@CORNELL 3…Colgate 1 | Colgate 4…@CORNELL 2 | Colgate 2…@CORNELL 1
Obviously, the ECAC Quarterfinal weekend didn’t go the way we wanted. Three days of mixed emotions and a weekend I wouldn’t want to go through again. I had an examination in New York City on Thursday that prompted me to start Friday night’s game in the press box for the first period. I was on the bench for the next two periods and Saturday night’s game. I hated being in the press box; for me, it’s either on the bench or not in the rink!
On Friday night, I thought we played very, very well. The first period was scoreless, as we began to play against probably the hottest goaltender in the country on this weekend. Colgate took a 1-0 lead early in the second period on a power-play goal. At this point, we really went to work. We got to pucks faster, moved our feet and just played quicker. We fired 20 shots on goal in the middle period but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Early in the third period, Colgate was assessed a five-minute major penalty. On our third power-play shift, Junior forward Ben Berard converted a rebound on a shot by Senior forward Max Andreev for his 12th goal of the season to tie the score 1-1 until 1:28 left in the game. Senior defenseman Cody Haiskanen won a battle for the puck at the right point and found Junior forward Matt Stienburg at the top of the crease. Matt’s first shot was stopped but he pounced on the rebound and fired it into the back of the net to make it 2-1 in our favor. Sophomore forward Kyle Penney iced the game with an empty-net goal with 51 seconds remaining.
Freshman goalie Ian Shane had 16 saves for us while Colgate net-minder Mitch Benson stopped 40 shots. He made some phenomenal saves, including 20 in the second period. We were 1-for-6 on the power play and Colgate was 1-for-2.
Many mistakes were made during the Saturday game as I noted on Saturday evening. Colgate came out flying and we didn’t match their intensity. I don’t know if we thought it would be easier on Saturday night than Friday, but we just didn’t play well. We took too many penalties and those are tough in that situation. We gave them seven power-play opportunities and they scored twice. The first extra-man goal came at 7:21 of the first period.
The second goal came at 4:39 of the second period. Ian made a save but the rebound went off our defenseman’s skate into the net for a 2-0 Colgate lead. Four seconds after the end of a Colgate penalty, Berard’s scoop shot from a sharp angle went over the left shoulder of the goaltender to make it a 2-1 game. Less than two minutes later, Colgate made it 3-1. Another major penalty was called on us and the visitors converted a 4-on-3 advantage to go up 4-1 going into the third period. Stienburg closed out the scoring with a 6-on-5 goal with 1:44 to play in the game.
Shane made 10 saves before I replaced him in the second period with classmate Joe Howe, who stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced. Colgate’s Benson made 25 saves. We were 0-for-4 on the power play and Colgate was 2-for-7. The penalty problems caused us to play catch-up all night.
On Sunday afternoon we concluded the best-of-three series, though I stayed away from the action. I don’t know if we could have played with anymore intensity, either offensively or defensively. We dominated the game but once again we were beaten by a hot goaltender. We out-shot Colgate 37-14. We put tremendous pressure on the Raiders defense in the first period, making the goalie stop ten shots and their defense block another twelve. But, the first period was scoreless with Ian stopping only three shots.
The second period was much the same until Colgate scored a tap-in goal with less than nine minutes remaining. We began the third period needing a goal to tie but with just over eight minutes remaining, one of our shots hit a skate and bounced into the neutral zone. A Colgate player was first to the puck and scored a backhanded goal on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
With just under four minutes left, we pulled Shane to get an extra skater on the ice. We still couldn’t get on the scoreboard until the final seconds. With 7.7 seconds remaining, Berard scored on a wild scramble in the crease but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 2-1 loss.
Shane made 12 saves and the Colgate goaltender stopped 36 shots. We were 0-for-2 on the power play and Colgate was 0-for-1. It is unbelievable that we didn’t win this series but it happens that their goalie was the best player on the ice for the weekend. Over the three games, we tallied a 107-56 shots-on-goal advantage.
The season was filled with lots of ups and downs. We finished fourth in the conference (12-6-4) with an overall 18-10-4 record. We certainly wanted more and it is disappointing to miss the trip to Lake Placid this coming weekend. At this point, I want to thank the entire coaching staff for the extra duties they had to perform this season. They were just great. The players also faced a lot of challenges. And, we applaud our greatest fans, who attended games with reduced seating capacities early in the season and eventually filled the rink at the end.