April 11, 2003

Momentum Turns on Disallowed Goal

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — It all seemed to be going well for the men’s hockey team yesterday. Its NCAA semifinal game against New Hampshire began just how the team wanted. The nation’s best defense quickly generated much offense, peppering UNH goalie Mike Ayers with seven shots on goal. Then it broke through.

Sophomore defenseman Jeremy Downs took a shot from the left point where senior Shane Palahicky was able to deflect it into the net at 12:06. Or was he? Ayers told the referees that he thought the play ought to be reviewed.

Play stopped for several minutes as the video of Palahicky’s tip was analyzed. Members of both Cornell and UNH tried to stay loose while waiting for referee Don Adam’s call. After the lengthy wait, the goal was disallowed because of a ruled high stick, or that Palahicky’s stick was higher than four feet.

“I thought it was a high stick, I said my piece, I was relaxed, went to the ref and was fortunate to get the right call,” Ayers said.

Although the game was far from over, the disallowed goal might as well have been UNH’s most important play of the game. After outshooting the Wildcats 7-1 in the first 12 minutes, Cornell was outshot 10-0 through the rest of the period — one being Tim Horst’s goal at 14:21.

“That was the part when we needed a momentum shift,” said UNH’s Patrick Foley, “we weren’t playing the game we needed to, that was a momentum swing.”

Coincidently, last year it was the Red which felt that it was forced out of its game during the first 12 minutes of the NCAA quarterfinal against UNH. Coming into the Frozen Four head coach Mike Schafer ’86 stressed that the team embrace its style of play at the very beginning of the game.

It did. It was after the 12th minute that Cornell started letting UNH dictate the flow.

Senior captain Stephen B