Raiders Top Lafayette to Clinch Patriot Tourney Berth

EASTON, Pa. All it took was one heck of a halftime speech to pave Colgate's way into the Patriot League Tournament.

Colgate exploded for four goals in the opening two minutes after intermission to spark a 10-goal second half that rallied the Raiders past Lafayette 14-10 here Saturday. With the victory, Colgate clinched its third straight Patriot League Tournament berth and eighth bid in the event's 10-year history.

Peter Baum scored three goals and provided the halftime bark that led to the Raiders' second-half bite.

"I was frustrated," said Baum, whose hat trick was No. 34 of his vaunted career. "I missed a shot or two early on that I thought I should have had, but overall I hadn't been too involved. And we had been turning the ball over too quickly and having trouble getting from offense to defense.

"At halftime, I kind of ripped into the guys and said this is not how we are going to go out. Something needed to change."

That something was the Fisher Stadium scoreboard, which read 5-4 Lafayette at the half but changed to 8-5 Raiders by the 13:03 mark of the third quarter. Baum tallied his first right before intermission, and then scored Colgate's first and third markers of the second half.

Baum now has team-highs of 33 goals and 45 points this season.

"We came out and got some quick ones," Baum said. "I wanted to be a little more aggressive and we shot it a little better in the second half. Obviously, 10 goals in the second half as opposed to four in the first half; we turned it on."

Lafayette rallied to forge an 8-8 tie later in the third, but Eric Foote and Brendon McCann picked up goals in the final 2:33 of the period to reestablish Colgate's lead heading to the fourth. Foote and McCann joined Baum on the hat-trick parade list as Colgate improved to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the Patriot League.

Just 36 seconds into the fourth quarter, Bobby Lawrence provided the eventual winning goal when he scored in transition from the midfield stripe. It was Lawrence's first goal of the season and third of the defenseman's career, but it wasn't planned.

"They were playing a 10-man ride where their goalie leaves the net to cover somebody," Lawrence said. "I was going to try and dodge a guy and find someone to pass to, but nobody came to me and I just decided to shoot it from the 50 (yard line)."

The junior's rifle-shot from about 130 feet out found nothing but net.

"I can't believe it went in, although I probably should work on celebrating better," Lawrence said with a laugh. "I was right there by our bench and just let them go crazy."

Lawrence also went nuts in the ground-ball column, grabbing a career-high eight of Colgate's 23 for the day and sparking the Raiders transition efforts on several occasions. The previous career best for Lawrence was seven ground balls last month at Cornell.

"Bobby was very good," Raiders head coach Mike Murphy said. "He struggled a little bit last week off the ground but came back with a vengeance. He sparked our transition on a couple of goals today."

Colgate forced 17 Lafayette turnovers while committing only 13.

"To see our transition game start to pick its spots a little bit was good for us," Murphy said. "We made a living on those last year and they've been few and far between this year. My hope is we can start to generate some more scoring opportunities in transition as we get into the Patriot League Tournament."

That four-team affair takes place April 26 and 28 at Lehigh, which defeated Bucknell 11-7 Friday night in Lewisburg, Pa., to clinch to No. 1 seed and hosting duties. Bucknell and Colgate have qualified, with the final berth decided next Saturday when Army visits Holy Cross.

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