The men’s hockey team (3-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) has made winning games a lot easier. After the Red surprised skeptics who doubted its scoring ability by averaging five goals a game over its first three contests, the team defeated Union (3-2-1, 0-1-0 ECAC) on Friday evening at Lynah in its first ECAC match of the season, 5-0.
Junior defenseman Doug Murray had two goals and senior netminder Matt Underhill posted Cornell’s first shutout of the season.
Union, a team that had upset Cornell several times over the past few years behind three-year goaltender Brandon Snee, posed the first threat to the Red’s unblemished record. But instead of having one of his inspired performances, Snee was pulled from the pipes after Cornell’s fourth and Murray’s second goal, with four minutes in the second period.
Three seconds after Cornell killed a tripping penalty assessed to senior defenseman Brian McMeekin, sophomore right winger Ryan Vesce fed a pass to Murray who was playing the point all night. Murray’s slapshot went over Snee’s left shoulder and knocked him out of the game.
Underhill had no sympathy for his Dutchmen counterpart.
“He’s a great goalie,” he said about seeing Snee skate off the ice. “It feels good to do that to a goalie like him. I don’t feel bad.”
The game began with hard-hitting, physical play. However, neither team was able to generate good offensive chances. The Cornell forecheck kept Union shooting from the point and caused many turnovers. The Red fared better, having 15 shots on goal in the first period (Union had six), but still had trouble getting past Snee. It took the unlikely threat from the crash line of junior Shane Palahicky, senior David Francis and sophomore Greg Hornby to breakthrough the stalemate.
Freshman defenseman Charlie Cook fired a shot from just inside the blue line that was deflected by Hornby and then Palahicky, waiting outside the crease, in rapid succession to light the lamp with 1:08 left before the first intermission.
Union skated into the second period and immediately put more pressure Underhill. The momentum seemed to be shifting towards the Dutchmen when Charles Simard was called for holding, giving the nationally ranked Cornell power play its first appearance of the weekend.
And 15 seconds after the faceoff, junior captain Stephen B