The Colgate Scene
May 2000
Table of contents
The wrong ending
by John D. Hubbard

Senior goalie Shep Harder was a force in net
In the end a blown whistle -- and a blown call -- brought down the curtain on one of Colgate's finest hockey seasons.

     The Red Raiders had a 24-9-2 record, the second-most wins ever by a Colgate team. Finishing second in the ECAC, Colgate rebounded from a first-round tourney loss to RPI (coached by Dan Fridgen '82) to beat Cornell (and complete an unprecedented three-game sweep) in the consolation game, solidifying a place among the NCAA field of 12.

     Colgate was seeded fourth in the east and pitted against Michigan in an opening round game in Albany.

     As it had throughout the postseason, Colgate got off to a sluggish start, spotting the Wolverines a three-goal lead. Midway through the second period, just when the margin was beginning to seem overwhelming, senior goalie Shep Harder stonewalled a furious Michigan assault, inspiring his teammates with the series of saves. Colgate suddenly went medieval, but it was Michigan that took a costly penalty.

     ECAC Player-of-the-year Andy McDonald scored on the power play and notched his 25th goal of the year. Red Raider special teams had been among the nation's finest all season and it was fitting the road back began with a score from the unit that had an outrageous 25.8 percent success rate.

     Before the period ended, with Michigan on its heels, Colgate scored again on a power play (wing-er Darryl Campbell '00 from defense-man Cory Murphy '01) and the Red Raiders, who once seemed lost, now were found. They continued to carry the play to the Wolverines and there was maize and blue bouncing all over the Pepsi Arena.

A hook doesn't stop Darryl Campbell
     Despite the momentum shift, Colgate appeared to be running out of time. With only 48 seconds left in regulation Darryl Campbell fired home a dramatic tying goal that brought everyone who wasn't a Michigan fan to their feet. McDonald had carried the puck into the Michigan zone, through the defense and made the assist.

     Colgate continued to pressure Michigan in the overtime period. Finally junior Mike O'Malley made a rush pay off when he put the puck into the net. The referee waved off the goal, though, saying he had lost sight of the puck and had blown the whistle. Video replay was available but the ref from Hockey East refused to have the play reviewed. Michigan scored at 12:44 to end the game 4-3 but not the story. (The goal was scored by junior Geoff Koch, whose sister Katie will be attending Colgate and playing hockey next fall. They are the grand-nephew and -niece of Craig Rossi '54.)

     Nearly everyone, including the goal judge who had turned on the red light, agreed the puck had been in the net, and the prevailing attitude was that Colgate had been victimized by arrogant officiating -- shades of the infamous Red Raider football game with Rutgers on Thanksgiving 1976.

Sean Nolan, 13, and Andy McDonald meet at the goal as usual
     Michigan lost the next day to Maine after ECAC champs St. Lawrence prevailed against Boston University in quadruple overtime.

     The game continues to haunt Vaughan. "The incident was the talk of the NCAA tournament," said the coach. "There, anything remotely close to a goal was reviewed and every time officials went to the video tape the people around me said, `There's the Colgate rule.'"

     Despite the sleepless nights, Vaughan realizes his team had "a pretty great year. We're already looking forward to next season.

     "The players have started to realize that while the loss was disappointing, it doesn't diminish what they accomplished."

Top of page
Table of contents
<<Previous: "Sports" Next: "Stroke" >>