Goulakos Nets Gamewinner in Colgate's Win Over No. 20 Union

HAMILTON – Sophomore Spiro Goulakos played in front of the Colgate home crowd for the first time since his Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis and scored the gamewinner in a 4-1 emotional win against 20th-ranked Union on Friday night at Starr rink.

Head coach Don Vaughan said the goal gave the team a big lift and helped carry them the rest of the game.

“It was unbelievable,” said Vaughan. “We have all had a lift with him coming back and being able to play. It’s an incredible story and we hope he continues to feel well and we will see how it goes, but right now he looks like he hasn’t missed a step and his is a real inspiration.”

Colgate (14-13-4, 6-10-4 ECAC) got great crowd support tonight and the Raiders and Goulakos gave them a reason to cheer.

“The crowd support was sensational tonight,” Vaughan mentioned. “The team did a great job trying to build up awareness for the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Our student body really responded with great support and I wanted to give a shout out to them tonight.”

Goulakos was also appreciative of the support by the student body tonight and the last couple weeks.  

“The crowd support was amazing,” said Goulakos. “Just being at school the last couple of the weeks I have had a lot of support from everyone here at Colgate. The team has been especially supportive and everything little thing like that helps.”

Eric Mihalik put forth a great effort tonight in net with 36 saves, which was a season-high for the netminder, who earned his first start since Sacred Heart on Jan. 7. He was stellar between the pipes all night and made double-digit stops in the first and final periods.

“I am really happy for Eric,” Vaughn said. “It hasn’t been easy for him. He comes in after not starting for a long time and it’s a testament to him and how hard he has worked to stick with it and continue to be sharp in practice. He knew his opportunity would come and it did.”

Robbie Bourdon and Thomas Larkin led the way with two points apiece with Bourdon tallying a goal and an assist, while Larkin added two helpers. Tylor Spink netted his team-leading 12th goal of the season and Kurtis Bartliff got in the scoring column with his eighth of the year.

“It’s great to get a win against a great team like Union,” Vaughan said. “We need every point we can muster at this point and we got to come out and do it all over again tomorrow night.”

The Raiders took the quick early lead with Bartliff scoring three minutes into the game with assists to Larkin and John Lidgett. Larkin broke up a Union play behind the net and got the puck to Lidgett, who slid the biscuit to Bartliff and he jammed it past Grosenick for the 1-0 advantage.

Union (15-11-5, 8-7-4 ECAC) answered four minutes later to tie the game at 1-1 on its first power play chance of the contest. Wayne Simpson settled the puck in the offensive end and shoveled a cross-ice pass to Shayne Gostisbehere and the defensemen fired a sniper shot from the right point that beat Mihalik on the glove side. The puck hit the crossbar and went in as Gostisbehere couldn’t have put his shot in a better spot.

The Raiders did have a chance on the power play late in the period, but couldn’t get a shot on net. Mihalik was able to keep the game tied in the final minute with three big stops as Union outshot the Raiders, 14-7, in the opening frame.

Goulakos then gave the Raiders the lead and an emotional lift with his first goal since returning to the ice last weekend to make it 2-1. Bourdon won an offensive zone faceoff back to Ryan Johnston, who slid the puck over to Goulakos in the high slot. He then connected on a blistering slap shot that went top shelf on Grosenick, who made 28 stops in the loss.

The Raiders received some insurance on a nice rebound tally from Tylor Spink on the power play to increase the lead to 3-1. Mike Borkowski worked the puck over to Price at the mid-point and he fired a shot that Grosenick kicked aside, but Tylor Spink was there for a shot from a sharp angle for his team-leading sixth goal with the man advantage.

The Dutchmen tried furiously in the final minutes to get to within one, which included a lengthy 6-on-4 power play with the goalie pulled. However, Mihalik was up to the task and made three stops in front of the net on multiple rebound tries from Union to keep it a two-goal lead.

Bourdon put the game away with an empty-net with 38 seconds remaining to give Coglate the huge 4-1 win and it stopped a four-game skid.

“We looked a little tentative at the start,” Vaughan said. “That is a result of how things have gone for us recently. We haven’t had a lot of puck luck. We stuck with it and got better as the game went on and clearly the third period was our best period.”

Colgate held the top-scoring power play unit to just one goal on four chances, while the Raiders were 1-for-5 with the extra man. The Dutchmen won the shot battle by a 36-32 margin.

The final regular season home game will be tomorrow night as Rensselaer comes to Hamilton for a 7 p.m. faceoff on Senior Night.

NOTES: This was Colgate’s 12th game against a ranked opponent and fifth win against a top-20 team … Bartliff scored his third career goal against Union, which leads the team … Bartliff also set a career-high with his eight goal of the season … Tylor Spink has a point in four-straight games and has 19 points since Nov. 30 … Bourdon is two points away from 100 in his career after two points tonight, which was his 20th career multi-point game … Colgate’s rookies have now scored 43 goals this season … Goulakos’ tally came at exactly two minutes after Union’s penalty, so it was not a power play goal.