POTSDAM — The Colgate women’s hockey team has suffered some frustrating postseason losses against Clarkson University in recent years.
But on Saturday the Raiders snapped a five-game winless streak against fifth-ranked Clarkson and spoiled the Golden Knights’ home and season opener with a 3-1 victory in a nonconference game in an empty Cheel Arena.
The last time the teams met was in the spring when the Golden Knights swept the Raiders in a two-game ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series. A year earlier Clarkson knocked Colgate out in an ECAC Hockey semifinal with a 2-0 win, and in 2018 Clarkson beat the Raiders 2-1 in overtime in the national championship game after winning 3-0 two weeks earlier against Colgate in the ECAC Hockey championship game.
The Raiders (3-0 overall), who are tied for ninth in the national rankings, got started last weekend with a pair of nonconference wins against Syracuse and brought a veteran team into Cheel Arena with 20 of the 21 players back from last year’s roster. Clarkson, meanwhile, was playing its first game since losing 5-1 to Princeton in an ECAC Hockey semifinal at Cornell on March 7.
“Colgate is a pretty deep team and a talented team,” Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers said. “They didn’t really graduate anyone from last year’s team, so they already have that kind of built-in familiarity between each other and a little bit of that chemistry. They can definitely score goals and make you pay for making mistakes, and that’s what we saw today. A couple little mistakes ended up in the back of our net, and that’s what’s going to happen against a talented team like that.”
Clarkson started off well, outshooting the Raiders 11-5 in the opening period. Clarkson’s defending Patty Kazmaier winner. Elizabeth Giguere, received her first breakaway chance of the season just 8 minutes, 31 seconds into the opening period to no avail, and the Golden Knights missed another scoring chance on a two-on-one breakaway at 11:15 when a shot from Tia Stoddard went just over the crossbar.
Brooke McQuigge also produced a good scoring chance on a rebound attempt just 30 seconds into the second period, and 10 seconds later, Gabrielle David just missed the puck on a one-timer attempt on a pass from Giguere.
But a Clarkson turnover in its own zone led to the first goal of the game on a shot from Colgate’s Kristyna Kaltounkova at 1:31 of the second period.
Colgate added two more goals midway through the second period just 43 seconds apart to build a 3-0 edge.
Sammy Smigliani scored the first, off a pass from Tanner Gates, at 10:23 and Kaltounkova added her second goal on a shot from the circle at 11:06.
“I was actually happy with our first period,” Desrosiers said. “I thought we came out with some good energy, we were playing within our systems. I think in the second period things got a little bit sloppier from our end. You can attribute some of that to just not having the ability to play for a while, with all the disruptions throughout the first semester, just not having the kind of chemistry you kind of want at this point in the season. I thought we did some good things as well that we can kind of build off of. There are a few little things we need to work on and some adjustments we have to make.
Senior defenseman Avery Mitchell kept Clarkson from being shut out when she scored at 17:34 of the third period on a shot from the circle.
“We were just trying to get shots on net,” Mitchell said. “I had a pretty open lane there. I saw (Giguere) in front of the net, she was screening. I was hoping to create a scrum or something up front, but that one actually went in. It’s definitely a huge energy boost. We went the whole game without getting a goal and 3-0 is a tough pill to swallow in the first game. Getting one goal is a big difference.”
Clarkson are scheduled to face the Raiders three more times this coming week, including games in Hamilton on Monday and Thursday at 5 p.m. and another home game on Saturday at 4 p.m.