Proving the Point
Colgate Goaltender Turning Heads with Hot Start
Colton Point had little chance to showcase his talents for Colgate in his freshman year, but knew his chance would come.
Fast forward a year and the Dallas Stars' fifth-round pick has turned some heads. He has also helped to give a Colgate team expected to struggle, the confidence to help the team to a good start.
Point struggled to get time behind wily veteran Charlie Finn last season, but an illness that sidelined Point for a month and a half didn't help.
"I wasn't even skating for nine weeks because of that," Point said. "I had never really dealt with a long-term injury before, which took a lot of learning and patience. It taught me a lesson that sometimes stuff happens and you just have to deal with it."
It was also a defining moment for the young goaltender, who knew he had the talent to be competing at the high level of college hockey.
"He had a great summer and he is a big body," Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. "He would have played more games last year if he didn't get sick. He got back behind the eight-ball. He has a ton of confidence and went to the Stars development camp. He has also been working on his body and getting himself fit. He really wants it and really wants to play.
"The sickness took its toll on him. We knew he had it in him to come out and have a great season. It was just up to him to take the chance and he has done that."
Point worked his way back, got back to full fitness and with the Raiders struggling to one of its worst seasons in recent memory, got his chance to prove his talents. In limited time, the freshman went 2-5-2 in nine starts, had a 2.45 GAA and a decent save percentage of .918.
"It took basically all of last year and all of the summer to get back to where I was before. I finally feel I am there," Point said.
Of course, having an experienced goalie like Finn is never a bad thing for a freshman to feed off of.
"It really helped having him around," Point said. "He really showed the type of focus I needed to bring every game. When someone like that is saying something and trying to help, I knew I should listen."
Back with a new lease on his Colgate career, he fought hard in the build-up to this season and the work has seemingly paid off.
"I came back and it took me a while to find my groove," said Point. "I ended the season pretty hot and just wanted to prove to the coaches I deserved the starting role and that I would be the best option for this year."
Point has been the best goalie in the country in the first month of the year.
"Basically, the team has done pretty well defensively and have not let up very many great chances," said Point. "They have been clearing the lanes and I have been able to see pucks all the way in, which makes my job a lot easier. It is usually a team effort when you see stats like I have and we are just trying send a message to the league."
Point is undefeated at 4-0-4, has a 1.08 GAA and a .965 save percentage. For someone that was hardly on the radar of most pundits in the early going, Point is certainly there now.
"The biggest difference for us has been our defense and Colton has been very good when we have needed him to be," said Vaughan. "The defense has been markedly better, although I feel we aren't where we need to be possessing the puck. There has been many times we have given up possession and (Point) has been there for us."
He missed a pair of games against New Hampshire early in the season and the Raiders lost both games giving up 10 goals in the process. In his eight games, Point has given up just nine goals.
Over the weekend, Point and a revitalized Colgate defense keyed a three-point ECAC road weekend. On Friday, he made 43 saves in a shutout, 0-0 draw, against a talented Princeton team. On Saturday, an impressive 4-1 win against Quinnipiac put him and his team on the league radar. Point made 33 saves and gave up just a lone goal on 76 shots during the weekend.
"I felt last weekend was our best as a team," he said. "Princeton moved the puck well but most of their shots were from the point and the same with Quinnipiac. I am seeing everything and that makes it easier for me to make the save."
After a 9-22-6 season last year, the Raiders didn't have much in the way of expectations. They were picked 11th in the ECAC preseason coaches poll and 12th in the media poll. According to Point, this has been a driving factor for the Raiders to become better.
"Coming into the year, we felt we were severely underrated," said Point. "That pushed us to become better because we didn't feel we were a 12th place team. That lit a fire under us."
Goaltenders can often bring confidence to their teams and it certainly seems that is the case for the Raiders.
At 6-foot-4, 219 pounds Point is a modern day goalie that is set up for future success. His draft status says just that, and the way he covers the net is impressive. But there is also a speed to his game that is making him successful.
"The thing that impresses me is how quickly he got up for such a big man like he is," Vaughan said. "That is a direct result of how hard he worked in the summer to get fit."