Colgate Stops SLU Ladies' Run In ECAC Finals
Rachel Bjorgan scored two goals, but the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team was unable to come back after Colgate scored three straight goals and fell to the Raiders 3-2 in the ECAC Hockey championship on Sunday afternoon at Class of 1965 Arena in Hamilton, New York.
Bjorgan gave the Saints a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game and scored the game's final goal with 13:31 left in the third period, but Colgate's defense clamped down for the remainder of the game to give the Raiders their first ECAC Hockey title.
"We have to give our players a ton of credit for the last two months of hockey," said Saints' assistant coach Mare MacDougall Bari. "We were almost there, just knocking on the door. I can't speak for the girls, but that was a great game to be a part of, and that's why ECAC Hockey is so awesome."
The game marked a wild finish to St. Lawrence's season. The Saints have played five games in the last 10 days, including three straight wins over Clarkson to claim the No. 2 seed in the tournament to close the regular season, then a 4-3 overtime win, again over Clarkson, in the tournament's semifinal round.
"You can't take away the experience of playing with your season on the line, and I couldn't be happier with the way that our team played, especially our underclassmen who are just so new to college hockey," said MacDougall Bari.
The Saints scored the first goal of the game for the fifth straight contest, with Bjorgan picking up a loose puck in the slot and firing it into the right side of the net for her second goal of the season. Gabi Jones and Aly McLeod picked up assists on the play.
Colgate's Kaitlyn O'Donohoe tied the game five minutes later, firing a shot from the left faceoff circle into the top left corner of the net.
Kalty Kaltounkova gave the Raiders their first lead with a power play goal just under three minutes into the second period, playing a pass off her skate and wristing a shot from the left faceoff circle into the far side.
Sammy Smigliani, who earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, tapped in a pass from Rosy Demers on a 2-on-1 at the 2:50 mark of the third period to give the Raiders a 3-1 lead.
Bjorgan cut the lead to one on a breakaway, as Jones pressured a Colgate player at the Raider blue line and Bjorgan intercepted a cross-ice pass and skated in all alone, beating Colgate goaltender Kayle Osborne with a wrist shot to the top right corner.
The Raiders, who held a 26-16 advantage in shots on goal, did not allow another shot on goal for the rest of the game, successfully playing keep-away from the Saints and dumping the puck deep in the St. Lawrence zone as time ran off the clock.
Osborne finished the game with 14 saves, while Lucy Morgan made 23 stops for the Saints.
Bjorgan and Jessica Poirier, who scored two goals in the Saints' win over Clarkson on Friday, were named to the All-Tournament Team.
With the win, Colgate (15-6-1) earned the league's automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. St. Lawrence finished the season 6-7-0.
"We have the opportunity to train together here moving forward into the summer, and we're definitely going to take advantage of that to make sure that we're right back to competing for a championship again," said MacDougall Bari.