The Raiders were able to come back from a five-goal deficit in the second quarter to tie the game and take their first lead of the game in the final quarter. This was their first NCAA Tournament win and the first time in program history that they will advance to the Second Round where they will face Duke, which beat Syracuse earlier today.
Junior Peter Baum, a 2012 Tewaaraton Award Finalist, and freshman Ryan Walsh both had three points in the game off two goals and one assists apiece. They were followed by sophomore Brendon McCann, junior Matt Baker and senior Chris Zielinski who had two goals each while senior co-captain Jeff Ledwick also added two points from two helpers. Senior Patrick Campbell as well as freshmen Matt Clarkson and Conor Braddish also tallied one goal each in the game.
In the first period both teams came out playing a very quick game, moving the ball up and down the field as they tried to control the game. After a strong save by sophomore Conor Murphy in his first collegiate start, Colgate (14-3, 5-1 PL) got the first extra-man opportunity of the game off a 30- second pushing penalty on the Minutemen at the 12:26 mark, but was unable to get any solid shots off. Less than a minute after the penalty ended, UMass was able to cause a turnover, clear the ball and score the opening goal of the game at the 11:03 mark. The Minutemen continued to build on their offensive momentum, firing a series of shots on net but were denied by Murphy and, on one occasion, the post. A penalty on the Raiders then allowed UMass to score on its first extra-man advantage at the 8:41 mark, which it followed up with a second goal just over three minutes later to increase its lead to 3-0. Colgate continued to build its offense, coming close when Walsh powered past his defender, came around the crease, and took a one-handed shot on net but was denied by the goalie. As the period came to a close, the Raiders struggled to find their offensive rhythm until the 2:49 mark when Ledwick sent a quick pass to McCann, who then slipped it into the back of the net to reduce the score to 3-1 at the end of the first 15 minutes of play.
UMass (15-1, 6-0 CAA) started the second period similar to the first, scoring the first goal of the quarter to increase its lead to three goals just 43 seconds into play. Junior Robert Grabher then helped turn things around for Colgate, winning the faceoff and then dishing the ball over to Zielinski on his left who then fired the ball from down town into the top right corner of the net to reduce the score to 4-2. A pair of penalties on the Raiders then allowed the Minutemen to gain some momentum with three straight goals, one of which was a man-up, to increase their lead to 7-2 with 9:08 left on the clock. One of the penalties was on Murphy, putting senior Jared Madison in net during the penalty. The Raiders struggled to get their offense going again during this time and could not find a goal with Baker hitting the cross bar in the seventh minute, Walsh hitting the post and then Baum coming close in the final seconds of a man-up opportunity. However, an illegal body check on Baum from a UMass player after the Minutemen failed to clear the ball, then turned things around and led to Colgate stringing together a trio of goals at the 5:31, 4:58 and 2:53 marks to reduce the score to 7-5 going into half time. Baker scored the first goal during the extra-man opportunity off a pass from Ledwick. Thirty-three seconds later, Clarkson added the Raiders’ fourth goal off a jumping shot to put the score at 7-4. The rookie was then followed by classmate Walsh, who scored the team’s second man-up goal with help from Baum to put the game within two at half time.
The Raiders started the second half with a 19-second advantage on an extra-man opportunity that had carried over from the second period. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize, which then led to UMass finding the first goal of the period once again to improve their lead to 8-5 less than four minutes in. The early goal then propelled the Minutemen’s offense, which found a ninth goal at the 9:54 mark to increase the scoring margin to four goals. It was not until the final five minutes that the Raiders were able to come alive once again, similar to the second quarter, with four back-to-back goals from Braddish, McCann, Baum and then Baker to tie the game at 9-9 with just 37 seconds left in the quarter. Walsh had an assist in McCann’s goal. Six seconds after Baker scored, UMass responded with a tally after winning the faceoff to reclaim a 10-9 lead going into the final 15 minutes of play.
The final quarter was all about Colgate this time around. After an aggressive start to the period, with both teams battling it out on the field, the Raiders got on the scoreboard first with a goal from Campbell to balance the score at 10-10 at the 10:25 mark. This was his first goal of the season. Feeling the pressure, the Minutemen responded with a tally of their own two minutes and 20 seconds later to steal back an 11-10 lead. However, this proved to be their last lead of the game with the Raiders scoring two goals in the seventh minute first from Walsh and then from Zielinski to claim their first lead of the game, 12-11. Colgate then continued to put pressure on UMass’ net and then, after a timeout, found a 13th goal from Baum at the 3:53 mark to eventually secure the 13-11 win.
Sophomore Conor Murphy had a stellar performance in net for the Raiders with 15 saves in the game while Tim McCormack had 13 for UMass. Both teams went 2-for-5 in their extra-an opportunities. The Minutemen held a 29-19 advantage in the groundball battle.
Colgate will travel to Chester, Pa. where it will face No. 3 seed Duke at PPL Park on Sunday, May 20 at a time yet to be determined.