With Cornell’s season on the brink, the men’s hockey team shocked No. 1 Quinnipiac, 5-4, in the second game of the best-of-three series, forcing game three on Sunday afternoon.
After the first game, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 noted how he liked the resiliency he saw in the men when they were down.
That’s just what he got again in the second game as well. Cornell never led until Trevor Yates sunk the game winner with just over five minutes played in the third. After that, junior goalie Mitch Gillam played like a wall and did not allow the Bobcats squad to equalize.
Schafer also noted how he planned on making some changes to the lineup after the loss in game one. And who more fitting than sophomore forward Dwyer Tschantz, an addition to the game two lineup, to record the primary assist on Yates’s game winner.
“Our team showed a lot of heart and soul coming back tonight in the game being down 2-0, then 2-1,” Schafer said. “Then [Quinnipiac] gets a 5-on-3 and we have to kill that, so it was a lot of accolades for our guys as far as their character and work ethic. They competed tonight. I didn’t think we competed well last night.”
A general consensus among them team, the work ethic was the difference-maker in salvaging the win in Hamden.
“We just put in a lot more effort tonight,” Gillam said. “We had spurts of greatness last night and tonight we just worked the whole 60 minutes rather than 10 minutes here, then take off. We were feeding off everyone’s intensity on the bench and I feel like we were just working hard the entire game.”
Just like in game one, penalties plagued the Cornell squad, surmounting a total of five penalties for the second straight night.
“I thought it got away on us,” Schafer said. “I thought we played a really good first period. Didn’t give a shot for 14 to 15 minutes.”
Despite the solid defense, the Bobcats were able to sneak in two goals late in the period, placing the Red in a 2-0 hole, an insurmountable advantage for many teams.
Yet while Quinnipiac held the lead for a majority of the game, Gillam noted how he had to remain unfazed and get back in the right mindset.
“They had some great shots,” he said. “I just had to battle back in my mindset and say to myself to start fresh. When we tied it up, then went down, then tied it back up I was just like ‘it’s a fresh start, and keep the momentum of our team.’”
Perhaps the story of the game for Cornell was the team’s ability to limit Quinnipiac’s shot total. Just a day after giving up 41 shots, the Red held the Bobcats to 28, making Gillam’s night in net that much easier to deal with.
“I thought we battled hard and blocked a lot of shots,” Gillam said. “The guys played really great in front of me and made my job a little bit easier.”
While the team can temporarily celebrate the win over the Bobcats, they know they have to get right back to work the next day.
“I thought we did some good things in that first period and came back and had a really strong second period; that’s a month for us in scoring,” Schafer said. “A big goal obviously in the third period. Halfway there and it will be a great college game tomorrow night.”