HAMILTON—The sour taste of an NCAA title game loss drove the Colgate Women’s Hockey team to a 4-1 victory over #3 Clarkson Friday night at Class of 1965 Arena.
In the first meeting between the two ECAC rivals since the 2018 NCAA championship, which was won by Clarkson 2-1 in overtime, Colgate was ready to roll right from the jump.
After a week away from game action, the Raiders came out red hot in the contest’s opening five minutes. They had a myriad chances, but it was a nonconventional opportunity that eventually yielded the game’s first goal.
With Colgate on the game’s first power play, Tanner Gates slipped the puck to Jessie Eldridge in the high slot with plenty of space. From there, she fired a shot wide, but Gates had returned to the far post and deflected it in with her knee for her second goal of the season. Malia Schneider also picked up a helper on the tally.
From there on out, the defending national champions turned it on. The Golden Knights ended the period with a 14-6 advantage in shots, but Julia Vandyk was in top form and stopped every shot she saw. That included a sliding save to her right on a late Clarkson power play that was nothing short of spectacular.
Colgate turned the tide back in its favor in the second period and then some. In a penalty-filled frame, the Raiders got the better of it, as they outshot the Golden Knights 15-9 and needed nearly the entire stanza to double up their lead.
The Raiders received a 5-on-3 power play late in the frame and with time winding down on the advantage, they struck. Olivia Zafuto hustled to win a 1-on-1 battle to keep the puck in the attacking zone, then she handed it off to Bailey Larson. The senior forward returned the puck to Zafuto, who maneuvered her way near the cage and passed to Shae Labbe, who scored from point blank with just 24 seconds left.
Labbe kept rolling once the third period started, as she started to put the hammer down for the Raiders. Shelby Wood started the scoring play just under five minutes into the third when her pass from the defensive zone entered the attacking end. Schneider won a battle to earn possession, then the puck nudged free in the slot. Labbe sent a soft shot towards goal, but Clarkson goalie Kassidy Sauve had a tough time seeing the puck and it eluded her to make the score 3-0.
Clarkson kept the pressure on after the third marker, and Vandyk and the Raiders eventually gave way when Michaela Pejzlova struck with just over five minutes remaining.
The visitors then pulled their netminder late for an extra attacker, but Colgate cashed in when Schneider completed a three point night with her seventh goal on the season to put the icing on the cake.
Vandyk keyed the Raiders to the victory, as the program’s all-time leader in wins (62) stopped 36 shots to stonewall the defending national champions.
· Colgate 4, #3 Clarkson 1
Facts & Figures
· Schneider’s three point evening was the first of her career and her seventh career multi-point game.
· Rosalie Demers is the only other Raider on the season to have a three point game. She did so on Oct. 26 against Dartmouth.
· Schneider leap frogged Eldridge for the team scoring lead with 16 points on the season via seven goals and nine assists.
· The Raiders were a perfect 4/4 killing off Clarkson power plays. The Golden Knight power play unit entered the evening as one of the three best in the nation and had only been held scoreless with the woman advantage in five of their previous 14 games.
· Colgate now has three victories over ranked opponents this season (Ohio State, Northeastern.)
· The victory snapped the team’s longest winless streak of the season at three games.
From the Source
Senior Forward Shae Labbe
· “We did a lot of soul searching the past two weeks,” said Labbe. “We tried to figure out what our identity is as a team and what our purpose is. That’s what really showed through our play and we were locked in right from the moment we touched the ice.”
· “We know that as a team, if we focus on the small things that make us successful, it doesn’t matter what team we’re playing,” said Labbe. “When we’re at our best, that’s when we give ourselves a chance to succeed.”
On playing on a line with Eldridge and Schneider:
· “It’s a lot of fun,” said Labbe. “They’re two very creative and smart players, so it makes it easy for me. I’m just going out and playing free and trying to find them and they’re trying to find me. We don’t have to think when we play with each other.”
On resetting for Saturday’s game against #9 St. Lawrence:
· “It’s about taking momentum from today,” said Labbe. “It’s really exciting to see what our team can do and what we can do when we work together. The excitement of today’s result will lead into tomorrow’s game.”
Head Coach Greg Fargo
· “It’s another good win for us,” said Fargo. “We’ve had wins like this along the way. We’ve got a group that’s really focused on the day-to-day right now and today was one of those days where we put our best foot forward and played a good game from start to finish.”
· “When you’re on the road as much as we’ve been, it takes a toll on you,” said Fargo. “It was nice to step away for a few days and recharge. Since we got back last Saturday, the group has been really dialed in and focused on what’s ahead.”
On Saturday’s game against #9 St. Lawrence:
· “I’m confident that we’re going to respond,” said Fargo. “What’s great about the group right now is we’re just focused on the day-to-day. By the time we put our heads on the pillow tonight, this game is long gone and we’ll focus on what’s ahead of us.”
The Raiders conclude their weekend against ranked ECAC opponents Saturday evening when they take on St. Lawrence in Hamilton. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m.