Friday night the Brown University Bears hosted the Colgate University Raiders in an ECAC Hockey Conference game. What makes this meeting interesting is that in a week these two teams will once again stare at each other over the puck, this time in Belfast, Ireland, as they compete in the semifinals of the first ever Friendship Four Tournament. They are two of the four teams competing; the other two being the Northeastern University Huskies and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks from the Hockey East Conference. The four-game tournament will culminate in the awarding of the Belpot Trophy to the champion.
Hockey players have long memories, at least when it comes to what happens on the ice, and as such these two will remember Friday night’s game vividly when they face each other again next Friday, November 27. It will be interesting to see what animosity carries over from the first game, as often happens.
The first period saw the Bears struggling to stay out of the penalty box as it was almost a revolving door, with four players sitting for five different penalties: Max Gottlieb (hooking), Tommy Marchin (High sticking and then cross-checking), Charlie Corcoran (interference), Alex Brink (charging). In addition to being outshot at 17 to 3, they were also outmatched in the face off dot, where Colgate won 16 of the 21 draws. Despite the numbers being completely against Brown, they somehow managed to limit the Raiders to just one goal as the horn sounded on the first twenty.
The second period saw Brown starting down a man, as Marchin’s cross-checking penalty carried over the intermission, for the first 49 seconds. Once they killed that penalty, they seemed to be a completely different team, making efforts to get the puck into the offensive zone and on net, while remaining out of the penalty box. Brown would get their second power play of the game, when Colgate’s Tylor Spink was whistled for slashing at 5:37 of the second.
Much of the power play was spent in the offensive zone cycling the puck and keeping Colgate moving to try and block all possible chances. It was solid offensive zone time for the Bears for almost 1:20 of the penalty before the Raiders were able to make the clear. However Brown came right back in and were able to capitalize on the man advantage with just three seconds remaining of the power play. Nick Lappin, the ECAC Player of the Week for this week, got Brown on the board and tied the game.
Brown followed this strong power play with an equally strong penalty kill when Brink was again whistled for a penalty, this time for holding just 1:19 after the goal. Fortunately for Brown this was their only penalty in the second period. While they were still outmanned on the draw, the Bears were able to get an impressive 14 shots on goal and limited Colgate to just six in the second period.
The third period saw a slightly more even playing field in both the shots on goal, with Brown just edging out Colgate 13-11. Brown also improved in the face off circle to win nine, while Colgate won ten. And unlike the penalty ridden first, the third period saw not a single player on either team whistled for an infraction. However, as the clock began to tick down, Colgate began to ramp up their attack in the offensive zone requiring Brown’s players to block shots and Brown’s goalie, Tim Ernst to make some key saves to keep the score knotted at one.
Ultimately the game went to overtime. For the Bears this was the third straight game that had required an overtime period and they were 1-0-1 in the prior two. Colgate absolutely dominated the five-minute extra inning, peppering seven shots on Ernst, who was stellar between the pipes and ensured that his Bears would at least get out of the game with the tie.
There was some pushing and shoving throughout the game and if the teams play along similar styles during their tilt in Belfast, it could prove to be an eventful game. Like any tournament, the game will not end in a tie, so it could prove to be extremely entertaining.
The Friendship Four Tournament will take place at SSE Arena, home to the Belfast Giants and will be broadcast on TSN in Canada and on NESN (Friday) and NESN Plus (Saturday) and is a great opportunity for these two teams. The Pink Puck will be in Belfast to cover the tournament as well.