HAMILTON – A night of firsts, the Colgate men’s hockey program earned a gritty 2-0 road win against Niagara on Saturday evening behind a 17-save shutout by Andrew Farrier and Jeff Stewart’s game-winner. The freshmen earned their first career shutout and first career goal, respectively.
Similar to Friday’s game, Colgate got the quicker of the starts and saw steady play in the Niagara zone by the midway point of the period. The Raiders held a 6-1 edge in shots on goal and stifled the Purple Eagles attempts at the puck in the neutral zone, before seeing continued looks at the net down to the final buzzer of the period. Although Colgate came out strong for the second night in a row, the Raiders couldn’t seem to find the twine just yet all while outshooting Niagara 8-3 after 20:00.
Colgate opened with a quality chance within the first two minutes of the second period, but Niagara battled back through the second pressuring the Colgate zone for their longest stretch yet. Colgate’s consistent offensive presence surpassed the Purple Eagles efforts, as the Raiders racked up a season-high of 22 shots on goal in the second period alone. It was with 4:56 remaining when Colgate rushed the Niagara zone and surrounded the net. After the puck was fed up from behind the goal, Jeff Stewart was ready for the rebound at the edge of the crease to put the Raiders up 1-0 heading into the third.
Play began to get physical between the in-state rivals midway through regulation, and Colgate benefited by carrying over 1:35 of 5-on-3 power play action into the third period. Looking to increase their one-goal lead, it took just 36 seconds into the third period before Bobby McMann capitalized on the man advantage with a tic-tac-toe play around the foundation.
Although Colgate quickly increased their lead to 2-0, the third period featured the most back-and-forth play of the night. It was freshman netminder Andrew Farrier’s steadfast presence in goal as the minutes waned on regulation that kept the scoreboard in Colgate’s favor. With a significant 4:22 remaining, Niagara pulled its goaltender hoping to convert with a 6-on-4 advantage, but Colgate’s Farrier-led defense withstood to claim the 2-0 victory in the series finale for the weekend split.
COLGATE SCORING PLAYS
• Period 2 | 15:06 – Colgate crashed the Niagara goal before Josh McKechney fed the puck from behind the net out front to Ben Sharf. After Sharf’s initial shot, Stewart was ready to stuff the puck at the crease for Colgate’s 1-0 lead.
• Period 3 | 00:36 – Looking to capitalize with a 5-on-3 advantage, the Raiders set the foundation of their power play early in the period. Trevor Cosgrove fed the puck across the blue line to Nick Austin. A pass predicted to head out front, Austin instead sent the puck diagonal to the goal line, where McMann was ready with a one-timer through the back door for a 2-0 lead.
• In notching the game-winner, freshman Jeff Stewart tallied his first career goal with the Colgate hockey program and first point since an assist against Princeton Nov. 16.
• With a 17-save performance, freshman goaltender Andrew Farrier earned his first career shutout in his second career start.
• By scoring the Raiders second goal, junior Bobby McMann extended to a three-game point streak. The Wainwright, Alberta native’s team-leading fourth goal of the season lifts him to a high of eight points on the year.
• With an assist on the game-winning goal, sophomore Josh McKechney now holds four points in the last four games by one goal and three assists.
• Also hitting a stride, fellow sophomore Trevor Cosgrove has now marked three points in the last three games by one goal and two assists.
• By assisting on McMann’s tally, sophomore Nick Austin has an apple in three of the last four games.
• For his first point since Oct. 20, junior Ben Sharf marked an assist on the game-winning goal, now posting two on the season.
• In holding to Niagara to just three shots on goal in the opening period, it marks the fewest shots on goal Colgate has allowed in any period this season, while the total of 17 is the least the Raiders have allowed in a game (previously 19 vs. New Hampshire, Oct. 12).
• Colgate was just one shot shy of its season-high at 41 shots on goal, which included the most shots on goal in a 20:00 span when they tallied 22 shots on goal in the second period to eclipse their 20 in the second at Miami (OH) (Oct. 27).
• After a slow start with the man advantage this season, Colgate has now capitalized on the power play in three of the last four games by going 1-for-3 on the night.
THE BOTTOM LINE
• Colgate 2, Niagara 0
• Colgate improves to a 4-9-2 record, and holds a 1-3-2 mark in ECAC Hockey action.
• Niagara is 8-9-1 overall on the season, and is 7-4-1 in Atlantic Hockey play.
COACH VAUGHAN’S TAKE
“I’m really proud of our guys and thought the effort was exceptional tonight. Over two games, we fired 80 shots on goal and if you average 40 shots on goal a night, you’re going to win a lot of games. Obviously scoring has been challenging, but I thought we played almost a perfect game defensively and Andrew Farrier came up big when we needed him to. Special teams play was really important too.”
“I’m just really happy for the guys. The wins have been tough to come by and now they can feel good going into break knowing that not only did we win, but they played hard and they played well.”
The first half of the season is now complete for the Colgate men’s hockey program, and will next be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 29 when it faces Quinnipiac in a nonconference showdown at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. For tickets to the Long Island game, click HERE.
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For more information on the Colgate men's hockey program, follow the Raiders on Twitter @ColgateMIH and Instagram at colgate_mih.