March 31, 2003

McRae scores in double OT to lift Red past Eagles, 2-1

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Twenty-nine wins — that is the all-time Cornell record for wins in a season set in the 29-0-0 1969-70 campaign. It only seemed appropriate that the Red would break that record, notching its 30th victory in a 2-1 2OT victory over Boston College, sending the team to its first Frozen Four appearance in 23 years. Senior Matt McRae scored the gamewinner 1:09 into the second overtime to end the ninth-longest game in tournament history and advance the team to Buffalo, N.Y.

McRae intercepted a B.C. clearing attempt at the blueline and skated through the Eagle zone to the bottom of the right faceoff circle. From there he beat B.C. goaltender Matti Kaltiainen high glove side to end the NCAA quarterfinal game and send the Cornell team sprawling on the ice and onto McRae.

“The goalie was cheating farside. He stopped me with 11 seconds in the first overtime shooting to the other side, so I decided that it was time to change it up a bit and go nearside,” McRae explained.

The goal was only his fourth of the season, but by far the most important of his career and as a result was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional for the gamewinner. The win pits Cornell against the No. 1 seed from the Northeast Region, New Hampshire in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game.

When asked how this goal compares with others, McRae said, “Well, take my last greatest goal and times it by a billion. Definitely the biggest goal I’ve ever scored, and as I was telling the boys in the dressing room, ‘standard guys.’ But that was euphoric, it was amazing.”

Feelings of euphoria were contagious on the Cornell bench following the end of the game at the 81:09 mark.

“What a feeling I have,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Since last year, how disappointed these guys were losing the championship game last year to Harvard and then against UNH in this devastating loss. But it’s gone full circle for us. It’s been 365 days since we lost to UNH.”

Tight defense and goaltending marked the game as the goalies turned away three of the 63 total shots on goal and held all 11 power play chances scoreless. Good chances were few and far between, and either Cornell’s sophomore David LeNeveu or Kaltiainen took them away.

The Red had to dodge a bullet after two quick penalties on freshman Cam Abbott and Doug Murray at 7:00 put the Eagles on a 5-on-3. But the No. 1 penalty kill in the country held the Eagles No. 16 power play to six shots on six chances.

Cornell scored first when senior captain Stephen B