TROY, N.Y. — Freshman Colin Greening stood outside the visitors’ locker room in Houston Fieldhouse on Saturday night, smiling after a career performance in Cornell’s 6-1 rout of Rensselaer.
“They’ve got the music going, everyone’s pretty elated and happy,” Greening said. “We’ll take it for what it is — it’s three points that we really needed. But we’re going to get back to Ithaca tonight, and Monday we’re going to get right back to work.”
A three-goal outburst in the first period was enough to secure the win for the Red (12-9-4, 8-6-4 ECACHL), which earned its first three-point weekend in over two months and held onto fourth place in the league standings. Cornell traveled without head coach Mike Schafer ’86, who was home sick but is expected to return at full strength this week.
[img_assist|nid=21314|title=Where is it?|desc=Freshman Michael Kennedy (18) looks on as Rensselaer goaltender Mathias Lange (3) can’t find the puck during the Red’s 6-1 victory Saturday night.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]
Greening led the way with two goals and an assist for a career-high three points, while classmate Blake Gallagher added three assists to tie a career high. Freshmen Tony Romano and Justin Milo added a goal apiece, as did senior captain Byron Bitz and senior Mark McCutcheon. Freshman goaltender Troy Davenport made a career-high 28 saves for Cornell.
Rensselaer (9-14-7, 5-9-4) got its lone goal from rookie Paul Kerins, his seventh of the season, with assists going to sophomore Reed Kipp and junior Andrew Lord. Sophomore Mathias Lange made 17 saves in 56 minutes between the pipes for the Engineers.
Cornell converted on 2-of-5 power plays, while the home team was 0-for-5 on extra-man chances. The Engineers outshot the Red 29-23 and each team received seven penalties on the night.
“It was a great response from the guys,” said Cornell assistant coach Scott Garrow. “We were disappointed coming out of yesterday’s tie [with Union] and talked a lot today about playing 60 minutes and being consistent and I thought we did that. We didn’t let up regardless of the score.”
Cornell attacked right out of the gates, with Romano scoring his ninth goal of the season just over five minutes into the first frame on the Red’s opening power play. Greening assisted on Romano’s goal, then added the eventual game-winner 1:19 later when he received a pass from Bitz on Lange’s near side and slapped the puck home for his seventh goal of the season. Gallagher also assisted on the play.
Cornell continued to dominate play throughout the first period, delivering a final blow at with 1:01 left in the frame. On the Engineers’ first man-advantage chance, McCutcheon stole the puck at the Red’s defensive blue line and broke away, beating Lange with a wrist shot for his seventh tally on the season and the Red’s second shorthanded goal of the weekend.
“We have to give them credit for the fortitude with which they came out, how hard they played [and] how physical they decided to play,” said Rensselaer head coach Seth Appert. “Especially in the first period. … Without question, they just took it to us in every phase of the game early on and set the tone for the game.”
Just minutes into the second period, Rensselaer freshman Christian Jensen was called for holding on sophomore Tyler Mugford on a breakaway. However, it was the Engineers that scored during the power play. Kerins broke down the ice after receiving a pass from Lord, and sent Davenport sprawling on the ice with a fake before sending the puck home with 5:26 gone in the stanza.
With the score at 3-1, Bitz killed off any momentum the Engineers had been building with his fifth goal of the season off assists from junior Doug Krantz and sophomore Taylor Davenport, with 6:12 remaining in the frame.
“We got to 3-1, we were playing a little bit better in the second period. We had some very good chances,” Appert said. “And then they made a nice play. [Krantz] got the shot through and Byron Bitz, [who] was just an absolute horse all night tonight, he made a great play behind the net and beat his man back to the front of the net and tipped one in right out of midair.”
Greening kept the scoring bonanza rolling 33 seconds into the third period, when he added his eighth tally on the year during a power play. The rookie gathered a pass from Gallagher at the bottom of the left faceoff circle and unleashed a shot off the far post and into the goal. Freshman Brendon Nash also assisted on the score.
Milo closed out the scoring with an even-strength goal with just under 5 minutes to play. It was the third goal for the freshman, with assists going to Romano and Gallagher.
“It’s a big three points,” Gallagher said. “But the way we look at it, it should have been four. We let the first one get away from us, so that’s something we’ve got to learn from as a team and I think tonight was a big step for us and where we need to go.”
[img_assist|nid=21312|title=Where is it?|desc=Freshman Michael Kennedy (18) looks on as Rensselaer goaltender Mathias Lange (3) can’t find the puck during the Red’s 6-1 victory Saturday night.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]