Thanks to a stifling penalty kill and yet another goal from junior forward Anthony Angello, Cornell men’s hockey clinched the program’s 22nd Ivy League title on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Dartmouth.
The win, paired with Clarkson’s tie with Brown, means the Red is now in sole possession of first place in the ECAC.
A back-and-forth affair saw the Red (18-2-1, 12-1-1 ECAC) and Dartmouth (8-11-2, 6-7-1) enter the second period all knotted up at one. Two Dartmouth power plays in immediate succession looked like a momentum shifter for the host Green, which entered the contest with recent wins against top-five teams Denver and Clarkson.
But the two shorthanded opportunities ended up propelling Cornell to victory and extending the Red’s unbeaten streak to 10 games. After keeping Dartmouth in check after a holding penalty on senior captain Alex Rauter, the Red went right back to the kill after a penalty on freshman forward Morgan Barron, but earned a shorthanded scoring chance and a power play of its own when freshman forward Kyle Betts was dragged down on a drive to the net.
With its 4-for-4 showing, the Cornell penalty kill improved to 64-for-75 on the season and has not surrendered a goal since Jan. 5. The Red went 3-for-3 on the kill in its 3-0 win over Harvard Friday.
Angello needed only seven seconds of four-on-four hockey in the second period to net his tenth goal in as many games to give his team a lead it couldn’t relinquish. The junior was able to notch the goal after winning a faceoff in the offensive zone before getting a feed from junior defenseman Matt Nuttle in the slot and burying a shot past Dartmouth goaltender Devin Buffalo to make it 2-1.
The first period saw the Red get off to a hot start, as freshman forward Cam Donaldson buried his third goal of the season two minutes into the contest off a beautiful feed from sophomore defenseman Yanni Kaldis. With the goal, Cornell has now scored first in 18 of its 21 contests.
The Donaldson goal was the first of several chances for the Barron-Trevor Yates-Donaldson line that has struggled in its last couple games.
“Donny hit a post, Morgan hit a post, [Yates] hit a post. They didn’t have an even-strength scoring chance [Friday],” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “[I] met with them this morning and said they got to pull their weight. I thought they came out and they played hard tonight.”
“We’ve been not too happy with our performances,” Yates said of his line. “We haven’t been creating as many chances. Tonight we got back to the simple things, worked hard, made a couple nice plays and got a bunch of chances.
The Green was able to answer at 6:45 into the first, when Tim Shoup ended freshman Matt Galajda’ shutout streak at 227 minutes and 11 seconds — the 13th-longest in NCAA Division I history. The goalie ended the night with 27 saves in the victory.
“We definitely were like, you know, Matty’s not going to save every puck this season. I was particularly proud of how Matty handled it,” Yates said. “Good job for him to get refocused after that one went in and make a ton of great saves to help us get two points tonight.”
Save for the 4-on-4 goal 10:34 into the second, the contest was a largely back-and-forth affair. Cornell’s nation-best defense, allowing only a goal and a half per game, clamped down on Dartmouth in the second and third periods, forcing Galajda to make just a handful of key stops.
Sophomore forward Noah Bauld iced the victory with an empty net goal in the waning minutes — the third empty netter for the Red this season and the second in two games.
The Red will return home to Lynah next weekend for contests against Union and RPI.