Heading into Day 2 of the Three Rivers Classic, teams were looking to move up in the polls. Three of the four participating teams were within four spots of one another in the National Rankings. How the sides performed today would have a large impact on next week’s rankings. And Colgate made sure they didn’t continue their constant slide down the polls, they’re ready to head back up.
Conciliation Game. Western Michigan vs. No. 20 Penn State
Andy Murray’s team bounced back nicely. Western Michigan opened the scoring when sophomore Sheldon Dreis received a beautiful drop pass from senior Captain Nolan Laporte, and labeled a rising wrist shot to the top right corner for his 9th of the year. Putting WMU up 1-0.
On an early 2nd period PP, WMU’s Aiden Muir, an Oilers Draft pick, tipped in a shot from defenseman Taylor Fleming, to put the Broncos ahead by two. Nittany Lions tender Matt Skoff kept it a two goal gap with a stretched out leg save on WMU’s leading scorer Justin Kovacs on a break away shortly after Muir’s goal. With 5 minutes left in the 2nd, PSU turned the puck over in the defensive zone, where junior Colton Hargrove, a Bruins Draft pick, picked up the loose puck in the slot and let go a turnaround wrist shot along the ice to put WMU up 3-0.
The Nittany Lions got on the board early in the 3rd. With junior Curtis Loik putting home his 4th of the year on a rebound off of an Erik Autio shot. Intensity started to pick up a bit, with both sides landing some big hits throughout the middle portion of the 3rd. Muir finished off the scoring around the half way mark of the period, adding his 2nd of the game and 3rd of the tournament, on a pass from Justin Kovacs.
Final Score: Western Michigan 4. Penn State 1.
Championship Game. No. 17 Colgate vs. No. 19 Robert Morris University
The Championship game of the Steel City’s annual College Hockey Showcase started with great pace and crisp passing. And was nothing short of action-packed for the first 20 minutes. With Each team producing quality chances, but the slight overall edge going to the Raiders of Colgate University.
A neutral zone turnover for Colgate, quickly went the other way for Robert Morris. Junior forward Matt Cope was the recipient of a blueline-to-blueline stretch pass from junior Brandon Denham, resulting in a breakaway for Cope. Cope made no mistake in diving for the puck and knocking it through goaltender Charlie Finn’s five hole to give the Colonials the early 1-0 lead. Colgate responded about a minute later. Junior forward Kyle Baun poked the puck out of RMU netmider Dalton Izyk’s glove after a Tyson Spink shot, and continued to carry the puck behind the net, where Baun then through the puck to the crease from behind the net and it deflected into the cage, tying the game at 1-1. A handful of minutes later, Colgate sophomore Jake Kulevich blasted home the go ahead goal far side on a pass from junior forward Darcy Murphy.
The 2-1 score was well in tact for the majority of the 2nd, and play seemed to be steady, while still slightly favoring Colgate. But the Raiders seemed determined to add to their lead. Over halfway into the 2nd, senior forward Joe Wilson got his 5th goal of the year to extend Colgate’s lead to two. Wilson followed up his own shot and shoveled a “loose” puck under Izyk’s pads. Despite the heavy dispute from Izyk and the Colonials that the puck was covered, the Raiders still claimed the 2 goal advantage.
A few minutes after the Wilson goal, RMU’s Denham got booked for a roughing infraction. Colgate made the Colonials pay on the ensuing powerplay. Wilson fired a cross ice pass to Murphy, who released a wrist shot low on net, and freshman Mike Panowyk came in hard to clean up the garbage. Colgate held a 4-1 lead after the 2nd, and doubled up the offensively talented Colonials in the shots category, 42-21.
Colgate added to their impressive lead in the 3rd, when junior defenseman Ryan Johnston wheeled out of the corner, and feathered a backhand pass to Spink, who one-timed the puck under the arm of RMU’s Izyk, for his 2nd point of the championship. Tylor Spink, brother of Tyson, finished off the goalfest by notching his first of the year on a pass from Baun, and finalizing the Three Rivers Classic Championship game with a score of 6-1.
Colgate. Three Rivers Classic Champions
Colgate was beyond impressive in the Championship game against the hometown Colonials. Swarming the offensive zone and releasing shot after shot on Robert Morris. Attempting nearly 100 shots in the contest. And man did it work. The Raiders produced more scoring chances, and eventual goals, than I thought both teams would have produced between them. And Robert Morris is a very good hockey team, who has been consistent all year-long thus far. What is equally as impressive as Colgate’s onslaught of goals against Robert Morris, is how they found victory in the low scoring affair against Wester Michigan the night before. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 2-1 in the first game of the tournament, in a game that was the definition of defensive struggle. Colgate’s ability to adapt to their opponents, and play two drastically different styles of games on their way to the tournament Championship, really showed me that they have the ability to be a top College Hockey team this year like all the experts thought going into the season. Yes they had a lot of peaks in valleys prior to the holiday break, but these two performance they had at the Three Rivers Classic could quite possibly be just what the Raiders needed to make an important run heading into the ECAC playoffs.
Sully’s Notable Players.
- Western Michigan: Aiden Muir, 3G
- Colgate: Tyson Spink, 1G and 2A
- Colgate: Kyle Baun, 1G and 2A
- Penn State: Curtis Loik ,1G and 1A
- Robert Morris: Brendon Denham, 2A
- Robert Morris: Daniel Leavens, 1G and 1A
- Colgate: Joe Wilson. 1G and 1A
- Colgate: Darcy Murphy, 2A
- Colgate: Charlie Finn, 54 saves on 56 shots, 2-0
- Western Michigan: Lucas Hafner 54 saves of 57 shots
All Tournament Team: (Aiden Muir, Curtis Loik, Daniel Leavens, Kyle Baun, Jake Kulevich, MVP Charlie Finn)