NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. — Colgate dropped a tight battle to Niagara Friday afternoon, falling 3-2 to the Purple Eagles at Dwyer Ice Arena.
The loss snapped the Raiders’ three-game winning streak as they fell to 6-8-1 on the season.
The opening portion of the first period saw lots of back-and-forth action, with neither side able to pull ahead. The Purple Eagles opened the scoring with 6:23 remaining when Lars Roone ripped a shot into the goal from inside the left faceoff circle.
Colgate tied it back up just over four minutes later after both teams were down to four men when penalties got called on both sides 36 seconds apart from each other. Battling up against the boards, Ross Mitton played the puck to Alex DiPaolo, who made a no-look pass behind him to Nick Anderson for a shot he fired home to make the score 1-1.
Ben Raymond put Colgate ahead 2-1 just over seven and a half minutes into the second. Reid Irwin received a pass from Ryan McGuire and then fired a shot as he fell, which was saved by the goalie. Ben Raymond skated in and finished a one-time shot off the rebound.
Carter Gylander made some big saves in the middle period to prevent Niagara from scoring. Five minutes in, he logged back-to-back stops, including a stretch save to deny the Purple Eagles. The junior finished with 26 saves in the game.
Niagara knotted the game back up at 2-2 at the 12-minute mark of the second. Albin Nilsson fired a shot just inside the blue line that landed in the goal.
In the third, the Raiders had a brief power play with 12:20 left, but it only lasted 59 seconds after Ethan Manderville got sent to the box for interference.
Niagara nearly scored with 9:24 remaining in the third, but the goal got called off after the Purple Eagles were ruled offside. Two minutes later, Niagara made up the call when Shane Ott found the back of the net to put the Purple Eagles ahead 3-2.
With an empty net and less than a minute to go, Niagara was in the clear for an empty net goal, but Pierson Brandon hustled back and got his stick in the way to make a big play that prevented it from being a two-goal game.
Colgate had several chances from close-up with less than 10 seconds remaining. Anderson and Colton Young each put shots just wide of the net, and Matt Verboon and Alex Young each had their shots blocked as Niagara held on for the 3-2 victory.
FROM THE SOURCE
Head Coach Don Vaughan
“We have seen this before, unfortunately. It is not the kind of effort that deserves a win. To me that kind of thing starts in the locker room, on the bench, and then in the faceoff circle. Before the clock starts. For a team that most nights wins that metric almost every night, we were 30% tonight on face offs. It tells me something is off. It then goes to one-on-one battles, and again we lost in that area tonight. You can have all the systems, structure, and preparation during the week until you are blue in the face. If you are not prepared to grind and battle in your one-on-one play, the result usually does not go in your favor. Niagara was prepared for that tonight. We need to respond tomorrow, and we will.”
The Raiders and Purple Eagles will square off again Saturday at 3:30 for the series finale in Dwyer Ice Arena.