John Fumio ’74, Robert Levasseur ’89, and Jim Gibson ’81 never skated together for the Cornell men’s hockey team. Saturday night, though, the No. 14 Red’s top line of Matt Moulson, Topher Scott, and Shane Hynes, might as well have been that trio. Junior assistant captain Moulson — the player who currently wear’s Fumio’s No. 24 — scored twice and Cornell (2-0-0, 0-0-0 ECACHL) used a four-goal barrage during the first six minutes of the third period to beat Sacred Heart (3-3-0, 3-0-0 Atlantic Hockey), 7-1, in a game in which Cornell honored its all-time greats by wearing the names of the best player to ever wear each number. It was the Red’s second consecutive six-goal victory.
Like Friday night, the game was dominated by the power play and penalty killing units from start to finish. A combined 51 penalty minutes between the teams provided strong evidence of the NCAA’s edict to crack down on penalties this year. But, despite playing in only its second game of the season, Cornell was up to the special-teams task.
“I thought overall our special teams obviously did the job today,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Three power play goals, and we didn’t give up one.
“I was very pleased with how we’ve not been obstructing. I think that’s always been a strength of ours.”
The game was a very close contest until the start of the third period.
Cornell took a 2-0 lead after the first period, as Moulson and senior assistant captain Mike Iggulden each scored his first goal of the season. Moulson’s first goal of the game came at 8:32 off a rebound on the right side of Sacred Heart goalie Kevin LaPointe. Iggulden doubled the Red lead at 16:39. Iggulden’s score was a highly important momentum saver. Just prior to Cornell’s transition into the offensive zone that allowed Iggulden to score, sophomore goaltender David McKee had denied the Pioneers on the doorstep, which at the time preserved the 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart came alive in the second period, though. The Pioneers peppered McKee with 13 shots on goal, including their only score of the game, which came at 17:57 in the period. Left wing Garrett Larson took a screen shot from McKee’s right that found a way in stick-side. The goal cut Cornell’s lead to 3-1.
“The second period went really well,” said Sacred Heart head coach Shaun Hannah ’94. “The guys played our game plan to a T.”
“It would have been nice to get a goal when we were down a couple of goals there, but they ended up scoring a goal and making it 3-1. It was a little bit of a momentum shift,” Larson said. “We actually started to get things going, but we just couldn’t quite get a hold of things and bury our chances.”
Part of Sacred Heart’s inability to make the most of its opportunities very likely had to do with Cornell’s home advantage. After letting its control on the game slip a little bit late in the second, the Red came out charging in the third, turning the game into a laugher.
“I played four years of hockey in this building, you get two quick goals, this building comes alive,” Hannah said. “Big Red teams have always fed off the crowd here. They lit up the building and got the momentum and we weren’t able to contain it.”
Moulson scored his second goal of the night 2:24 into the period, again taking the puck off a rebound and pounding it in on LaPointe’s glove side.
“Hynes is a big guy in front of the net and basically took their guy out of the play, and Charlie got two good shots on net,” Moulson said. “That’s the key with the power play, basically to charge the net, keep crashing and get rebounds. I think everybody did a great job on the two goals, it was kind of a unit effort there.”
Cornell would score three more times within the next three and a half minutes, igniting the crowd and completely taking Sacred Heart out of its rhythm.
“We’re used to playing in big rinks like this with big crowds. The game’s played on the ice really, it’s something you block out when you’re focused for the game. We just didn’t execute tonight, we did for two periods, then we took some bad penalties and they got the momentum and we didn’t look back,” LaPointe said. “We have to stay tough mentally. We thought we played a great second period and we wanted to carry the momentum over to the third period, but we just took a couple of dumb penalties right off the bat, and they got a couple of good goals and that was it for us.”
Freshman defenseman Sasha Pokulok, junior forward Cam Abbott and senior assistant captain Charlie Cook scored for Cornell, making it the second straight night that at least six different players tallied goals.
“We went into the season knowing we wanted to put a lot of guys on the power play and a lot of guys on the penalty kill,” Schafer said. “It’s much easier knowing that you can roll everybody and guys don’t get worn down as much. They start to know their roles a little bit and it keeps guys fresh. The wealth was spread, and that’s the type of team we have.”
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor