For an in-depth, play-by-play recap of the tie with Yale, click here.
It’s been an unusual week for the Cornell men’s hockey team. It started off when the team played an atypical Tuesday night game against Colgate, and continued after winter storms delayed both of this weekend’s games. Despite the delays and hectic schedules, the Red played in front of a sold-out, energetic crowd at Lynah Saturday.
The last two times the Red played Ivy League opponents at home, the team started off with strong 40 minute showings, but had two third period collapses, which let two crucial games slip away. The Red was hoping that tonight’s game against Yale would paint a story with a similar beginning, but a different ending.
The Red (15-6-3, 10-4-3 ECAC) had a strong first period and came out of the gates firing. Cornell outshot Yale (10-9-5, 6-7-4) 12-9 in the first frame. Sophomore forward Anthony Angello scored his eighth goal of the season at the 6:12 point of the period, with assists from senior forward Jeff Kubiak and sophomore forward Beau Starrett. Kubiak and Angello both recorded another point when assists from Angello and sophomore defender Trent Shore led to a Kubiak goal, giving the Red a 2-0 leading into the first intermission.
Cornell had a golden opportunity to extend the lead to 3-0 when junior forward Trevor Yates was awarded a penalty shot after Yale was called for hooking. The shot went high and missed, but the Red still had all the momentum.
Lynah was energized, and it was clear that Yale was frustrated. Yale could not get anything going offensively, and was not helped by recording three penalties in the meantime. The Bulldogs were getting chippy with Red players, and after Yale’s Evan Smith was sent to the box for cross-checking, he slammed the door, capturing the team’s mood.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t go away quietly, though, and at the beginning of the second period, the game’s tide changed.
Yale’s Ted Hart matched Angello’s season goal mark, scoring his eighth goal of the season at the 8:02 mark of the second period and cutting the Red’s lead to 2-1. Senior goaltender Mitch Gillam blocked Hart’s initial shot, but a few unlucky bounces led the puck into the net.
“It was a two-on-one, our [defenseman] slid, and [Hart] just shot it right past my ear,” Gillam said. “I got a piece of it with my glove, and it bounced down and he got a whack at it, and I got the second rebound with my pad, and he just whacked it in I guess — I don’t know after that.”
Yale outshot Cornell 13-7 in the second period, but Cornell headed into the third period holding on to a one-goal lead.
Both teams came into the final period of regulation with quality scoring chances, but the performance from each goaltender proved to be crucial for both teams, as Gillam and Yale’s sophomore goaltender both made incredible plays to keep the score 2-1.
Cornell was grasping to the one goal lead and had all of Lynah on the edge of its seats. However, with just under five minutes to go in regulation, Hart came back with his second goal of the night to tie the score 2-2. Cornell couldn’t answer, and the game went into overtime.
Cornell had not scored an overtime goal all season, and the trend continued Saturday, as the game finished in a 2-2 tie. The Red settled for a disappointing tie, leaving players and coaches upset.
“I told [the team] I was pissed off,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We stopped working, they raised their level of intensity and we didn’t raise ours. It was the work ethic — I thought our wingers were awful tonight, I thought our defense was awful, we just didn’t respond very well tonight.”
The team acknowledged the major difference in play between the first two periods of play and put the blame on themselves.
“I think it just got to our heads that we were up two,” Gillam said. “We just got complacent, we started making cute plays, and we can’t play like that — we don’t have enough skill to do those plays.”
Despite tonight’s effort, the team knows it has to come back to take on a hard-working Brown team.
“It’s a quick turnaround here, so I think we have to have a short memory, learn from this and move on,” Angello said. “Brown’s a good team — they gave us a run for our money at their place, so I think we got to come, stick to the process, understand what coach wants us to do, and play for 60 minutes.”
The team is confident that it can, and will, learn from its mistakes.
“It’s been one too many times we’ve had to learn this lesson, and I think this one’s going to be our last,” Angello added.
The Red will take on Brown at Lynah at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.