#5 Colgate Splits Opening Weekend With Penn State

The Colgate Raiders started their season at home and enjoyed a great opening game yesterday before losing today against the unranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Here is a brief recap of the two games.

Friday: Colgate defeats Penn State 3-1

The opening period was back and forth but for all the wrong reasons. It seemed as though Colgate was very sluggish. Penn State took advantage of that and pressured the Colgate defense but could not capitalize on a 13-5 shot advantage. After a scoreless first period, Colgate started getting into a rhythm and we’re getting shots on goal.

The Lions would strike first midway through the second after a goal by Brooke Madsen. The Raiders would respond a minute later as the freshman Nemo Neubauerova would fire a cannon of a shot past the Penn State goalie for not only her first career goal but to also start the rally. It was tied at one apiece after the second, but Colgate needed somebody to answer the call as the Lions were not giving up easy plays.

It wasn’t until late into the third, the senior Jessie Eldridge was charging the net as freshman Eleri MacKay fed her a pass from the right. The goalie did not have a chance as Eldrige lifted the puck glove side and gave Colgate a 2-1 lead. With a 1:59 left in the third, the Raiders were assessed a penalty and had to fight off the Lions last attempt to at least tie the game but Bailey Larson scored a shorthanded, empty netter goal to seal Colgate’s 3-1 victory.

Saturday: Penn State-4, Colgate-2

This game was very different from yesterday as Colgate came out with determination and speed and immediately pressured the Lions at their end of the ice.

The senior Shae Labbe put Colgate on the board first as she handled the puck after a feed from freshman Tanner Gates and beat the Nittany Lion goaltender far side. The Lions would gain momentum after a pair of goals in the first and second but Colgate would respond again after a huge opportunity in the second with a 5 on 3 powerplay freshman Tanner Gates would score her first career goal and knot the game at two. The Lions quickly bounced back from that by scoring a minute later to make it 3-2 Penn State.

The third period was physical and no team could truly say they had a viable opportunity to score as both defenses were covering their respective nets and blocking shots. Ultimately, Penn State would score an empty netter in the third period and win 4-2. This would probably be the most surprising upset of the entire women’s hockey season as half of the Penn State team was suspended this weekend.

Overall thoughts:

This team looks and seems young. They are still trying to figure things out but the talent is there. This team will not be the world beaters they were last year but they are good enough to compete with the best of them. They just have not found their niche yet and once they do they will give the top teams in the nation fits. They are going to have to bring their A-game every single weekend as all of their non-conference road opponents are all currently ranked in the top ten with the exception of Syracuse.

They will definitely drop down in the rankings after this weekend. My guess is the lowest they would drop would be eighth in the nation. They are going to have to do really well in the ECAC conference and win some key road games in order to remain in the conversation for the national championship tournament. And that starts next week with a pair of games against Ohio State.

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