Maine Hockey Journal

Colby ekes out first victory of the season

Brunswick, ME – The Colby College men’s ice hockey team and the Suffolk University Rams played in the first game of the Bowdoin/Colby Tournament on neutral ice on Saturday at Bowdoin College’s Sidney J. Watson Arena.

Spike Smigelski scored the game winning goal with 4:01 left in the game as Colby held on for their first win of the season. Coach Tortorella wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the way his team played but looked at the bright side.

“I think our guys got a little desperate at the end,” he said. “We didn’t make a lot of hockey plays. We weren’t mentally on top of it. We got our first win. And, a win’s a win.”

The game progressed slowly as neither team was able to find a rhythm or gather momentum. Suffolk relied heavily on a dump-and-chase tactic that only managed to produce four shots in the first period, the majority of which were on a power play.

Colby held possession for long periods of time, but mounted few quality scoring opportunities despite having 12 shots in the first period. Passes weren’t finding teammates for either team. Pucks were intercepted often and shots were often weak or off target.

Five minutes into the second period, a couple of Colby errors found Suffolk at center ice, on a power play, with a 1-0 lead.

Suffolk’s Max Barron snuck behind the Colby defense and retrieved a puck that was flipped high in the air by alternate Captain Tom Coulstring. Junior defensemen Jesse Lehman was able to catch Barron on the break and took him down. The two slid into goaltender Cody McKenney and the puck, without being shot, eased its way into the vacated goal.

Lehman received two minutes for tripping.

Colby answered a few minutes later when they capitalized on an odd man break. Wil Hartigan made a great pass off the boards, leaving a pinching Suffolk defender behind the play. Cory McGrath retrieved the puck, and the Mules were on a 3-1 break, crossing the offensive blue line. He sent the puck to the opposite side of the ice to Dan Nelson, who one-timed his shot past Suffolk goalie Jeff Rose.

Suffolk controlled the momentum of the game for the better half of the third period. They were fore-checking effectively and managed to keep possession of the puck in the offensive zone for multiple scoring opportunities for the first time in the game.

The momentum picked up from both sides as the ten minute mark passed in the third and both teams seemed to have a renewed energy. The first good scoring attempt in the period for Colby proved successful as defenseman Brendan Cosgrove made a sharp pass in between the circles to Cory McGrath, who passed on to Michel Smigelski for the score, giving the Colby a 3-1 lead.

Suffolk’s last desperation attempts were diminished by an elbowing penalty with 34 seconds left in the game.

Ben Chwick scored his first collegiate goal on an empty net just before the game horn sounded.

McKinney finished with 22 saves for the Mules and Suffolk’s Goalie-Captain Jeff Rose, made 25 stops.

Colby will play the U.S. Under-18 National Team at home Sunday and Suffolk plays Bowdoin College directly after.

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