Friday, 27 October 2017

Biggest Game Yet

If you follow HBIC, you know that I've chosen the Colgate Raiders as my new NCAA women's hockey program to follow. After jumping out to a 6-0-0 start, there are a lot of people, myself included, that believe this squad could challenge for a national championship with the skill they have. This weekend, though, would be a solid test beginning with tonight's game against the second-ranked team in the nation in the Clarkson Golden Knights who entered tonight's game boasting a 24-game unbeaten streak. No one said it would be easy climbing the mountain, but the Raiders appeared to be ready for the challenge!

The Raiders and Golden Knights are actually very evenly-matched when you look at their strengths and weaknesses, so I expected a low-scoring, tight-checking affair where mistakes may be costly. It started that way when the Golden Knights took a 1-0 lead, but Bailey Larson showed some great fundamentals in following her shot to the net where she found a puck that bounced back across the crease to tuck it home to make it a 1-1 game at the 13:00 mark!

Despite going into the intermission down 2-1, Colgate rallied again in the second period at the 6:24 mark when Annika Zalewski notched a power-play goal to make it a 2-2 game after the Raiders showed some great patience in finding Zalewski open in the slot in the Golden Knights' zone.

Colgate would retake the lead before the second intermission with a power-play goal of their own, so it was all on Colgate in the third period to find an equalizer as they trailed 3-2. And who would find the all-important tying goal? None other than Malia Schneider just 1:22 into the final frame!

There would be no additional scoring in regulation time, so it was off to extra time for some free hockey! A 24-game unbeaten streak was on the line when the puck was dropped, and a winner was found at 1:44 of the extra frame.
That, folks, was Megan Sullivan scoring at 1:18 of the overtime period to break Clarkson's 24-game unbeaten streak and give the fifth-ranked Colgate Raiders a win over the second-ranked Clarkson Golden Knights! The win also pushes Colgate to a 7-0-0 start - the first time tey have achieved that record in their first seven games in program history! In other words, Sullivan's goal was a huge goal for a number of reasons, and her third goal of the season might be the biggest goal of the season thus far!

Julia Vandyk picked up the win, making 22 saves on 25 shots, as she picked up her second win of the season in as many games and her 33rd win in her NCAA career. If you're into superstitions, she also wears #33, so maybe there was a little magic hiding in today's game as well!

The weekend doesn't get any easier despite the huge win tomorrow as the team travels to Canton, New York for a battle with the seventh-ranked St. Lawrence Saints. Can the Raiders make it 8-0-0 on the season? If they play like they did today, there's a good chance they will set another mark for the program! Of course, the Saints may have something to say about that, but we'll see what happens!

Congratulations to the Colgate Raiders on their historic start and huge win!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: