HAMILTON, NY — The Colgate Women's Hockey team would not be denied Sunday afternoon at Class of 1965 Arena, as they beat Harvard 5-2 to win their ECAC quarterfinal series.
With their season on the line, the Raiders came out inspired in the first period and it paid off. With goalie Julia Vandyk heading to the bench for a delayed penalty, Colgate took an early lead. Olivia Zafuto was knocked down with a body check at the defensive blue line, but she was still able to work the puck to Delani MacKay. From there, MacKay entered the offensive zone and left a pass for her identical twin, Eleri MacKay, who ripped a shot home through the five hole of Harvard goalie Lindsay Reed.
In a microcosm of the weekend series, Harvard had a response for the Raiders. Dominique Petrie had a great individual effort before she scored top shelf to tie the game at one midway through the frame.
After being held without a point for the first time in nearly 15 games Saturday, Jessie Eldridge came alive late in the frame to give Colgate the lead and then some. With just under four minutes left, Zafuto took a shot from the point that was stopped, but Eldridge pounced on the rebound and finished from in tight.
The senior wasn't done after that. Three and a half minutes later, she gathered the puck in the neutral zone and worked her way to the right faceoff dot before labeling a wrist shot top shelf to make it 3-1. It was her 30th goal of the season.
The second period was tight, as Colgate held a 12-9 edge in shots on goal, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
In the third period, MacKay took center stage. Just under two minutes in, she took a shot on the power play that deflected off a Harvard player and past Reed. Zafuto and Shae Labbe earned assists on the play.
Then, on a separate power play just over eight minutes into the stanza, Zafuto took a shot towards goal. In the slot, MacKay deftly redirected it home for the hat trick goal.
Harvard added a goal with under four minutes to play, but it was too late, as the Raiders beat the Crimson in the quarterfinal round for the third time in the past four years.
- #9 Colgate 5, Harvard 2
Facts & Figures
- Zafuto finished the weekend with seven points on the strength of one goal and five assists.
- Livia Altmann led all players with four blocked shots.
- Eleri MacKay's multi-goal game was the second of her career.
- The four assist game was the first in Zafuto's career and the first time any Raider has done it this season.
From the Source
Freshman forward Eleri MacKay
- "It was awesome. This was much more energetic and the stakes were much higher. We did a great job of bouncing back from Friday and we just brought it."
- "We just did our best to get pucks deep and go to work and we got the bounces this weekend."
- "My line has been amazing all year and to be able to get a couple bounces in playoff hockey was awesome."
- "We're excited. We're all ready to go for Saturday. We know what we have to do and we're going to bring it."
Head Coach Greg Fargo
- "It was a resilient effort this weekend. We didn't start the series the way we wanted to, but we rebounded really well as a group."
- "To have three playoff games under our belt heading into next weekend is a good feeling. We have a lot of new faces on our team and to get those games in and have them play as well as they did feels good."
- "When you look at the series as a whole, we had contributions from every line and every set of defensemen. Depth at this time of year is so critical for a team's success. You can't just have the same cast of characters score all the time."
- "We're going to prepare for next weekend just like we always do. We have a familiar opponent, which is great, but we're going to have to be at our best. It should be a really fun hockey game Saturday, I can't wait to get down there and get going."
The Raiders take on third seeded Clarkson in the ECAC semifinals Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y. Start time is to be determined.