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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 12/6/2023

CORNELL 4, @Colgate 2 … Box Score | Game Recap | Video Highlights | Cornell Gallery
Colgate 4, @CORNELL 2 … Box Score | Game Recap | Video Highlights | Cornell Gallery

Though the scores were the same, the results were mixed this past weekend. We played a very complete game on Friday night at Colgate but didn’t repeat on Saturday.

Friday, we took a 1-0 lead early when sophomore forward Nick DeSantis exploded out of our zone, and flew into the Colgate zone. Nick was tripped and senior forward Gabriel Seger corralled the puck and buried it into the back of the net at 2:33. We kept pressuring the Colgate goaltender including a power play opportunity, and led 1-0 after 20 minutes with the Colgate goalie making nine saves.

In the second period the Raiders netminder continued his performance during the early going. We were doing a nice job of keeping up the pressure but at 6:37, Colgate slipped a shot past junior goalie Ian Shane. With the score tied 1-1, we scored twice in the second period to go up 3-1. The first goal came at 7:46 when Seger swatted home a rebound between the legs of the Colgate goalie for his second goal of the game. Our third goal came on the power play. Seger started the play with a pass to freshman defenseman Ben Robertson who passed the puck to sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft who used his patented one-timer to score. Another outstanding play in the period was a highlight save by Ian when he dove across the crease to deny Colgate a goal.

The home team scored a power-play goal midway through the final period to narrow our lead, 3-2. Colgate pulled their “hot” goaltender with about two minutes remaining and nearly tied the game at 1:30 on a shot that hit the crossbar. With 1:15 remaining, Seger skated behind the net with junior forward Ondrej Psenicka on his left. With one goal from recording a hat trick, he passed the puck to Ondrej who scored into the empty net. The selfless play of Gabriel certainly demonstrated what kind of person he is to our team.

On even strength chances given up, it was the lowest we gave up to an opponent this year and I felt, if it wasn’t for their goaltender, we could have put the game away a lot earlier. Shane made 23 saves and the Colgate goalie stopped 29 shots. We were 1-for-4 on the power play and they were 1-for-3.

Saturday night was a completely different performance by our team. We generated many scoring chances but didn’t play with the same detail defensively. I told the players after the game that it’s been so long since I’d been so disappointed. We have talked about trying to grow as a hockey team, and we’ve made some good strides, but we reverted to terrible habits on Saturday evening.

The first period was nearly scoreless, but with 1:20 remaining, Colgate scored on a shot that went between Shane’s legs. We tied the score, 1-1, just 2:41 into the second period. From behind the Colgate net, Bancroft backhanded a pass to freshman forward Ryan Walsh, who tipped the puck behind the Raider goaltender. Midway through the second period, Colgate went back on top, 2-1, when a shot ricocheted off Shane’s glove, hit the crossbar, and went in. Just a little over a minute later, junior forward Sullivan Mack was pulled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot sending the Lynah Faithful into a frenzy. Sullivan didn’t disappoint, when he deeked the goaltender and put the puck into the net at 12:28. This was the first successful penalty shot at Lynah Rink since Joe Nieuwendyk converted against RPI on February 27, 1987 and our first penalty shot at Lynah since 2017.

We went into the third period tied 2-2, but that changed quickly when Colgate scored at 1:16. Playing this way in our own rink was one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had coaching here for 29 years. We came out lackadaisical with the score tied and gave up a goal quickly to make it 3-2 Colgate. We had a number of power play opportunities but when your power play is not getting the job done, it’s frustrating. With less than two minutes remaining, we pulled Shane in favor of an extra attacker and Colgate scored an empty netter with 15 seconds remaining.

Shane made 18 saves and the Colgate goalie was outstanding with 24 saves. It’s not very often when the opposing goaltender outshines Shane, but that happened on Saturday night.

We’re gonna feel this loss the whole holiday break. We’ve got a lot of work to do and it’s disappointing that all the work we’re putting in didn’t translate into the guys. We’ll take some time over the next couple weeks to address these issues. We understand freshmen don’t have a lot of experience but we faced a lot of inconsistency both nights.

We now have three weekends off before returning to competition on Friday, Dec. 29th, when we travel to Lake Placid to play in the 2023 Adirondack Winter Invitational. Our first opponent is #11 University of Massachusetts (9-4-1) at 4 pm at Herb Brooks Arena—The 1980 Rink. Clarkson plays #12 Arizona State (11-3-2) in the second game. Championship and consolation games will be played on Saturday.

Mike Schafer