January 29, 2012

M. HOCKEY | Cornell Saddled with Second Straight Loss to Colgate due to Weak Third Period Play

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HAMILTON, N.Y. — In Saturday’s contest, the Red (11-6-4, 8-3-3 ECAC Hockey) was able to get out in front early, entering the middle of the second period with a 3-1 lead over Colgate (14-9-3, 8-5-1). The squad showed signs of playing together again as demonstrated by a set play by sophomore defender Brandon Birch giving the offense time to change two minutes into the middle frame and a no-look pass by freshman winger Joel Lowry in the cycle.

The Red continued to meet the challenge of its speedy opponents on both sides of the ice through the end of the second; senior winger Locke Jillson had Colgates’ sophomore goalie Eric Mihalik beat at the 18-minute mark and D’Agostino prevented a goal by catching a slap shot between his legs and holding the puck there until he skated away from pressure.  Mihalik made 18 saves on the knight compared to Iles’ 21.

While the Colgate student fans remained seated for the majority of Saturday’s contest, by the end of the third period they were all on their feet. A dangerous pass through the slot by one of the Red’s freshman defenders gave the Raiders the transition they needed to catch up.  Wilson knocked that one in unassisted, followed by a clean goal at 6:19 from Smith who was left unattended in the back of the slot.

A tripping penalty on freshman winger Madison Dias bringing down Smith resulted in a fourth Colgate goal, giving the Raiders the lead. A hail mary into the Red’s open net from behind the Raider goal line in the final minute guaranteed Cornell’s loss. The small piles of ice near the posts that Mihalik made with his skates before every period succeeded in keeping Cornell pucks out in the final frame.

“Not in the third period we weren’t,” Schafer said when asked if his team was back to playing Cornell hockey. “That’s two bad third periods in a row for us, last night and tonight.”

The Red’s twin losses were caused in part by several goals scored on odd man rushes against Iles.

“It’s easy to look at us and say we played really poorly in the third period, but you’ve got to look at some of their big time players who made big time plays in order to win the hockey game tonight,” Schafer said.

The Cornell coaching staff reviews Friday game film with players even when the opponent changes between nights explained senior captain Keir Ross.

“They found a way to put pucks in the net when weren’t doing the things we needed to do, like stay out of the box,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but it is something we can correct.”

Every point earned on Saturday was the result of a power play.

Cornell has been replaced by Union as the league leader after the Dutchmen earned two wins over the weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The Red is due to face off against RPI and Union next weekend as it continues it’s tour of New York state rivals.

Original Author: Rob Moore

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