October 21, 2004
Everyone Knows Colgate

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECACHL Notebook

As the defending ECACHL regular season champs, Steve Silverthorn and his Colgate mates won't sneak up on anyone.

This week's schedule
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Atlantic Hockey/CHA Notebook
CCHA Notebook
Hockey East Notebook
WCHA Notebook

The Colgate Raiders begin the 2004-05 season under a much different set of circumstances than those they faced at the same time last year.

Turning the clock back 12 months, the Raiders were a team with an interim coach, without a notable name on the roster, and predicted to finish in the bottom half of the ECAC Hockey League standings.

Anonymity prevailed in Hamilton, N.Y., and Colgate embraced its position among the game's also-rans. Unheralded players turned in all-league performances and the team rallied around stand-in coach Stan Moore to capture the ECACHL regular-season championship. With that success comes a change in standing in college hockey's caste system. Colgate finds itself ranked in the national polls and expected to make a run at another ECACHL title.

Don Vaughan is back behind the bench and his those previously unknown players have made names for themselves, including goaltender Steve Silverthorn, defenseman Mike Campaner, and forwards Jon Smyth and Adam Mitchell.

This time around the Raiders won't be sneaking up on any opponents.
Now, they're the team that other lesser-known teams will be looking to take down. It's a role that Colgate is embracing. Last year's success is a step toward bigger things.

"It's been different this year," said Darryl McKinnon, one of Raider tri-captains. "Last year we thought we could be a good team and were hoping to make a run. Now we know that we can go out and play with anybody."

Brimming with confidence and motivated by last year's near-miss in qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, Colgate is off to a perfect 4-0-0 start. Ties and losses early last year kept Colgate out of the NCAAs and the Raiders are making it a priority to not let any chances slip away this time around. They've started the year with series sweeps of CCHA opponents Ferris State and Lake Superior State.

"They've challenged themselves," Vaughan said. "They clearly want to win a championship and are disappointed with the way things finished last year. They've challenged themselves to be focused every week."

As Colgate heads into the season, things have certainly changed. But the experience, maturity, and confidence gained over the last 12 months could point to a similar ending – with the Raiders chasing an ECACHL title and NCAA tournament berth


Saints Tested Early – The St. Lawrence Saints travel to Orono, Maine, this weekend to face the Maine Black Bears. That's a daunting challenge for any team and one of the toughest road trips in college hockey, but don't be surprised to find out that the Saints are unfazed by the trip. They've already been there and done that.

SLU opened its season at the Ice Breaker in Durham, N.H. with a tie against St. Cloud State and a loss against host New Hampshire. Then, the Saints went to take on the top teams in the CCHA and knocked off Michigan State before losing to Michigan at Yost Ice Arena.

"Everybody on the team's believing right now," standout sophomore defenseman Drew Bagnall said. "Coach Marsh doesn't do this because he wants us to lose. He does it because he thinks we can win and so that we get into the postseason and we know what it takes to win in the playoffs."

Mike McKenna was named the ECACHL's Goalie of the Week after making
37 saves against Michigan State. He stopped 14 shots during Spartan power plays, as the Saints held Michigan State without a goal in 11 power-play chances.

The win over Michigan State wasn't without a dose of bad news as Bagnall suffered a knee injury in the third period. He missed the Saturday contest at Michigan, a 5-2 loss. Backup goaltender Kevin Ackley is also banged up and might miss the year and seek a medical redshirt.

Hitchcock Helps Princeton – Once the labor situation in the NHL is settled, wouldn't it be great if we could get all of the NHL players and coaches to write essays similar to those "What I did during my summer vacation" stories we wrote in elementary school? If we were to get our hands on such essays, the one crafted by Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock would include some anecdotes on helping the Princeton Tigers.

Hitchcock, a veteran NHL coach, has also coached at the international level and developed his reputation in coaching circles by heading the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League. His ties to Princeton come through new Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky, who has known Hitchcock through the years as both are natives of the Edmonton area.

When Hitchcock's calendar cleared up Gadowsky called his old friend to talk about hockey, and the two came to an agreement for Hitchcock to help out at Princeton. There was no word as to whether or not Hitchcock would share his coaching secrets on how to score important goals with a player's skate in the crease.


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Bowling Green at Union (Fri.-Sat.): The second year of Nate Leaman's tenure as Union's head coach began with a pair of 4-2 losses at Colorado College last week. Now, the Dutchmen are back at home and host CCHA foe Bowling Green in a matchup of two programs looking to continue their recent improvement.

While you're there: After the games, make the short drive from Schenectady to downtown Albany and visit the vast number of college-hockey friendly bars near Pepsi Arena. The Big House is one of INCH's favorite watering holes.

Stick Salute

Good job by Colgate and Rensselaer for getting off to fast starts this year. Colgate's perfect in four games. RPI bounced back from a season-opening loss to Merrimack with a tie and two wins, including Tuesday's 7-4 win at Northeastern.

Bench Minor

I know there's been plenty of talk on INCH about the ALCS, but here's another observation. Seeing the fans at Yankee Stadium throw all sorts of debris onto the playing field during Game 6 on Tuesday night reminded me of Lynah Rink.

• This weekend's schedule includes exhibition games for five of the six Ivy League members of the ECACHL. Brown is the only one of the Ivies not to have a game scheduled. They'll start on Oct. 29 against Harvard.

• Michigan State athletic director and St. Lawrence alum Ron Mason, he of the more than 900 wins as a Division I hockey coach, stopped by the Saints dressing room at Munn last week and wished the team well for the remainder of the season.

Clarkson (finally) picked up its first win of the year by defeating Wayne State 5-3 on Sunday. The Golden Knights lost their first three games of the year. In Sunday's win, Mac Faulkner scored twice in the third period as Clarkson came from behind to win. In the 19 Clarkson games in which Mac Faulkner has scored in his career, the Golden Knights are 17-0-2.

• In case you missed it, Harvard coach Ted Donato joined INCH for a chat Thursday at ESPN.com. Donato addressed the challenges he's facing as a new coach, spoke about some of his players, and his anticipation for the Beanpot later this year.

• There's no question that Vermont leads the league in one category – in-game promotions. When the Catamounts host Niagara this weekend, Friday is Student Appreciation Night and Saturday is Support Our Troops Night.

Colgate's 4-0-0 start is its best since beginning the 1990 season with a 4-0-1 mark.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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