Because Ithaca and Hamilton, N.Y., Colgate’s home, are only about 72 miles apart, these two central New York rivals are ECACHL travel partners, meaning whenever one team makes a road trip, the other makes the same trek. Yet one weekend during the year, the local rivals play their partner in a home-and-home series. For the Raiders and the Red, this is their weekend.
While the outcome of this weekend’s games between the No. 5 men’s hockey team and No. 17 Colgate could hinge on a hot goaltender, a blocked shot, or a power-play goal, there may be a much simpler predictor of the games’ results – location.
This season, Colgate has produced a 15-6-5 overall record, including an 11-2-1 league mark, which is good enough for first place in the ECACHL and a three-point lead over the second-place Red. While these numbers look solid on the surface, the Raiders have shown vulnerability this season – but only when they stray away from their home at Starr Rink.
Colgate has lost just one contest at home, a non-conference thriller against No. 19 St. Cloud State. But on the road, the team has lost five games by a combined score of 25-10. That boils down to five goals per game for a team that has allowed just 2.54 goals per contest this season. Included in those losses are a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of No. 9 Providence and a 4-0 blanking by unranked Bowling Green.
Yet, according to senior captain Matt Moulson, he expects the Raiders to give the Red a tough battle regardless of the site, simply because of their intense nature of play.
“They are a tough team to get chances on,” he said. “So in both games it’s going to be a fight for every single inch and every single goal.”
Meanwhile, Cornell has been more of a Jekyll and Hyde team away from Lynah, which was no more evident than its last road weekend, when the team demolished Quinnipiac, 6-0, but fell to Princeton, 3-0. Thus far, the team has a 4-2-0 road record, but the losses, against the Tigers and a 6-1 thumping by Dartmouth, have been the worst failures for the Red this season.
Despite Colgate’s difficulties on the road, the Raiders have been almost unstoppable at home and the Red knows that getting a win at Starr Rink on Saturday night will not come easy.
“They play us real hard, especially in their building,” Moulson said. “It’s pretty wild in there.