HAMDEN, Conn. – After falling behind to a three-goal deficit, the Colgate men’s hockey program resiliently battled back to earn a 5-4 overtime win at No. 3/5 Quinnipiac on Friday evening.
The Bobcats made its quickest start of the team’s three meetings this season as they scored just 1:06 into the game by capitalizing on a bounce off the back boards. Despite some pressure by the Colgate offense, the opposition built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the opening period in the ECAC Hockey matchup. At a point in the season where Quinnipiac had outscored the Raiders 14-0, Colgate was able to respond before the horn of the first period when Trevor Cosgrove marked a power play tally to get the Raiders on the board.
Energized by the late period goal, Colgate narrowed it to a one-goal game less than five minutes into the second period when Hunter Racine scored his first goal of the season. Despite Quinnipiac’s early run on the scoreboard, the pair of conference foes would enter the third period in a one-goal game though the Raiders faced tough ice time ahead.
Colgate carried over 47 seconds of a 5-on-3 penalty kill, including 4:13 remaining on a boarding major. With the two-man advantage, the Bobcats scored just 42 seconds in to increase its lead yet again to a two-score game. With 1:53 remaining on the major penalty, Colgate was granted relief when Quinnipiac was sent to the box, ensuing in 4-on-4 play. The pressure the Raiders brought to the Quinnipiac zone proved successful by notching another power play goal just as the major penalty expired. A scoring spree was ignited, and Colgate found itself on an even field with the nationally ranked opponent for the first time this season when they scored two goals in a 2:39 span behind a tying goal from Willie Brooks.
As the clock wound down, Colgate’s momentum continued to press play into the Quinnipiac zone. Hungry for the victory, the Raiders notched a pair of quality scoring chances in the final two minutes of regulation, but the Bobcats withstood the peppering of the net. In forcing overtime, the Raiders faced a determined Quinnipiac squad that tallied five shots on goal in under two minutes, but in a outnumbered opportunity, freshman Jeff Stewart was able to seal the Raiders victory 2:49 into overtime with a low shot through the five-hole.
COLGATE SCORING PLAYS
• Period 1 | 14:23 – Down 3-0, it was critical the Raiders take advantage of the power play before the conclusion of the opening period. After Nick Austin’s initial shot from the point, Trevor Cosgrove was ready to score on the rebound at the crease to get the Raiders on the board.
• Period 2 | 4:39 – After retrieving it from the corner, Adam Dauda fed the puck up to Willie Brooks at the point. The bullet from the blue line was tipped down low by Hunter Racine to capitalize on another quality power play generated by the Colgate squad, scoring just seconds after the teams returned to full strength.
• Period 3 | 4:15 – Again creating pressure with the man advantage, Paul Meyer sent a backhanded pass from the boards out to the center of the ice and a waiting Nick Austin. A quick flip to the top corner of the net put the Raiders within one of the top-ranked team.
• Period 3 | 7:06 – A cross pass sent from the corner by Josh McKechney found an open Willie Brooks. To tie the game, the senior spun and quickly sunk a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to tie the game at 4-4.
• Overtime | 2:49 – In an overtime primarily dominated by Quinnipiac, Colgate made a clear from the zone and created a 3-on-2 chance in the neutral zone. Zooming past the defensemen, Jeff Stewart passed along the boards to Ben Sharf, before retrieving the puck in the slot and sliding the it through the five-hole of Quinnipiac’s netminder for the overtime victory.
• With the overtime tally, both of freshman Jeff Stewart’s goals on the season have been game-winners. His last came just two games back in the 2-0 shutout of Niagara (Dec. 8, 2018).
• Three Raiders marked multi-point nights, in senior Willie Brooks and sophomores Nick Austin and Tyler Jeanson. Brooks and Austin each tallied two by one goal and one assist, while Jeanson supported with two assists on the night.
• Jeanson’s pair of assists marks his first career multi-point performance, while it was Austin’s fourth and Brooks’ second in their respective careers.
• In just his second game back from injury, senior Hunter Racine posted his first goal of the season by notching Colgate’s second of the night.
• Opening Colgate’s power play scoring was sophomore Trevor Cosgrove, as he marked his third of the season and first goal since at Dartmouth (Dec. 1, 2018).
• Snapping a nearly year-long scoring draught, Brooks’ goal marked his first since Jan. 27, 2018 at Harvard.
• Between the pipes, freshman Mitch Benson tallied a game-high of nine saves in the opening period and posted a stellar 12 additional saves between the third period and overtime session to help the Raiders earn their comeback win. Benson’s third career win came with a game-total of 28 saves on the night.
• Hitting a stride, sophomore Josh McKechney has posted five points in the last five games (1G, 4A), while Cosgrove has marked four points in the last four games (2G, 2A).
• Colgate has now capitalized on the man advantage in four of the last six games.
• The Raiders overcame a major scoring stump, as the five goals marks the first time they have tallied more than two goals in a game for the 2018-19 season.
• Three of Colgate’s five goals came from defensemen, in addition to three of the 10 assists.
• Colgate’s win snaps Quinnipiac’s three-game win streak in the series, marking the Raiders first victory over the Bobcats since Nov. 4, 2017.
• The last time Colgate overcame a three-goal deficit to win was Nov. 16, 2012 at Dartmouth, when they trailed 3-0 and made a similar comeback for a 5-4 win.
THE BOTTOM LINE
• Colgate 5, No. 3/5 Quinnipiac 4 - Overtime
• Colgate holds a 5-10-2 record, and a 2-3-2 mark in ECAC Hockey action.
• Quinnipiac is 15-4-0 overall on the season, and is 6-3-0 in conference play.
COACH VAUGHAN’S TAKE
“It’s never easy and we made it a little more challenging tonight with some of the penalties and the start to the game, but I’m just really proud of our guys and how they stuck to the plan. We had a great game plan coming into this one tonight, and I thought we really executed it well. We got pucks in behind [Quinnipiac’s defensemen] and worked pucks around the boards.”
“We never lost faith on the bench and that’s huge. We’ve been saying all along that it’s a tough league and Quinnipiac is one of the best teams in the country. We’re here on the road, and to go down like that early in the first, they could’ve easily packed it in. Instead our guys stuck with it; we had great leadership on the bench and I couldn’t be more proud.”
“It’s also a relief to get past the two goals. I think it will give the guys some confidence going the rest of the way in knowing that we can do it. Not only did we put up five goals against a very good team, but to come from behind like we did is a huge character builder for us. I thought our power play really moved the puck and looked as comfortable as they have all year long. We know the team has been working really hard and we didn’t have a lot to show for it, so tonight is a big step forward for us.”
WHAT WILLIE BROOKS SAYS
“It felt great to score the tying goal. McKechney made an awesome pass and we really had [Quinnipiac] under pressure that shift – we were all over them and kept up a lot of sustained pressure. I just tried to get it through and it found the back of the net. That came off of a shift where we had a lot of momentum and had a lot of pressure on those guys.”
“This win means everything to us. Especially that it was a comeback just six days after they took it to us on Long Island. To respond like this six days later at their rink in overtime, after a slow start, really showed we have a lot of heart in the room and we’re a team that has the ability to take people down. It’s really exciting.”
“The fact that we primarily have conference games the rest of the way through the season, makes these games the ones that really matter for us. Every game counts. Every time those guys hop over the boards, every shift counts and this goes to show that we’re turning around for the second half and making a big push here.”
Colgate continues conference play tomorrow, Jan. 5 when it travels to Princeton, New Jersey to face the Tigers. Puck drops on the ECAC Hockey action at 7 p.m.