On Saturday night at Lynah, Cornell’s two smallest players came up huge. Blake Gallagher, the Red’s 5-7 assistant captain, led the way with one goal and three assists, while Locke Jillson, a 5-9 sophomore winger, notched two goals and one assist to carry the Red (12-5-3, 9-2-2) to a 5-3 victory over Clarkson (5-18-3, 1-11-2).
In fact, no Red player taller than 5-11 scored in Saturday’s win, as freshman forwards John Esposito and Chris Moulson (5-10 and 5-11 respectively) registered the squad’s two other goals.
Cornell’s powerplay was the key to the team’s success, with three of the team’s five goals coming with the man advantage. Ben Scrivens made 18 saves on the night to earn the win.
The Red outshot the Golden Knights by a total of 42-21, a margin that Cornell head coach Mike Shafer ’86 attributed to his team’s desire to shoot at every possible opportunity.
“The powerplay carried us today, obviously,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “It got us back in the game. We’ve been so bad at shot selection, we were just bombing. But we really wanted to focus on getting shots to the net. Not just turn and whip it, but we wanted to get three or four passes then a shot. There were some guys who forced it … but we had to make them respect us shooting the puck to open things up underneath.”
However, the Golden Knights’ lead was short-lived. Less than four minutes after Pawlick’s goal, Jillson collected the puck along the boards in the attacking end, skated into the slot, and snapped a shot over the glove of Clarkson sophomore goalie Paul Karpowich.
“It felt like it took forever to get from the corner to the front of the net, but it was worth it when it happened,” Jillson said. “The goalie maybe got screened a little bit by his own defenseman. They didn’t clamp down like I thought they would with their high forwards so I had an opportunity to shoot it.”
The first period came to a close with the score knotted at 1-1, but the floodgates opened in the second period. Just one minute into the second frame, Jillson potted his second goal of the net. This time, the Red’s powerplay unit was cycling the puck around the Clarkson zone when Gallagher found senior defenseman Brendon Nash at the point. Nash then blasted a slapshot on net, forcing Karpowich to make the stick save. But the rebound came right out to Jillson who was waiting on the doorstep. Jillson made no mistake and buried the rebound into the gaping net, putting the Red up 2-1.
Just 3:32 later, Cornell was once again able to capitalize on a rebound opportunity. Junior defenseman Mike Devin wristed a shot on net from the slot, but Karpowich went down in butterfly position to deflect the shot away. Chris Moulson then picked up the rebound, skated to his right, and flicked a backhand over a sprawling Karpowich and into the back of the net. In giving his team a 3-1 lead, Moulson scored his first ever NCAA goal in just his third career game.
“I can’t even really remember what happened,” Moulson said. “It was a shot from the point … the puck was just sitting there and the next thing I knew I was on my stomach and the puck was in the net. I was trying to get up to celebrate but [Nick] D’Agostino was holding me back.”
All of the Cornell coaches and players were delighted by Moulson’s first goal.
“Moulson dove for that puck and slammed home that rebound,” Schafer said. “It was good to see him get that first goal.”
“I just want to say congrats to Moulson on burying that goal,” said Cornell sophomore Keir Ross. “That was awesome, we were all jacked up for him.”
Moulson hinted that some recent conversations with his brother, Matt Moulson ’06, who is currently playing with the New York Islanders, might have helped him in breaking through with his first goal.
“I talked to my brother before the game and he just said to shoot more pucks and be around the net more,” Moulson explained. “The one thing he always tells me is to do the extra things. Everyone on the team is going to work hard, but you have to be the guy who does the extra things and works hard when everyone else is taking a break. He always told me to remain positive, you’ll get your chance, and you’ll be great.”
Blake Gallgher pushed the Cornell lead up to 4-1 with a powerplay goal of his own at 8:08 of the second period.
Just over two minutes later during a Cornell powerplay, the Golden Knights were able to break out of their own end to create an odd man rush. Senior forward Matt Beca brought the puck across the Cornell blueline along the left boards and glided a pass over to Tim Marks who one-timed a shot past Scrivens’ glove, narrowing the lead to 4-2.
However, the Red soon pushed its lead back up to three when John Esposito notched another powerplay goal just 37 seconds later.
Midway through the third period, Clarkson scored another shorthanded goal when sophomore center Corey Tamblyn forced a turnover, escaped on a breakaway, made a couple of juke moves, then went to his backhand and wristed a shot over top of Scrivens’ blocker, narrowing the lead to 5-3.
While disappointed about allowing the shorthanded goals, Schafer focused more on his powerplay’s strong offensive performance.
“I just have to talk to the guys who made those mistakes,” Schafer said. “There were two decisions up there when we should have moved pucks but we didn’t. I’m not concerned with it at all. It happens. We have enough things to worry about. I’m more happy about the fact that we finally broke the goose-egg on the powerplay and got back into that mentality.”
With the 5-3 win, Cornell moved to the top of the ECAC standings. Blake Gallagher explained that his team knows it will have to continue to improve in order to remain in first place.
“It’s nice to be in first place but we have a lot of hockey left to play. We have some good teams left on the schedule, so we’re looking forward to it. It’s nice to be on top but it’s a lot tougher to stay there, so we have to prepare the same way we have the last couple of weeks.”
Original Author: Mitchell Drucker