NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – A pair of second period goals by Tyler Penner and Jacob Panetta fueled the Colgate men's hockey program's strike against Niagara, but the Purple Eagles defense resisted the Raiders efforts at the net for a 4-2 victory in the first of a two-game series.
The game started out with nearly four minutes of action before the first whistle sound, a stretch that showcased the Colgate offense outshooting Niagara 6-0. A dominant first period had a disappointing close as Niagara was able to capitalize on a 3-on-2 chance in the final minute of play for a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
Colgate continued to pepper the Purple Eagle netminder with shots, racking up an additional 14 in the entirety of the second period, and it quickly paid off as Tyler Penner tied the game at 1-1 just 2:41 in. The momentum fueled the Raiders' offensive strike as they were able to gain their first lead of the game just minutes later when Jacob Panetta's shot from the point found its way through traffic for a 2-1 Colgate advantage. The lead didn't last for long, as Niagara responded before the buzzer of the second, with another late-period goal as they tied the game with under 2:00 remaining.
Although Colgate had some quick chances during some 4x4 play in the opening minutes of the third period, Niagara claimed another lead when they capitalized on the power play just 2:57 into the final stanza. The Raiders continued to see quality chances at the net and presented a solid 2:00 of play with the man advantage in the Niagara zone, but another tangled puck late in the third period found its way into the Colgate net for the Purple Eagles 4-2 lead. Despite the Raiders 13 shots on goal in the third period, Niagara's defense withstood the pressure in their zone for the 4-2 final.
COLGATE SCORING PLAYS
• Period 2 | 02:41 – Griffin Lunn weaved the puck into the Niagara zone, before a backhanded pass was picked up by Tyler Penner. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native then popped the puck to the top shelf from the hashmarks with a screen in the slot.
• Period 2 | 06:56 – After John Snodgrass fed the puck up to the blue line, Jacob Panetta picked up his own rebound off of Niagara's block of his shot from the point. Panetta fired the puck through traffic to lift Colgate to a 2-1 lead.
• By notching the Raiders' opening goal, junior Tyler Penner scored his second of the season and first since the opening game of the year against New Hampshire (Oct. 12), snapping a 12-game scoring drought.
• Scoring his first goal of the year, junior Jacob Panetta tallied his third point on the season, and first goal since helping the Raiders to a 5-1 win over Western Michigan (Nov. 25, 2017).
• Freshman Griffin Lunn garnered his first career point by posting the lone assist on Penner's tying goal. Earlier in the year, Lunn earned an apple in the exhibition game against Guelph (Oct.7).
• In just his third game back from injury, junior John Snodgrass snagged his second point of the season with the first assist on Panetta's tally. It marks the Eagan, Minnesota native's first point since Oct. 13 against New Hampshire.
• Junior Bobby McMann continues to top the team on the scoresheet, by now posting seven points on the season by three goals and four assists with the second assist on Panetta's point. A native of Wainwright, Alberta, McMann led the team with seven shots on goal, his second-most on the season behind nine against Yale (Nov. 3).
• By marking 39 shots on goal, Colgate tallied its second-most attempts at the net on the season behind a 42 shot performance at RIT (Oct. 20).
• With 33 faceoff wins to Niagara's 28, Colgate found more success in the faceoff circle than its opponent for the 11th time in the season's 14 games.
THE BOTTOM LINE
• Niagara 4, Colgate 2
• Colgate holds a 3-9-2 record, and a 1-3-2 mark in ECAC Hockey action.
• Niagara improves to 8-8-1 overall on the season, and is 7-4-1 in Atlantic Hockey play.
COACH VAUGHAN'S TAKE
"We did a lot of good things early but if you don't capitalize on those chances, a lot of nights it comes back to haunt you and that's what I thought happened tonight. We had some great scoring opportunities, and I thought their goaltender played very well tonight. We had enough good looks to probably be up by a couple, but to start the third down by one, the guys try to do too much. You get away from your structure, your game, and that's what happened."
"We've given away too many late-period goals like that, so it's familiar to us unfortunately. But I think we came back and we played hard, so it's not about our work ethic. Sometimes it's about our decisions – we're competing hard, but not making the best decisions all the time. We need to keep plugging, because our effort was great, just need to get a couple of bounces and get something positive."
Colgate completes the two-game series tomorrow in a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Purple Eagles. It will mark the final game until the team faces Quinnipiac at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 29 for nonconference play on Long Island.