Raiders Blank Harvard

Photo courtesy of: Bob Cornell
Photo courtesy of: Bob Cornell

HAMILTON – The Colgate men’s hockey team completed a weekend sweep of two ranked teams as the Raiders shutout 17th-ranked Harvard, 1-0, on Saturday night at Starr Rink.

Colgate (6-6-1, 2-3-1 ECAC) got an all around effort from its defense, including 25 saves from Spencer Finney to earn the shutout. It was the first career shutout for the rookie and it came in his second start of the year. Jeremy Price scored the lone goal of the evening with assists to Joe Wilson and Kurtis Bartliff.

“I’m happy for Spencer, coming in and getting a shutout against a really good team in his first season,” said head coach Don Vaughan. “He made a big save at the end with their goalie pulled and secured the win for us.”

Harvard (4-3-0, 3-3-0 ECAC) saw Raphael Girard come up with some big saves to keep the Crimson in the game, but he was outdueled by Finney tonight. Harvard had three power play opportunities, including a five-minute man advantage, but couldn’t find a way past Finney on seven shots.

After a slow start to the first period from both teams, the Raiders turned up the pressure and it paid off with Price giving Colgate a 1-0 lead. Wilson found the defenseman at the left point. The senior captain then ripped a slap shot through traffic and past the glove of Girard top shelf with 6:45 left in the first. Wilson and Bartliff were given assists on the play.

Harvard had its best opportunity following the goal with Alex Fallstrom driving to the net and clanging one off the post and then paid for it as he was knocked to the ice. Finney was solid in net, making nine saves, while Girard pushed aside six Colgate shots.

The second period featured two power plays for the Raiders, including a five-minute man advantage. Colgate had one great chance with Tyson Spink chipping the puck just over the crossbar at the right post. Girard then made two stops the rest of the way as the Crimson killed it off.

In the third period, the Raiders had to start on the kill as a five-minute major on Colgate carried over into the final frame. Harvard had a chance to regroup in the locker room and had three more minutes of time, but the Raider kill was just too good tonight and was able to keep the visitors off the board.

“Our penalty killing was exceptional this weekend and it was huge tonight,” said Vaughan. “Brad Dexter has done a great job with that group and they had a lot of confidence tonight. When they went over the wall, they were expecting to kill off the penalty. It was a great effort on the ice and the kill was a main part of that.”

The final minute was a bit of scramble for Colgate as Harvard pulled Girard for the extra attacker. Fallstrom had the first good chance, but was denied by Finney. The biggest save of the night, however, came in the final seconds. There was a loose puck in front and multiple sticks fanned on the puck, but Patrick McNally connected. His shot fluttered to Finney’s right and he was able to knock it out of mid air with his stick to earn the shutout.

“Defensively, I thought we played really well and our core defenseman did a great job,” said Vaughan. “Once again Thomas Larkin and Jeremy Price led the way back there. I was also pleased to see that when we were up 1-0 late in the third period we were still generating scoring opportunities. It shows that we are playing to win and not sitting back.”

The Crimson outshot the Raiders, 25-22, in the game and both teams went scoreless on the power plays. Harvard had three chances, while Colgate had two.

The Raiders will be back on the road this coming week for a single game at Merrimack at 4 p.m. on Friday night. The game will be shown live on Fox College Sports.

NOTES: The last time Colgate won a 1-0 shutout was in 2009 at Dartmouth with David McIntyre ’10 scoring the gamewinner … Finney has not let in a goal in his last four periods, all of which came this weekend … had his first two wins of his career come against ranked opponents … Price scored his second goal of the weekend … Colgate scored first for the sixth time this season … Raiders did not allow a power play goal for the fifth time this year.