Raiders Offense Explodes for Six Goals to Fight off Harvard’s Comeback Attempt

Raiders Offense Explodes for Six Goals to Fight off Harvard’s Comeback Attempt

HAMILTON – There are no shootouts in the college hockey playoffs, though the crowd of more than a thousand fans inside the Class of 1965 Arena Friday night may beg to differ.
 
An offensive shootout is the only way to describe the opening game of the conference quarterfinals between No. 4 Colgate and Harvard. The game finished with a 6-4 score in favor of Colgate, giving the home side a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series. It marks the first postseason win in the Class of 1965 Arena for the Raiders.
 
Breanne Wilson-Bennett started the offensive fireworks just 56 seconds into the contest. Shae Labbe added two more before the end of the first stanza to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
 
Jessie Eldridge collected her 100th career point on Labbe's first goal. Eldridge threw the puck on goal and it lightly grazed Labbe's stick before reaching the back of the net.
 
Just under six minutes into the second period, the Crimson got on the board to narrow Colgate's lead to two. Megan Sullivan answered with her 50th career goal with 8:29 remaining in the second. She received a pass from Labbe in the opposing offensive zone and took the puck nearly three-quarters the length of the ice to put the Raiders up three again. Harvard added another goal with five minutes left in the second to make the score 4-2 entering the intermission.
 
Shelby Perry netted a point-blank opportunity just over seven minutes into the third period to put the Raiders up three once again.
 
But Harvard came charging back with two goals in the span of 42 seconds to make the score 5-4 with 8:46 remaining.
 
Sullivan found the back of the net for the second time, converting on the power play to give the Raiders the two goal lead. The goal gave the Raiders some much needed insurance and ultimately put the game out of reach for Harvard.
 
BOTTOM LINE 
Colgate 6, Harvard 4
 
WIN-LOSS RECORD
The Raiders advance to 30-4-1. The Crimson drop to 13-15-2 overall. 
 
KEY RAIDER INFO
-For the first time in program history the Raiders reached the 30-win barrier.
-Jessie Eldridge became just the seventh player in program history to reach the 100-point mark. She is just third Raider to reach the milestone as a junior.
-Megan Sullivan netted her 50th and 51st career goals. She is one goal shy of tying Amanda Barre '05 for the sixth most scored in a career in program history.
-The Raiders have won seven straight games.  
-Colgate improved its unbeaten streak against Harvard to five games.
 
FACTS AND FIGURES
-Olivia Zafuto picked up her 16th assist to extend her point streak to 10 games, which ties her for the longest streak by a defender in the nation this season.
-Eldridge tied a career-high with three assists. The only other time she had accomplished the feat was against Northeastern on Oct. 15.
-Lauren Wildfang picked up her 21st assist of the season on Labbe's first goal.
-Shelby Wood has had back-to-back multipoint performances. Four of her 10 assists this season have come in the last two games.
-Wilson-Bennett surpassed the 90-career-point marker with a goal and an assist. She has registered 91 points in her career as a Raider.
-Labbe tallied her fourth multi-goal performance of the season.
-Perry netted her 10th goal of the season. The Elginburg, Ontario, native has scored the last two Raider game-winners.

FROM THE SOURCE
Head Coach Greg Fargo 
On his overall thoughts on the team's performance: "We played well in the first period tonight, which set the tone for the rest of the game. We did a lot of good things tonight. I thought we executed our game plan pretty well. Overall, I'm pleased. There are some things we'll take a look at tonight and try to clean up a little bit, but overall I was pretty pleased with our effort."
 
On how well-spread the team's scoring was: "Nobody on our team cares who ends up on the score sheet. When we do the right things with and without the puck, we're going to get chances. The people that cashed in tonight made the most of them."
 
On the atmosphere inside the arena: "It was pretty electric in the rink tonight right from the very start. I thought that helped us get off on the right foot. The crowd was awesome. Any time anything positive happened, they gave us a boost. You could feel as the momentum shifted one way or the other, so did the crowd."


UP NEXT
Colgate takes on Harvard in Game 2 of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Saturday at 3 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. in Hamilton.