During the regular season, the men’s hockey team was 19-0-2 when scoring the first goal of the game, but just 5-4-1 when the other team struck first. Yet this postseason, the Red is making comebacks a regular occurrence.
On Saturday night at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, the second-seeded Red came back from two goals down to defeat third-seeded Ohio State in the West Regional semifinal of the NCAA tournament. It was Cornell’s second come-from-behind win in as many tries, as the team rallied to beat Harvard, 3-1, in the ECACHL final after falling behind 1-0 after the first period.
“We didn’t play our best tonight, but the guys reacted well to be down 2-0,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “They came back and proved that we are a really good hockey team, getting back into that hockey game.”
The game-winner was scored by senior assistant captain Mike Iggulden with assists going to senior Charlie Cook and junior assistant captain Matt Moulson. The score came just seconds after Ohio State’s Domenic Maiani found the post with one of his shots on Cornell’s goal.
“The game winning goal by Mike [Iggulden] was great,” Schafer said. “For Mike to stay on the ice with the lack of energy that he had, to have the mindset to beat the kid; it was just a great play for us to get the win. I was pretty proud of our hockey team to come back the way they did.”
Yet, the whole first period and the early part of the second belonged to the Buckeyes. The Red was outshot 5-1 to start the game, and had just six shots to Ohio State’s 12 for the first period. Despite solid goalkeeping by sophomore Hobey Baker finalist David McKee, the disparity in shots inevitably led to success for the Buckeyes.
Buckeye Tom Fritsche fed Maiani, who one-timed the puck high and out of the reach of McKee at the 10:46 mark. Forward Bryce Anderson also tallied an assist on the even-strength goal.
Then, after a cross-checking penalty on freshman Doug Krantz, Fritsche got into the scorebook again, as he went top shelf past McKee. The power-play goal at 12:58 in the second period put the Buckeyes up 2-0, and was just the second against the Red penalty-kill in its opponents’ last 36 attempts.
Despite the lead, the Buckeyes knew that Cornell had outscored its opponents a combined 46-9 in the second period going into Saturday’s game, and that the game was far from over.
“A two-goal lead is tough to protect in hockey,” said Ohio State captain JB Bittner. “A team makes it 2-1 and they have the momentum, so I don’t think it made a difference with two goals or one goal. We knew that their second period was their best period all year; we had all the stats on them.”
Right on cue, the Red got on the board just 18 seconds after the Fritsche goal to pull within one. The goal was fired from the left point by Krantz, who was assisted by Moulson and freshman Topher Scott.
“Topher Scott did a great job on the faceoff to get it back to Doug Krantz, who’s got one of the hardest shots on our team,” Schafer said.
Just 3:06 later, the Red went on a 2-on-1, as junior Cam Abbott found his twin brother, Chris, who put the puck past Buckeye goalie David Caruso to tie the game at two. Also tallying an assist on the play was junior defender Jon Gleed, who started the odd-man rush down the ice.
Yet, it was the Buckeyes which started off strong in the third period. Ohio State, which outshot the Red, 36-20, for the game, held an 8-1 advantage in shots to start the period despite a Cornell power-play. But, McKee was up to task, stopping 34 shots on the game, including a flurry of shots during the Buckeye power-play that ended just seconds before Cornell’s game-winner at 8:23.
That goal, which was set up by Moulson, was scored by Iggulden, who just reached the puck around a sprawled out Caruso.
“[Moulson] made a great pass to me, and I saw the goalie was coming right out at me so I decided to make a quick move.” Iggulden said. “I was able to use my reach and slap it in the back of the net.”
The 3-2 win gave the Red a spot in the West Regional final against Minnesota yesterday.
Minnesota 1, Maine 0, O.T.
Minnesota’s Evan Kaufmann one-timed the puck past Maine goalie Jimmy Howard 1:46 into overtime to give the Golden Gophers a 1-0 win in the West Regional semifinal of the NCAA tournament.
Archived article by hris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor