The Colgate Women's Hockey team had its biggest challenge of the season on Saturday afternoon against the nation's fifth-best team, and the Raiders responded.
Down 2-0 after the first period of play against Ohio State, Colgate came out guns a blazing in the second frame. When the dust had settled after 60 minutes of play, the Raiders skated off the ice with a 5-2 victory to ensure a happy trip back to Hamilton.
Freshman Nemo Neubauerova was responsible for the beginning of the Colgate comeback, as she tipped a puck to herself at the defending blue line and then wired a shot past Buckeye netminder Andrea Braendli off the post and in. It was the first-year's second tally of the season.
That marker came just 36 seconds into the period and the Raiders were far from done in the frame. Colgate earned its second power play opportunity of the day about four minutes later and they needed just 12 seconds of woman-up time to convert.
Malia Schneider sent a shot towards goal that found a way past a horde of bodies and Braendli to even the score. Schneider was originally credited with the goal, but it was later given to freshman Delani MacKay, who tipped it along the way towards the cage. It was her first collegiate goal.
The onslaught continued ten minutes later when Shae Labbe got on the board for the first time of the day. Just like the team's second goal, she sent a long shot through a heavy screen that found its way into the back of the net.
The score stayed 3-2 heading into the third period, which is a very comfortable spot for the Raiders. Last season, Colgate 25-0-0 when leading after two periods and that streak wasn't about to be broken.
Thanks to the stellar play of junior goalie Liz Auby, who was making her first appearance of the season, the Raiders were able to salt away the victory in the third period. Auby made 17 of her career-high 38 saves in the closing stanza and Coralie Larose and Labbe added insurance goals to finish off the Buckeyes.
Facts & Figures
- With the win, the Raiders avoided the weekend sweep. They have not been swept in a series since the 2017 ECAC quarterfinals at Cornell.
- Colgate has now won 31 straight games when leading after two periods. The last time they weren't victorious was on Dec. 3, 2016 when they tied Harvard 3-3.
- Auby's previous career-high in saves was 30, which happened on multiple occasions.
- With D. MacKay's goal on Saturday, three of Colgate's seven freshmen have already tallied a goal in the opening four games of the season.
- Thanks to her two goals, Labbe is now on a goal-per-game pace and is ranked inside the top-5 in the country in the stat.
From the Source
Head Coach Greg Fargo
"It's always fun to play teams like that who have very similar styles," said Fargo. "Our team did great after the first period to respond and start to play the way that we need to play in order to give ourselves a chance to win."
"Our group came together, dug in, and did what they needed to do to tilt the ice back our way," said Fargo. "I'm really proud of the group. It was a great team win and it's something we can build off of."
On change after first period:
"We started to commit to all the hard things that need to be done in order to give ourselves a chance to win," said Fargo. "The second period was completely different. We were committed and we got contributions from every line and every defense-pair that was out there. Really, it was a decision we made to just play as opposed to thinking too much."
On team's perfect penalty kill weekend:
"Our kill was tremendous," said Fargo. "It starts in net. We got the saves we needed, but our players were committed to getting in front of shots and that's what we needed."
On Liz Auby's performance:
"She's an absolute competitor," said Fargo. "We knew she'd be ready to play today. She'd been thinking about this for a long time and it speaks to her character with how she showed up and played the game today."
Colgate will have another tough road test next weekend in Boston. The Raiders will take on Northeastern in a pair of games, which starts with a Friday night matchup. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.