Preseason All-American and senior midfielder Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) scored a hat trick in Saturday's season opener, but it wasn't enough to get the team's first-ever win over Colgate, falling to the Raiders, 7-4, in Hamilton, N.Y.
The Bulldogs (0-1) took an early 1-0 advantage and would take the lead again, 2-1, to open the second quarter, but a five-goal Colgate (1-0) run – including four straight to close out the first half – put the game too far out of reach for the Black and Gold in the 2014 debut.
Dunster got the scoring started five minutes into the contest, depositing a feed from sophomore Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.) beyond the reach of Colgate goalie Brandon Burke. The Bulldogs would play with the edge until the final two minutes of the stanza, when Raider Eric Foote broke through out of the midfield for his first of the year, assisted by Brendon McCann.
The 1-1 tie would hold into the second, until Morrell put the visitors back on top for the final time with 8:43 to play before the intermission. Morrell's score would come off a pass from junior middie Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.).
But the Raiders would even the score just 42 seconds later off Foote's second tally of the day (unassisted), and after four minutes of even play, Colgate netted another unassisted score, this one from Kevin Adams for a 3-2 lead. The tally was the first of three scores in the span of less than a minute, as Kevin Boyle and Ryan Walsh tacked on goals to send the hosts into halftime with a 5-2 advantage.
Walsh opened second-half scoring just three minutes into the third in unaided fashion, and while Dunster scored again 52 seconds into the fourth, Bryant wouldn't get back on the board until the final 70 seconds of the contest, when Dunster completed his hat trick on an unassisted goal to draw within two, 6-4.
"For us to really step up and get a tough non-conference road win, we needed our veteran guys to play well," said head coach Mike Pressler. "Colin really played hard. Only two guys scored today, though, and it's tough to win when only two offensive players score."
Walsh polished off a hat trick of his own with 30 ticks left in the contest, solidifying Colgate's 7-4 season-opening victory.
"We really battled hard today in conditions that weren't ideal," said Pressler. "I thought [sophomore goalie] Gunnar Waldt was exceptional in the goal, as he was the whole preseason, and our struggles continued to be at the offensive end. We had opportunities we didn't cash in on, cut it to 6-4 late in the game, and we just didn't make the plays to cut it to a one-goal game."
Bryant went 0-for-2 with the man-advantage but also managed to blank the Raiders on four extra-man attempts. Junior preseason All-American Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) finished the day 7-for-15 from the faceoff X, picking up a pair of ground balls. Senior captain Matt MacGrotty (New Westminster, British Columbia) paced the Black and Gold with four ground balls, forcing one caused turnover. Classmate and fellow captain JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) added a pair of caused turnovers for the visitors, who were outshot, 33-27, on the afternoon.
Colgate finished the day with 25 ground balls to Bryant's 22, led by six from Boyle. Alex Kinnealey went 8-of-15 from the X with a trio of ground balls, while Bobby Lawrence forced a pair of Bulldog giveaways.
Sophomore Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) made 11 stops between the pipes. Burke turned away nine for the Raiders. Seven rookies made their debut for Bryant in the outing, including attack Tucker James (Essex Fells, N.J.) and defenseman Kyle Mummau (Carlsbad, Calif.), who each earned a starting nod.
"Our freshmen played like freshmen at the offensive end, but I thought Kyle Mummau did a really nice job against No. 43 [Ryan Walsh]," said Pressler. "He had one of the most outstanding freshmen debuts I've seen in a long time, so we really give kudos to Kyle and his effort today."
The Bulldogs will look to tally a mark in the win column next Saturday, Feb. 15, when Bryant hosts Bucknell at the Turf Complex in the 2014 home opener (1 p.m.).