-of-7 on the power play. By comparison, Colgate fired 41 shots and came up empty handed in nine man advantages.
“Guys were a lot more confident,” Greening said. “We pounced on the chances.”
Greening himself did just that right out of the gate. On the Red’s first power play of the night, it worked the puck around perfectly, with Blake Gallagher finding Barlow right in front of the net. Greening cleaned up the rebound.
“Great pass by Evan Barlow to try and force it backdoor to Blake Gallagher,” Schafer said. “Then obviously Colin Greening is right there.”
Just under five minutes later, Cornell went on the power play again. Same 5-on-4 advantage, same result. Berk sent a slap shot through traffic from the point that found the back of the net. Greening thought Berk’s play was a microcosm of the confidence and patience the team showed.
“On Jordan’s goal, it was just a great play by him because he saw that it was broken play and he didn’t rush it and took the shot,” Greening said.
With a solid two-goal advantage, it was time for the defense to play its part. Colgate has been a prolific offensive team so far this season, and the attack didn’t want for chances last night. The Raiders put 19 shots on goal during the second stanza, due in large part to its six power play chances. Within the first minute, Scrivens had to poke the puck away from an oncoming attacker, stuff a short-range shot, then deflect a long-range shot with a reflex kick save.
Then, just a minute later, Scrivens made a where-were-you-when-it-happened save. After stopping the first shot from the wing, Scrivens left the rebound for an attacker barreling down on the net. It took a flailing, flying glove save to turn the shot away.
“I really thought it was in,” Greening said. “… And all of a sudden Scrivens came out of nowhere and threw up a glove. It was a fantastic save. It really shows you his reflexes and his flexibility.”
It also showed Scrivens’ one weakness on the night — an inability to direct rebounds as well as he would like.
“It wasn’t his strongest game in terms of controlling rebounds,” Schafer said. “I thought he caused some of his spectacular saves. In the first two games, he hadn’t done that. Obviously, he was playing with a lot of confidence and we didn’t do as good a job of clearing those rebounds in front of him when he did give them up tonight.”
It was a poorly directed rebound that led to the only Colgate goal of the evening. Just under a minute into the third period, Scrivens deposited a breakaway shot right in front of the net. A scrum ensued for a few minutes before the goal lamp lit up.
“The goal that they did get was just kind of a bobbled puck,” Scrivens said. “There was a rebound and I had a chance to either smother it or put it in a corner. Those are ones that end up going behind you.”
In general, with Mugford down, the lines became somewhat jumbled and Cornell seemed a bit lost at times to begin the third period. The team got caught with six men on the ice at one point and didn’t have its typical leaders to direct traffic. A goal from senior co-captain Michael Kennedy 5:51 into the period seemed to get things back on track, though.
“That kind of puts you out of your element a little bit when you have three centers down,” Greening said. “The one thing I would say is that the guys really came together after about five minutes … once guys realized not to hit the panic button and just to get used to your centers.”
And so when the final buzzer sounded, the Red was looking at not only a 4-1 win, but a three-game unbeaten “road trip” to start the year.
“To go our first three games on the year on the road and come away with five points is a good start to the season for us,” Schafer said.