SCHENECTADY, NY – Wade Poplawski scored at 12:52 of overtime to lift Colgate (11-26-3, 4-15-3 ECAC Hockey) to a 4-3 win over No. 4/4 Union (26-9-4, 17-3-2 ECAC Hockey) in the deciding game of an ECAC Quarterfinal.
Poplawski picked up the puck on a broken play and fired a wrist shot over the glove of sophomore goaltender Keith Kinkaid for the game-winner, sending Colgate to Atlantic City for ECAC Hockey’s Championship weekend.
The Dutchmen held leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, but were unable to close out the Raiders. Union took a 3-2 lead in the third period after a goal at 3:13 by junior forward Kelly Zajac, who took a rebound off a shot from Adam Presizniuk and found an open net with Colgate goaltender Eric Mihalik out of position for his 13th goal of the year.
Union killed off a holding penalty called on junior defenseman Nolan Julseth-White at 15:14 of the third period, and were minutes away from an appearance in the ECAC Semifinals for the second consecutive season. But senior forward Francois Brisebois fired a wide angle shot that deflected off a Union defenseman in front of the net, past Kinkaid at 17:33 to send the contest into overtime.
The Dutchmen took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a good shift by the fourth line. Senior forward Justin Pallos fed freshman defenseman Mat Bodie at the point. Bodie fired a low shot that Mihalik stopped, but senior forward Andrew Buote was there to convert the rebound at 12:02 to give Union the lead.
For Buote, the goal was his second in three nights and his third of the season.
Colgate evened the score on a power play early in the second period. With Daniel Carr in the penalty box for interference, Colgate’s Austin Smith fired a rebound in front of the net past Kinkaid at 2:59 to tie the score at 1-1.
Just over two minutes later, Union would regain the lead on a power play of their own. With Jeremy Price in the penalty box for boarding, Josh Jooris fed Jeremy Welsh for a one-timer which beat Mihalik at 5:15 for his 16th goal of the season to give Union a 2-1 lead.
Colgate’s Kurtis Bartiff answered at 13:01 on another power play for the Raiders, beating Kinkaid over the shoulder on a backhander in the slot to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the third period.
Union outshot Colgate 37-33 for the game, as Kinkaid made 29 saves, while Mihalik stopped 34 shots. Colgate went 2-for-7 with the man advantage, while Union was 1-for-3 on the power play for the evening.
The Dutchmen will await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament field, which will air on Sunday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.