February 16, 2010

Men’s Hockey Raids the Raiders

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Despite early attempts of mocking the Red by throwing packs of Big Red gum on the ice, Colgate (12-13-5, 9-8-1 ECAC Hockey) fans did not really have a chance to get into the game last night against the Cornell. The Red successfully put last weekend’s loss against Yale in the back of its mind as it defeated the Raiders, 6-2. With this victory, the Red (15-7-3, 12-4-2) climbs back into a first-place tie for ECAC standings with Yale.

“We knew we were in control of our own destiny after the loss to Yale on Saturday. Our guys don’t get too high after wins and too low after losses, and that consistency is a big reason why we’re at the top of our league. We got a good response from some of our guys to give a better effort tonight,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.

The standard vanguards led the team last night. Senior captain Colin Greening had a hand in the both a goal and an assist, marking his fourth goal in three games. Yet, it was junior Riley Nash who really stole the show — earning four points from his two goals and two assists.

“When he plays hard and physical and moves his feet, he’s one of the most dominant forwards in the country. His linemates also played well tonight, as they have since we put them together. That’s a tough matchup for any team to have three guys that size that are that skilled,” Schafer said.

Midway through the first period, freshmen defender Nick D’Agostino smacked a slapshot that was stopped by Colgate’s goalie Alex Evin, but Greening was waiting on the doorstep to pick up the rebound and put it net, 1-0.

Just 5:07 into the second period, Riley Nash scored the Red’s second goal of the night. Right after a penalty expired on Cornell, Nash skated up the ice and notched an over-the-shoulder shot, to net his first of the night.

“I felt like I was a little snakebit [earlier this season] and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Nash said. “I feel like our line’s been clicking from the first game together — those guys make a lot of space out there, and we’ve got some pretty good chemistry together.”

However, Colgate quickly responded a minute and a half later, making the score 2-1. The Red quickly regained its two-goal lead, with 11 seconds remaining in the second period. Senior Blake Gallagher made a nice pass to Riley Nash, who was able to tap it into the net.

“Any time you get a goal at the end of the period like that, it’s really demoralizing. It’s very tough to go into the third period knowing you gave up a goal that you shouldn’t have,” Greening said.

Early in the third period, the Red went on a 4-on-3 power play, after a cross-checking call on junior Patrick Kennedy was followed by back-to-back hooking calls on two Raiders players. Quickly calling a timeout, Schafer went over strategy to utilize this advantage. Immediately after the faceoff, the Red started working the puck around the Colgate zone. Gallagher one-timed a slap-shot on net and Evin barely had time to react, as Gallagher’s blast improved the lead to 4-1.

Soon after, the Raiders switched its goaltender out for junior Charles Long, who didn’t have much luck against the Red either. 16:24 into the third period, Roeszler collected a rebound, but his shot was stopped. Roeszler then managed to get his own rebound and wired the puck by Long, giving Cornell a 5-1 lead.

With a little less than three minutes remaining, Colgate pulled Long in favor of an extra attacker. The Raiders applied some pressure, and were eventually able to put one past senior netminder Ben Scrivens. Nonetheless, just 15 seconds later, sophomore Sean Whitney picked up a loose puck and skated in for a breakaway. After faking a shot, Whitney slid the puck right past Long’s legs and into the goal, ending the game, 6-2.

With seven defenders in the Red’s lineup, the Red was able to increase its pressure on Colgate and force them to make turnovers. Cornell went 1-for-6 on its power-play opportunities, while not allowing Colgate any opportunities to score on the man advantage. In addition, Scrivens posted 33 saves compared to Evin and Long’s combined 21 saves.

And so when the final buzzer sounded, the Red was looking at not only a 6-2 win, but also a way to get back to the top of its league as it approaches its final away game of the regular season.

Original Author: Jill Mendelsohn