Friday, 20 October 2017

Buzzer Beater

Ever since UND decided to eliminate its women's hockey program, I have been drifting without a team to follow. There are players that I'm cheering for - Wisconsin's Kristen Campbell, for example - but I needed a new program to sink my loyalty into, and I may have found it with the Colgate Raiders. I made the commitment after Krista Patronick took over the reigns as Director of Women's Hockey Operations at Colgate University and appeared on The Hockey Show. Needless to say, I may have hitched my wagon to one heckuva program after tonight's game!

I had asked Krista when she appeared on the show if she was worried about the early schedule with teams such as St. Cloud State, Northeastern, and Mercyhurst on the docket, but she said she wasn't worried at all. At the time, I might have dismissed the comment as an employee of Colgate putting faith in her own program, but it seems my dismissal might have been both erroneous and premature. After downing both St. Cloud State and Northeastern by a combined 16-2, the fifth-ranked program in the nation welcomed Mercyhurst to the Class of 1965 Arena.

Goaltender Liz Auby had set the Colgate women's team's shutout streak at 308:44 in her three shutouts to start the season before Northeastern finally found a crack in the Auby wall late in the second period, so Mercyhurst had a tall task in front of them as they began the weekend series with the Raiders tonight. While Mercyhurst entered the game with a 1-4-1 record, Colgate certainly wouldn't take the Lakers lightly.

After Colgate surrendered a goal late in the third period to allow Mercyhurst to tie the game at 3-3, overtime loomed. It would take nearly the entire five-minute extra frame to find a winner, but we did find one just in the nick of time! One day after she took over Colgate's Instagram account, Jessie Eldridge went and did this.
Despite what the voice on the video stated, Eldridge scored with one second remaining in overtime to give the Colgate Raiders their fifth-straight win to open the season! The great lead pass came from the player who did the pickpocketing of the Laker in the offensive zone, and freshman Malia Schneider went tape-to-tape to send Eldridge in with speed. Moments later, there were team hugs in the corner as it was game, set, match with Eldridge's second goal of the night!

I feel pretty confident in my choice for a new NCAA team to follow after seeing them start the season 5-0-0. They play Mercyhurst again tomorrow, and then they go on the road against the Clarkson Golden Knights and perhaps their toughest match to date with the sixth-ranked St. Lawrence Saints next Saturday. I have faith, though, that players lake Shae Labbe, Jessie Eldridge, Shelby Perry, Malia Schneider, and Liz Auby will do their part in keeping this magical season alive!

Heckuvan ending tonight, though. Well done, Raiders!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: