Third-Period Explosion Leads to Weekend Sweep for Colgate

Photo by Emily Rawdon
Photo by Emily Rawdon
Play Video

AMHERST, Mass. – Down 2-1 going into the third period, the Colgate men’s hockey team responded with four goals to win 5-2 and earn a weekend sweep of UMass at the Mullins Center on Saturday.

The Raiders (9-7-2) got two goals from Kurtis Bartliff, both coming in the third period. The power play was clicking again tonight with two more goals with the extra man. Rookies Kyle Baun and Tyson Spink had another good night with a goal and assist apiece.  Joe Wilson and Thomas Larkin each finished with two points on two helpers.

“I was obviously pleased with our effort tonight,” said head coach Don Vaughan. “I thought we got better as the game went on and aside from the goals, I thought the third period was our best period of the game and Finney saw the puck well tonight. It was another good road win for us tonight.”

The Minutemen (5-8-2) earned the lead after the first period with goals from Branden Gracel and Adam Phillips. Colgate’s Spencer Finney than shut the door with 22 saves in the final 40 minutes, including 15 in the second period.

Vaughan mentioned how his netminder forgot the first two goals and turned in a great performance.

“I knew after the rebound on the second goal he was mad at himself,” said Vaughan. “He gathered his thoughts and from that moment on, he wanted to prove something and started to see the puck a lot better and was challenging more.”

The Minutemen were able to earn an early 1-0 lead with Phillips scoring his second of the weekend with the goal coming 6:06 into the first. Conor Allen was given an assist on the play along with Michael Pereira. The goal came on the power play and Phillips beat Finney from the high slot.

Colgate evened the score at 1-1 with its fourth power play goal of the series and eighth in the last four games. Baun netted his third of the weekend with a shot from the slot as he was losing his balance in front. The goal came with 12:05 left in the opening frame. Tyson Spink slid the pass to Baun in the slot for the primary assist and Larkin earned a helper on the play as well.

The Minutemen then regained the lead with 7:29 left in the period. Kevin Czepiel fired a shot that Finney stopped with the blocker, but the rebound bounced 20-feet out to the slot and Gracel drove it home with a slap shot to take the 2-1 lead into the intermission.

In the second period, the teams failed to score in a period for the first time in the series. Both schools had two chances with the extra man and neither team found the net. The Minutemen had nine shots on the power play in the second and Finney turned aside each one to keep his team in the game.

Colgate didn’t stay scoreless for long in the third period as Bartliff tallied the first of two in the frame coming with 15:21 remaining in the game. Bartliff got the puck in the slot on a pass from Robbie Bourdon and he flipped a wrister on Boyle, who made the initial stop, but the puck trickled across the line to tie the game at 2-2.

“Barliff played a really strong game,” said Vaughan. “His goal in the third to tie it up really turned the momentum in our favor and after that we really controlled the puck offensively.”

The flood gates than opened for Colgate. Tyson Spink scored the eventual gamewinner with the extra man after a great display of passing by the power play unit. Tylor Spink found Baun in the front of the net and then slid a nifty backhand to Tyson Spink at the opposite post and he hit the open net to take a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes left.

Just over three minutes later, the puck made a crazy bounce up in the air and over the goal. It then came right to Billy Rivellini at the post and Boyle had no shot at stopping it and the Raiders increased the lead to two at 4-2. Daniel Gentzler and Larkin were given assists on the goal and for Larkin it was his second of the night. Bartliff then sent the fans to the exits with his second of the frame to close out the scoring at 5-2. The goal came with four minutes left in the game and assists were awarded to Wilson and Jeremy Price.

Colgate was 2-for-4 with the man advantage and finished the weekend at 5-for-8.

“A lot of our success for our top power play unit is, I think, is do to instinct,’ said Vaughan. “We are communicating well and there are verbal and non-verbal cues that the unit uses and that’s just from playing together so much. Goulakps has done a great job quarterbacking the young guys.”

The Raiders chose a great time for a sweep as Colgate will not be in action until Jan. 4 and 5 for two games against Sacred Heart at home.