If there was a lesson Union could take from its 6-0 loss to Cornell on Friday, it was that you need to play a tough defensive game to win.
The Dutchmen proved to be excellent scholars. They did to Colgate what was done to them by Cornell. The Dutchmen held the Raiders to 16 shots on goal in a dominating 4-1 ECAC victory Saturday at Achilles Rink.
Nathan Gillies scored twice for Union (8-11-4, 4-5-2 ECAC), which had 29 shots on goal in ending a six-game winless streak. The win moved the Dutchmen into a tie for sixth place with Dartmouth, which hosts Union next Friday.
Against Cornell, Union fell behind, 2-0, in the first four minutes of the game and never recovered. The Dutchmen were outshot, 35-17. Union coach Kevin Sneddon wanted to reverse the trend against Colgate (8-12-2, 3-6-1).
“As a staff, we said, `Let’s throw the kitchen sink at them tonight,'” Sneddon said. “We pressed them all night long. We did the reverse of what Cornell did to us.
“We did an exceptional job forechecking and getting after loose pucks, and taking away time and space from their forwards. Obviously, to hold a team of that caliber to 16 shots is very impressive, from a defensive standpoint.”
Dutchmen goalie Kris Mayotte wasn’t tested much in his 15-save effort. He allowed P.J. Yedon’s power-play goal at 8:57 of the third period.
“The defense played awesome,” Mayotte said. “Everything we did was clicking. There was great communication in the [defensive] zone. I saw every shot.”
Colgate coach Don Vaughan wasn’t pleased that his team didn’t have many shots on goal.
“That had more to do with us than it did with them,” Vaughan said. “Although they played well, we didn’t seem to have the jump in our legs to be successful at this level.”
Jordan Webb, who had two assists, broke a scoreless tie three minutes into the second period when he tipped a Joel Beal shot past goalie David Cann for a power-play goal. That snapped Union’s scoreless streak of 113 minutes, 12 seconds dating back to Jan. 10 against Rensselaer.
A Colgate turnover, thanks to the puck getting stuck in a patch of ice behind the Raiders’ goal line, led to Union’s second goal 2:42 into the third period. Glenn Sanders put in the rebound of an A.J. Palkovich shot.
After Yedon scored, Gillies made it 3-1 33 seconds later when he chipped the puck past Cann after a nice breakout pass by Bryan Campbell. Gillies closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1.7 seconds left.
“We needed to tighten up and play tougher in our own zone, and make simple plays coming out of our end,” Gillies said. “In the Cornell game, we were too worried about the offense and trying to compete with their big guns. It didn’t work out for us. We adapted [against Colgate], stuck to our game plan, and it worked out for us.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.