For only the second time in 96 meetings, 65 minutes of hockey couldn’t determine a winner Friday night as Cornell (11-8-5, 9-5-3 ECAC) and Dartmouth (11-10-3, 8-6-3) skated to a 1-1 tie at Lynah Rink.
Goaltending was the story for this game, as Cornell junior Matt Underhill and Dartmouth’s Nick Boucher combined for 49 saves and took home the number-one and number-two stars of the game, respectively.
Dartmouth raced out of the gate in the first period and kept a lackluster and seemingly uninspired Cornell team on its heels for nearly ten minutes. By the time the Red had regained its footing, it found itself in a 1-0 hole, courtesy of a wrist shot from Peter Mahler. While linemates Dan Casella and Michael Byrne were credited with the helpers, the biggest assist could go to the Cornell defense, as the puck hit defenseman junior Brian McMeekin and changed direction on its way to the back of the net.
“[McMeekin] went down to block it and he said it just caught his wrist,” Underhill said. “[The puck] changed direction and it knuckled.”
The goal seemed to ignite the previously dormant Cornell team as well as the sellout crowd. Cornell’s most experienced line seemed to ignite the spark, as trio of senior tri-captain Andrew McNiven, juniors Krzysztof Wieckowski and David Kozier began to get shots off at Boucher. The remainder of the period was spent with Cornell trying to attack the Dartmouth zone and the Green responding with attempts to break out odd-man rushes, though neither team was particularly successful.
If the story of the first period was Cornell’s lack of effort, the story of the second was just the opposite.
Showing the form that propelled it into the top-10 just two weeks ago, Cornell stormed out in the second period and dominated the stanza, as the Green had done in the first period. While Dartmouth went without a meaningful shot for the first 15 minutes of the period, Cornell unleashed shot after shot at the Green’s netminder. Boucher finally cracked at the 5:35 mark after a brilliant start to the period when he seemed to make a mistake. Kozier fired a shot from the left circle that appeared to go directly into Boucher’s body but somehow trickled through the bewildered keeper’s pads and into the goal. Wieckowski and McNiven got assists on the play.
Dartmouth continued to weather the storm that Cornell unleashed at it, and despite many close calls, Boucher’s solid play picked up whenever his defense could not clean up. Cornell continued to have trouble putting the puck home, having scored only six times in its last five games and twice in its last three.
“Obviously, goal scoring continues to plague us,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said. “We need to get people around the net and in front of the net, and get screens and tips and those kind of hard-working goals.”
The Green finally responded to the barrage late in the period, and ended up getting five or six quality chances on Underhill in the final few minutes of play. Underhill twice had to make tremendous stops as Dartmouth continued to try wraparounds on the goalie.
As exciting as the first two periods were, the third was a slugfest between the two physical teams. Tighter defense dominated the third, and only a few quality scoring chances emerged for either team. McMeekin saved a possible goal for Dartmouth when he fell on top of a puck that seemed destined for the back of the net after a Green wraparound chance.
Each team was awarded a power play in the period, but neither saw any meaningful opportunities as a result. Dartmouth finished 0-for-2 and Cornell finished 0-for-4 on the power play on the evening.
The overtime frame mirrored the third period, as both teams seemed content to skate away with the tie. Underhill was only called on twice in the final five minutes, Boucher just once.
Archived article by Charles Persons