PRINCETON, N.J. – With a 4-3 win at Princeton, the Colgate men’s hockey program completed a weekend sweep in ECAC Hockey action.
The Raiders wasted no time as they looked to respond to their slow start on Friday. Just 59 seconds into the game, Tyler Penner lifted the Raiders to a 1-0 lead with a top shelf goal. Although comfortable, Colgate wasn’t able to hold onto the lead for long as Princeton answered with a tying tally on the first power play chance of the night, before quickly regaining the edge at home, just 33 seconds later for a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Compared to the first, the second period pace slowed as the teams exchanged back-and-forth penalties before the Raiders offense pressured play back into the Princeton zone. With under 5:00 to go before the horn of the stanza, John Snodgrass tapped in a wrist shot to tie the game at 2-2 with his first goal of the season.
After a fairly slow start to the third period, Colgate ambushed the Princeton net when it took advantage of a tie up at the crease. Jeff Stewart slid in to tuck the puck past the toe of Princeton’s netminder for his third goal in the last four games.
As the Raiders once again held the lead, they continued to direct play at the Tigers with neutral zone recoveries. Colgate’s advantage on the scoreboard increased when Bobby McMann dodged the defenders and made it a 4-2 game with 8:02 remaining in regulation. Although Princeton scored just 30 seconds later, the goal stood as the eventual game-winner after the intense final minutes before the buzzer.
When Princeton pulled its netminder for the extra skater with 56 seconds remaining, Colgate’s defense was tested more than ever. Goaltender Mitch Benson made critical saves to help the Raiders avoid an overtime, although the shining play came when Princeton fired a shot off the faceoff with 4.7 on the clock. Hunter Racine made a diving block to redirect the puck out of the Colgate zone and seal the weekend sweep in the 4-3 final.
COLGATE SCORING PLAYS
• Period 1 | 00:59 – After Adam Dauda fed the puck from behind the net, Tyler Penner took advantage of traffic at the edge of the crease to tip the puck to the top shelf under a minute after the drop of the puck.
• Period 2 | 15:11 – Although Princeton looked to clear the puck, a grab by Colgate’s defense sent the puck back north to McMann at the blue line. McKechney’s cross pass connected with Snodgrass, as he subtly sat in the slot ready for the wrister.
• Period 3 | 06:40 – Princeton’s miscommunication at the crease resulted in a bobbled puck in the paint. Jeff Stewart swept into the slot and scored unassisted for Colgate’s 3-2 lead.
• Period 3 | 11:59 – A fast play entering the zone, McKechney passed the puck across the blue line, McMann danced through the defensemen and increased the Raiders lead to 4-2 while on the power play.
• After sitting out injury, junior John Snodgrass recorded his first goal of the season in his fifth game back in the lineup. In addition to his goal, the Eagan, Minnesota native tallied an assist and began a two-game point streak, having now earned four points in the last five games.
• Earning his team-leading fifth goal of the season and first game-winner of the year, junior Bobby McMann has now scored his second goal in the last four games.
• By notching the opening goal, junior Tyler Penner recorded his third of the season.
• With the go-ahead goal, freshman Jeff Stewart has scored two games in a row, and three times in the last four games.
• Freshman goaltender Mitch Benson tallied 30-plus saves for the eighth time this season when he posted a 31-save performance. It included a high of 11 save in both the first and third periods of play.
• Through the nine total goals on the weekend, five players began two-game point streaks including Josh McKechney, Adam Dauda, McMann, Snodgrass, and Stewart.
• Multi-point nights were earned by Snodgrass (1G, 1A), McMann (1G, 1A) and McKechney (2A).
• In the circle, Colgate held a 38-31 advantage in faceoff wins. The Raiders have now held the edge in the circle in 13 of the season’s 18 games.
• With the 5-4 win over No. 3/5 Quinnipiac on Friday, and Saturday’s 4-3 victory at Princeton, it marks Colgate’s first conference road sweep since Jan. 14-15, 2015 at Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
• With their efforts in tonight’s game, seniors Adam Dauda and Hunter Racine eclipsed 100 games played in their careers.
THE BOTTOM LINE
• Colgate 4, Princeton 3
• Colgate holds a 6-10-2 record, and a 3-3-2 mark in ECAC Hockey action.
• Princeton is 5-10-2 overall on the season, and is 3-6-1 in conference play.
COACH VAUGHAN’S TAKE
“I think we had a good start but obviously Princeton responded and we found ourselves down again. The guys just stayed the course and did a good job of sticking to the structure, and when we got away from it, that’s when [Princeton] got some momentum. Once we got back to getting pucks deep behind their [defense], good things happened. It’s a tough league and there’s no easy games or nights off. I’m really proud of our guys, the way they responded, and I’m happy for them.
It’s tough to win in this league but it’s especially tough to win on the road, so to get this sweep on the road is a big deal. Right now it’s all about getting better every day and getting back to work on Monday. We’ll do that and take a look at some of the things we need to work on and some of the things to keep doing well. I told the guys before the game that we’re going to play 30 seconds at a time for 60:00, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the night. That’s the focus you need to have to play in this league and I think we did that well tonight.”
WHAT JOHN SNODGRASS SAYS
“It was great to be back out there and to get a goal. I was out with a couple of good players on my line and they make things happen. It’s awesome to be back in the lineup, to score and to get the monkey off the back. It helps and it was fun.
You can feel the energy on the bench, and I think this weekend was the most fun everybody has had in awhile so it feels good to see a lot of smiles and a lot of energy on the bench.
We’re obviously happy with this weekend, but we have to get back at it and everything starts in practice. Last week we put in a lot of work throughout the week and it paid off, so Monday we’re going to be back at it and I think everyone has that mentality moving forward.”
With the Princeton game concluding a seven-game road stint, Colgate now returns to Class of 1965 Arena next weekend, Jan. 11-13, when it hosts UMass Lowell in the final nonconference series of the season. The games against the River Hawks kicks off a five-game home stand for the Raiders.
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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.