Following 58:58 of lively, fast-paced hockey that Cornell thoroughly controlled, it was the last two ticks on the clock of Saturday night’s game against Colgate that seemed to span forever, unnerving both the Red’s bench and the traveling contingent that that had trooped north to Starr Rink in Hamilton for the occasion.
After sophomore forward Shane Palahicky had strode in all alone against an empty net and poked home a score with only one second remaining to up Cornell’s lead to 5-3, the referees promptly nullified the goal, much to the chagrin of Mike Schafer ’86 and his coaching staff. The explanation provided by the men in stripes was that a pair of off-setting penalties on the opposite end of the ice had occurred one second prior to Palahicky’s tally, thereby preempting it.
Despite bickering with the officials for several minutes, Schafer could not overturn the decision, and a face-off was assigned just to the right of Cornell goalie Matt Underhill with two seconds left, giving the Red Raiders one final chance to swipe away a victory from right under the Red’s nose, a victory that the visitors had seemingly already earned.
But as the face-off trickled towards Underhill’s goal mouth, Cornell senior defenseman and tri-captain Danny Powell pounced on it, stalling its progress and preserving the Red’s precious 4-3 win.
With its triumph over Colgate on Saturday (which followed a 2-2 draw against the Red Raiders on Thursday night at Lynah Rink), Cornell (8-5-4, 6-2-2 ECAC) has 14 points and owns second place in the conference, two points behind Harvard. The Red, however, has three games in hand over the Crimson, putting it in the driver’s seat for the ECAC regular season title and top-seeding for the playoffs.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position, with 12 games to go, to get the job done,” Schafer said.
In recent games, the Cornell power play has been firing on all cylinders, making a remarkable turnaround from its dismal performance earlier in the season. And it was no different on Saturday night.
Ironically enough though, Cornell’s scoring began during a man-down situation. After sophomore Stephen B