Colgate vs. Bucknell
April 20, 2013
The Game Story:
HAMILTON – Four straight goals to open the second half – for the second week in a row, no less – weren't enough this time as 15th-ranked Bucknell posted a 13-8 victory over Colgate here Saturday.

Senior Day festivities prior to face-off had the Raiders and their fans looking forward to the home finale for 10 team members. But the visiting Bison delivered the last punch in a back-and-forth affair to clinch the second seed at next weekend's Patriot League Tournament.

Colgate is seeded fourth and plays Lehigh in Friday's second semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Bucknell takes on Army in the Friday opener at 4:30 p.m. Sunday's championship game takes place at 3 p.m. All three games are being televised on the CBS Sports Network.

“Obviously with it being Senior Day, we wanted to go out with our last game on Andy Kerr as a victory – especially against Bucknell,” senior captain James Queeney said. “Things just didn't go our way. We just let them get too many easy ones down the stretch and turned the ball over a little too much.”

Colgate, now 8-5 overall and 3-3 in the Patriot League, turned a 5-3 halftime deficit into a 7-5 lead on goals by Brendon McCann, Eric Foote, McCann again and Matt Clarkson. Last Saturday, Colgate rallied from a 5-4 halftime hole by scoring four straight en route to a 14-10 victory.

Change Works This Time
The Clarkson tally with 7:07 left in the third quarter resulted in Bucknell changing goalkeepers from Kyle Feeney to Sam Grinberg. Bucknell head coach Frank Fedorjaka tried that same move last year at Andy Kerr Stadium during the Patriot League Tournament semifinals, and Grinberg allowed three more goals in a 14-9 Raiders win.

This time, the move worked to perfection as Grinberg permitted only one Colgate score over the final 22:07 while making six saves for his first decision of the season. The Bucknell offense, meanwhile, rallied to score seven of the final eight goals after the switch in net.

“We had success against their backup last year; I think it was the same guy,” senior captain Peter Baum said. “When a goaltender steals a few it can really kill your momentum. Today they sort of built off that and got rolling.

“The effort was great today; we just didn't execute down the stretch.”

Raiders head coach Mike Murphy mirrored Baum's assessment.

“I'm proud of the effort of my team,” Murphy said. “We did a good job of scrapping. We're down two at the start of the third and come roaring out. Our guys were resilient; they did a good job of working at it.

“But you've got to give credit to their goalies. They made some good saves. I don't know that we took particularly good shots when they changed goalies, but No. 1 (Grinberg) did a great job of saving the balls when he needed to.”

Conor Keeps It Close
Bucknell, now 11-3 and 5-1, broke fast from the gate to post a 4-2 first-quarter lead. The Bison outshot Colgate 12-3 in the period, and Raiders goalkeeper Conor Murphy corralled six big saves to keep the home side close.

Ryan Walsh scored both Colgate goals in those first 15 minutes en route to his seventh hat trick of the season. Saturday also marked the sophomore's 29th consecutive game with at least one goal scored.

Matt Baker scored on a Walsh assist with 11:33 remaining in the second to slice the lead to 4-3. And that's where it looked like the half would end before Bucknell's Kyle O'Keefe scored his first goal of the year in the last split-second before the halftime horn sounded.

But instead of moping around the locker room, Colgate simply gathered itself and then followed the same plan as the week before at Lafayette.

“We came out in the start of the second half very well; it was like at Lafayette,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, we weren't able to get some stops down the stretch.”

After Colgate grabbed the 7-5 advantage, Bucknell rallied to tie before Walsh scored his third of the day with 3:55 left in the third quarter. But another late Bison push resulted in two orange-clad goals in the period's final 49 seconds to make it 9-8 Bucknell heading to the fourth.

Ground Balls the Game
And the final period was all Bison as Colgate was held scoreless in a quarter for just the third time this season (first periods against both Cornell and Army). Ground balls in the period were 12-6 in favor of Bucknell, part of a 41-29 Bison advantage in that department for the game.

“It comes down to ground balls,” Murphy said. “They were able to extend possessions and we weren't able to do that. And when your offense doesn't have the ball, it's tough to score.

“I said to the team that we had to win the ground-ball battle and we got really worked on the ground balls. It allowed them to have extra possessions offensively.”

Clears also hurt the Raiders in the second half. Colgate was a perfect 10-of-10 in the first half and just 7-of-10 after intermission. Bucknell cleared 19 of its 23 attempts.

“We did a really good job in the clearing game early, and then just had a couple of failed clears at inopportune times that gave them extra possessions and resulted in goals,” Murphy said. “They scored in the situations when they needed to, so credit goes to Bucknell.”

In addition to Walsh's four-point game, McCann and Foote finished with three points apiece. Bobby Lawrence grabbed five ground balls and forced two turnovers, while Queeney, Clarkson and Baum added three ground balls each.

Sean Doyle led the Bison with four goals and one assist.

“Tough way to end your career at Andy Kerr,” Baum said. “A lot of great memories there. But today didn't go our way and that's the way sports go. It meant a lot to get that last game here and have my family here.”

Chances for Revenge
Next up for Colgate is the Patriot League Tournament, which starts Friday at Bethlehem. Including Friday's game against Lehigh, the Raiders will be facing any combination of the three teams that defeated them during the conference regular season.

“What matters is next weekend and the Patriot League Tournament,” Queeney said. “Absolutely we have some venom for all three of the teams coming in and we also know we can beat anybody in this tournament.

“We haven't done it in the regular season – we haven't strung together our best games – but all it takes is two games this weekend. We have the goal ahead of us that we still want.”

Baum, who was held Saturday to six shots and one assist, agreed with Queeney on the venom part.

“Really, it's put-up-or-shut-up time and everybody will be focused,” he said. “We've got three teams that have beaten us already this season, so we'll be excited coming out to practice on Monday.”

Murphy also has a good feeling about the upcoming weekend despite Saturday's setback.

“When you go into this tournament, everybody's 0-0,” he said. “Yeah, I get it – Lehigh's hosting and they're the No. 1 seed. But you still have to play the game, and we've got a resilient group. We'll get back after it Monday at practice and get ready for whomever we've got to face.”