The Colgate Women’s Hockey Team entered the 2022-23 season ranked sixth in the USCHO Division I Women’s national hockey poll (and number one in the ECAC). In their season-opening game against the Syracuse Orange, they proved to be more than worthy of their lofty ranking.
Expectations are high for the Colgate Raiders this season. After finishing last season with an overall record of 30-8-1and winning their second straight ECAC Tournament title, Head Coach Greg Fargo’s team has its sights set on a national title. The first step toward that goal was Saturday’s season opener against regional rival the Syracuse University Orange.
The Orange have lofty goals of their own. They finished the 2021-22 season with an overall record of 15-11-6 and won the College Hockey America Conference Tournament. They enter this season ranked number two in College Hockey America (CHA) and have a new head coach in Britni Smith.
With Colgate’s home ice at the Class of 1965 Arena as the setting, the Raiders and Orange met on Saturday afternoon to start their seasons. From the outset, the Raiders used their speed to put the Orange on their heels. At just four minutes and forty-two seconds into the game preseason, all ECAC honoree Kristyna Kaltounkova got a step on Brynn Koocher and forced the Syracuse defender to haul her down giving Colgate the first power play of the game. The Raiders did not capitalize on this opportunity but converted on another power play chance shortly after the first one expired when freshman Sara Stewart beat Syracuse goaltender Arielle DeSmet with a shot from the left circle to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead they would hold until the end of the period. The Raiders controlled play for the entire first period, outshooting the Orange by a thirteen to four margin.
The Orange began the second period on the power play, as with twenty-nine seconds left in the first period, Colgate defender Sydney Bard took a tripping penalty breaking up a Syracuse scoring chance in the Colgate end. The Orange could not take advantage of their power play opportunity, but Bard would make sure the Raiders did score on her team’s next power play. After Colgate’s Dara Greig drew a hooking penalty in front of the Syracuse net, Bard found Neena Brick with a cross-ice pass from the left point to the right circle where Brick sniped a shot past DeSmet to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead.
Near the halfway mark of the second period, Syracuse captain Lauren Bellefontaine took a tripping penalty to give the Raiders another power play opportunity that they would cash in on. This time, Kaitlyn O’Donohoe scooped up a loose puck in the left corner, skated in, and rifled a shot into the top of the Syracuse net to give Colgate a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the second intermission. After two periods, the Raiders led the Orange in shots on goal twenty-four to eleven.
There was no scoring in the third period, but Syracuse goaltender Arielle DeSmet continued to be under siege – as she faced eleven more shots. Although she gave up the three goals, DeSmet was excellent in net for the Orange – making thirty-two saves including several big ones to keep her team in the game. For her part, Colgate goaltender Kayle Osborne stopped all thirteen shots she faced, which included stopping Maya D’Arcy on a breakaway with just under seven minutes to go to preserve a 3-0 shutout win for the Raiders.
Notes: Colgate outshot Syracuse 35-13…Colgate was 2 for 5 on the power play while Syracuse was 0 for 4…Eight Colgate players collected a point, including goaltender Osborne who had the secondary assist on Stewart’s goal…Syracuse plays again on Friday, September 30th at Merrimack…Colgate plays again on Friday, September 30th as well at Mercyhurst