February 4, 2002

Paolini shines in Cornell's 6-3 victory

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It’s not exaggerating any to say that the Cornell-Harvard men’s hockey game on Friday night had a little bit of everything. A hat trick that wasn’t. One hundred and thirty-four penalty minutes. Ten players escorted off the ice for fighting. Two waved-off goals. A Harvard coach who became so livid at one point that he angrily jettisoned a stick onto the ice. A deafening decibel level in Lynah. Cornell President Hunter Rawlings III, who may very well have proved himself to be the most boisterous fan in the Faithful. Oh, and of course, the fish — thanks to some leniency from the police, more fish flew onto the ice than has been seen in recent memory.

“That was the most exciting game I’ve ever played in by far,” said senior goaltender Matt Underhill, who’s seen a bundle of hell-razing games during in his career.

“It was so electric out there,” added junior Shane Palahicky. “In my three years, I haven’t ever seen anything like it.”

For all the hoopla on the ice, however, all that mattered was what the scoreboard read at the far end of the rink when time ran out: 6-3 Cornell, a win that cushions the Red’s lead in the ECAC and fulfills a vendetta that Cornell has had since losing to the Crimson in overtime last November.

“There was a lot at stake here,” commented Mike Schafer ’86. “It was more than about the rivalry.”

“It’s a huge win as far as the league goes. As long as we keep winning, we control our own destiny,” Underhill said. Following its win over Harvard, Cornell (15-5-1, 11-2-1 ECAC) stood first in the ECAC, three points over the Crimson (9-8-3, 8-5-2 ECAC).

Things began to turn exceedingly odd after junior Sam Paolini —