The last time Cornell beat Dartmouth was Nov. 20, 1998. The last time a Cornellian had a hat trick was Nov. 13, 1998. Both droughts were ended on Friday night as freshman Matt Moulson became the first player since David Kozier ’02 to score three goals to lead the Red over the Green 6-1 at Lynah.
Dartmouth (12-9-1, 8-7-0 ECAC) had owned Cornell (18-4-0, 13-2-0) for the last three and a half years, but the Green has also struggled on the road this year and was unable to match Cornell on either ends of the ice.
“It feels great, it’s been a real monkey on our back. Tonight it’s real nice to get a decisive victory,” senior defenseman Mark McRae said.
Before Friday night’s game, the team tried to focus on winning two more points within the conference, but after the final buzzer, the relief of beating the Green exuded from the Cornell locker room.
“The seniors were obviously happy to get it out the way, because they were tired of hearing about it,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said.
“I’m a senior and I want to know that we’ve beaten every team in the league at least once, so definitely, this is a little moral victory for our senior class,” McRae explained.
“Even coach jokes with us that before we got here, he was 9-0-1 against Dartmouth, and ever since we’ve got here he’s never won a game” he added.
Helped by an early slashing penalty to Dartmouth’s Hugh Jessiman, who led the conference in scoring at that point, Cornell was put on its power play seven seconds into the game. The Red took advantage with sophomore Ryan Vesce drawing first blood. McRae and senior Sam Paolini got the assists. It was the first time that the first unit had scored since playing Rensselaer on Jan. 18.
“We’ve been getting a lot of chances but just we haven’t really been putting them in so it’s nice for our power play to step up for us right away,” said McRae.
However, Cornell’s domination didn’t end with the power play, as it peppered Green goalie Nick Boucher with 18 shots in the period. A strong forecheck also kept Dartmouth from creating much offense.
“They are a talented defensive team so they’re pretty dangerous when they move the puck and jump into play. We were focused on getting on them quick, finishing our checks not letting them get up ice,” said Vesce.
Moulson scored his first goal of the game with about four minutes left, firing consecutive shots on goal. The third time was the charm as he caught Boucher out of position.
“He creates so much offense because he has such great patience and poise. It was great to see him break out tonight,” said Schafer.
Cornell kept up its pace in the second period when senior captain Doug Murray jumped into the play from the blueline to score his fourth goal on the season. Moulson got his second nine seconds after a Cornell power play had expired at 13:30. Sophomore Mike Knoepfli and freshman Daniel Pegoraro had assisted.
The Dartmouth offense which was able to get 11 shots on net in the first was limited to only five in the second period
Darren Gastrock replaced Boucher in the third period, a welcome sight to the Red which struggled against Boucher for the past four seasons.
“He’s definitely had our number, I can’t say he hasn’t,” McRae said of Boucher. “He’s done a great job against us for the last three and a half years so it was really nice to see him out of the net, actually. Really, really nice. It’s seemed like when we played him before he was making saves off his head, off his butt off of everything.”
Gastrock didn’t fare any better than Boucher as Cornell was able to score another pair in the period. The first one gave Moulson his first collegiate hat trick, and was the highlight of the game as he took a pass from Vesce down the left wing and beat two defenders before getting by Gastrock.
“Instincts kind of took over there and it got caught up in the guy’s legs and I was looking he was looking and luckily I came out with it and tried to put it on net and it got in there. It probably looked a lot better than I planned it to be,” he said.
Sophomore David LeNeveu, who has five shutouts on the season, was left one away from tying Ken Dryden’s ’69 record when Chris Snizek gave Dartmouth a late-game controversial goal. Whether LeNeveu was pushed or there was a high-stick infraction wasn’t clear.
“I just thought that it was a high stick, I just thought it was unfortunate for David to lose a shutout in that fashion. Things happen, things always seem to happen against Dartmouth,” Schafer said.
Murray was called for a 10-minute misconduct following the Dartmouth goal, as he tried to argue the call.
Freshman Chris Abbott finalized the scoring at 12:22.
The win allowed Cornell to keep pace with Harvard for first place in the ECAC with a game in hand. But it will be remembered as the game that broke the Dartmouth jinx.
“Just hearing the stories, you don’t want to hear them again, and I guess it’s finally time for someone to end it,” Moulson said. “I don’t want that streak going for my whole four years.”
Archived article by Amanda Angel