Team Keeps NCAA Hopes Alive

The Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey team faced off against Harvard University this past weekend, March 1 through 3, in Hamilton at the Class of 1965 Arena for the first round of the East Coast Athletic Conference playoffs. The No. 2 Raiders are looking to win their first ECAC title in program history.

The first game of the three-game series between Colgate and Harvard took place on Friday night. Harvard got off to a quick start, scoring one goal halfway through the first period and one goal halfway through the second period. However, with one minute left to play in the second period, the Raiders got on the board to cut their deficit in half. Sophomore defender Shelby Wood scored for the Raiders with assists from senior defender Olivia Zafuto and senior forward Shae Labbe. The Raiders entered the third period down by a goal.

Harvard scored three goals in three minutes to open up the third period to make the score 5-1.

Sophomore forward Malia Schneider was able to pick one goal up for the Raiders halfway through the third period with assists from senior forward Jessie Eldridge and first-year defender Tanner Gates. However, their efforts were not enough as the Raiders dropped their first game to the Crimson 5-2.

Colgate came into the second game of the series on Saturday looking for revenge in their first “must win” game of the weekend. Gates was the first on the board for the Raiders with a power-play goal, following up the rebound off of her initial shot for her first goal of the post- season. Wood and first-year forward Delani MacKay picked up assists on Gates’ goal. The Raiders finished the first period leading 1-0.

Minutes into the second period, the Crimson tied the game at one. However, Delani Mackay scored two minutes later to regain the Colgate lead. The Raiders entered the third period with the 2-1 lead.

First-year forward Eleri Mackay scored five minutes into the third period give the Raiders the 3-1 lead. Mackay’s goal was assisted by first-year forward Rosalie Demers.

Less than a minute later, Zafuto picked off a Harvard pass and dangled her way past the goalie to put the Raiders up three goals.

Harvard scored a power-play goal with one minute left, but it was not enough as the Raiders took game two 4-2 to force a game three on Sunday.

The Raiders got off to a quick start in the third game as Eleri Mackay scored her second goal of the weekend on a delayed penalty to give Colgate the day’s first lead. Mackay’s goal was assisted by her sister, Delani, and Zafuto.

Harvard scored eight minutes later to tie the game at one goal apiece. With four minutes left in the first period, Eldridge scored her first goal of the postseason off of a beautiful pass from Zafuto. Wood also picked up an assist on Eldridge’s goal.

With 30 seconds left in the period, Eldridge went top shelf on the goalie to score her second goal of the afternoon. Eldridge’s goal was unassisted. The Raiders finished the first period with a 3-1 lead. Both teams were unable to find the back of the net in the second period. Colgate’s senior goaltender Julia Vandyk came up large many times to keep the Raiders ahead.

One minute into the third period, Eleri Mackay scored her second goal of the game with assists from Zafuto and Labbe. Mackay’s power-play goal gave the Raiders the 4-1 lead.

With 12 minutes left in the game, Colgate went back onto the power play. Senior forward Bailey Larson sauced a pass to Zafuto who fired the puck to the net. Eleri Mackay tipped the puck into the net for her third goal of the game and her first career hat trick and fourth goal of the weekend.

Harvard was able to score one more time before the end of regulation. Eldridge’s two goals and Eleri Mackay’s hat trick brought Colgate to the 5-2 game three lead to take the series.

The Raiders will face off against Clarkson in the semifinals of the ECAC playoffs this weekend, playing on Saturday, March 9. Colgate has won both of their games against Clarkson this season.

Contact Jack Breitowich at jbreitowich@colgate.edu.

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