November 24, 2003

Icers Left Waiting for Home Win

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Cornell hockey fans are used to seeing strong goaltending at Lynah Rink. It’s just usually on the home end of the ice. Friday night was different, however, as Bowling Green goaltender Jordan Sigalet turned out a 36-save effort to earn the Falcons a 1-1 tie against No. 11 Cornell.

Bowling Green (3-5-4, 2-4-2 CCHA) grabbed the lead from Cornell (3-1-3, 3-0-1 Ivy) at 1:53 as it capitalized on a power play situation. The Falcons engineered a breakaway from their own end as Taylor Christie caught a pass from D’Arcy McConvey and took it deep into Cornell territory. Christie faked a shot, drawing both of Cornell’s defenders. He then passed to teammate Steve Brudzewski who flicked a quick wrister past Cornell freshman goaltender David McKee for the game’s first goal.

“They were really good on transition first period,” said sophomore forward Cam Abbot. “They were turning the puck back on us quite a bit, and we had a couple of turnovers that cost us.”

Senior captain Ryan Vesce agreed with Abbott, citing a defensive breakdown as the reason for the Falcons’ first goal.

“The reason they went up early was a mistake on the penalty kill,” he said.

Cornell had three first-period power play opportunities of its own, but failed to capitalize. The first came just minutes after the Bowling Green goal as freshman Dan Glover was tripped up by the Falcons’ Alex Rogosheske. Broken passes and a strong Bowling Green defense prevented Cornell from evening the game. The team’s second and third power plays were similar, as Bowling Green effectively stopped any scoring opportunity.

With just 1:52 left to go in the period, however, things changed. The Falcons were whistled for their fourth penalty, as forward Brett Pilkington was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct. The man advantage appeared to be just what Cornell needed.

After going the length of the ice and back, Cornell gained control of the puck just off the left side of Bowling Green’s net. The puck headed to the front of the net, where sophomore forward Matt Moulson slipped it to classmate Jon Gleed. Gleed slammed it through traffic, but Sigalet stopped it, continuing his shutout effort. He failed to stop the rebound however, letting it slip away to Cam Abbott. The forward found an opening and snuck it through, equalizing the game as time ran out in the third.

“I knew time was running out,” said Abbott. “I heard the crowd yelling ‘four, three,’ and I just got it behind the net and threw it out.”

Cornell continued its offensive onslaught in the second, smothering Bowling Green. As the Red found out, though, there is a difference between smothering and scoring. The team put up 10 shots, yet failed to find the back of the net.

“It was just frustrating not to get a goal,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We had all kinds of opportunities in the second period, and we kept pressuring and pressuring.”

“We’ve just got to capitalize on opportunities,” said Vesce. “After you have so many, you just think one’s going to go in — it’s just raw numbers.”

Cornell opened the third period with the same intensity that it had shown in the second, but soon faded. As it did, Bowling Green gained steam, making 16 shots on net. McKee was on top of all of them, though, carrying Cornell into an overtime period as he stifled the Falcons to close the period.

“I thought David McKee made two or three huge saves in the third period,” said Schafer. “I credit him for coming up big.”

“Dave’s played strong for us,” agreed Abbott. “When you have a goaltender you have confidence in, it’s easier to play.”

Still, two factors kept Cornell winless on Friday: the Falcons’ speed, and Sigalet’s netminding skills.

“We tried to get on the forecheck, but they were pretty quick in moving,” said Abbott. “It was tough to wear them down when they were continuously moving the puck.”

“I give Sigalet a lot of credit,” said Schafer. “There’s a reason people touted him as an All-American, and we only got one goal on him all night and it was a rebound goal.”

While the team is still winless on home ice, Schafer noted that it is gaining positive experience — something that will be crucial come this spring.

“As a team we have the responsibility of building,” he said. “You’ve got to have the right building blocks in the end, and if you don’t, then you’re killing yourself in the stretch drive when it’s most important.”

Archived article by Matt Janiga