February 25, 2008

M. hockey opens road trip with win over Quinnipiac to move into fourth

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It was a good night to be a Kennedy. After watching his younger brother, freshman Patrick Kennedy, score his second goal of the season, junior Michael Kennedy did him one better, netting the game-winning goal with 19.4 seconds left in overtime in the men’s hockey team’s 3-2 win over Quinnipiac on Friday night.
“We knew that both these games on the weekend were huge,” said senior co-captain Raymond Sawada. “We knew someone had to do something in order for us to pull out a win and we’re going to have to dig deep and find a way to win. And we ended up being able to pull it out in the last minute.”
With the win, Cornell (13-11-3, 11-8-1 ECAC Hockey) passed Quinnipiac (17-11-4, 9-7-4) in the ECAC Hockey standings. In addition, because the Red also beat the Bobcats, 5-3, in the two teams’ meeting earlier this season at Lynah Rink, Cornell now owns a tie-breaker in case the two teams finish with the same number of points.[img_assist|nid=28159|title=Finders keepers|desc=Sophomore co-alternate captain Colin Greening, who leads Cornell with 18 points on the season, helped the Red move to 11-8-1 in ECAC Hockey and into a fourth place tie with Union.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I think they were actually a point ahead of us so we knew it was a big game just to get back in the top-4 spot,” Sawada said. “We know every game from now on in is going to be huge for us just because of the race for the top-4 and the race is going to be very tight in the end. We are just trying to treat every game like a playoff game because it is going to determine whether we get a bye into the second round of the playoffs.”
Kennedy’s heroics came with time winding down in the extra period. Sophomore Blake Gallagher fired the initial shot off a pass from sophomore Brendon Nash, but Quinnipiac junior Bud Fisher made the first stop. The rebound caromed out to Kennedy, though, who put it home for the game-winner. In addition to the overtime goal, Kennedy also assisted on Sawada’s power-play goal in the first to give Cornell an early 1-0 lead. After Patrick Kennedy’s score made it 2-0, the Red could not hold its lead. Sophomore Mike Atkinson scored for Quinnipiac three minutes after Patrick Kennedy’s goal, and junior David Marshall tied the game up with a little over a minute left in regulation after the Bobcats pulled Fisher for an extra skater.
“We didn’t really come out with a lot of intensity, but after we got our fist goal and second goal we were taking the game to them,” Sawada said. “Then we had a little mental lapse and they converted on a 2-on-2. We were still pretty much in control of the game, but they were definitely taking it to us in the third period. They had a lot of chances and they converted on their 6-on-5 chance. We should have got the puck out, but they pickpocketed one of our players.”
Sophomore Ben Scrivens made 33 saves for Cornell on 35 shots faced, while Fisher stopped 21 shots for Quinnipiac. The Red’s penalty kill unit continued its solid play, not allowing the Bobcats to score on five power-play opportunities. Cornell scored on one of its three power-play chances.
“I think our [power play] and [penalty kill], special teams in general, in Friday night’s game did really well,” Sawada said. “It was just 5-on-5 we weren’t playing our best. Especially in that last five minutes or so when they scored the tying goal.”
The game marks the first time that Cornell has played at the TD Banknorth Center, which is Quinnipiac’s new arena that opened last year.
“It was great,” Sawada said. “They had pretty good student section. The facility is brand new and great, actually. I really enjoyed just playing in a new atmosphere and having a new facility like that. It doesn’t take too much to get up for those types of games.”