March 24, 2008

Barlow game-winner secures semifinal berth

Print More

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — On Feb. 15, the men’s hockey team blew a 2-0 lead at home against Union, leaving the crowd stunned and the players struggling for answers. What a difference a month makes. Cornell has gone 7-3-0 since that fateful day. Exactly one month later, the Red’s latest vanquished victim was those same Dutchmen. A 3-2 win in Game 2 of the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal gave the Red a sweep over Union.
“The guys did a good job facing adversity both nights,” said head coach Mike Schafer ‘86. “Gave up the lead again tonight on a great shot … to make it 2-2. … Really adversity-wise, they did a great job of coming back in that kind of situation.”
[img_assist|nid=28967|title=New Amsterdam, not so immortal|desc=Sophomore Colin Greening (right) and the offense led the Red to a road quarterfinal victory over Union on March 14, 3-2.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
After advancing past the quarterfinals, Cornell now moves on to the ECAC Hockey semifinals, to be played next weekend in Albany, N.Y. With the other three ECAC quarterfinals each going to a decisive third game, the Red’s opponent has not been decided.
On Saturday night, though, Cornell’s sole focus was on Union, and junior Evan Barlow made sure that the Red got out of Schenectady with the win. With a little over eight and a half minutes to go in the third period and the score tied at 2-2, Dutchmen freshman Stephane Boileau drew a penalty for holding the stick. A minute and a half later, Union was whistled for too many men on the ice, giving Cornell a five-on-three advantage. The Dutchmen were about to clear the puck when sophomore Brendon Nash was able to keep it in the offensive zone. Eventually, classmate Blake Gallagher got the puck to the right of Union freshman goaltender Corey Milan and fired a pass to Barlow in the slot, and the junior put it home.
“We got lucky getting that 5-on-3, and we kept the puck in on a little bit of a scramble,” Barlow said. “We got down to the corner and [sophomore alternate captain Colin] Greening worked it down around the net to Gallagher, and Gallagher made a great pass to me in the slot. I just tried to get everything I could on it and tried to hit it off the right side. I’m glad I got to watch it go in.”
Cornell’s first two goals were scored by freshman Patrick Kennedy and Gallagher. Kennedy scored on a one-timer from a Greening pass to tie the game up at 1-1 early in the second, and Gallagher knocked in a rebound off a shot from Nash to give Cornell a 2-1 later in the stanza. Greening and freshman Riley Nash both recorded two assists apiece.
“The puck came out in front from Colin, and I just tried to get a shot through and luckily it went in,” Kennedy said. “That really got the team going, got the momentum going a bit. I think we played better from that point on. It got the team started and got the team on a roll there.”
Sophomore netminder Ben Scrivens made 41 saves for Cornell, helping to preserve the lead. Scrivens faced a barrage of Union shots and his save total was four off his career high of 45, set earlier this season against UMass. Among Scrivens’s highlights was a save in the second that he made when he blocked the shot of a Dutchmen player was waiting at the far post to put in a rebound. He also made a glove save late in the third on sophomore Jason Walters in the slot. The two goals Scrivens gave up were to Boileau and junior Lane Caffaro. For Union, Milan made 18 saves.
“I think I made a little bit of work for myself today,” Scrivens said. “I had a little bit of trouble with rebounds I think, on the weekend too. … Their shot count could have been down a bit if I make that first save and put it in the corner or corral it. … They fired a lot of shots on net, but a lot of them from the outside. The guys in front of me did a great job blocking shots.”
Cornell converted 2-of-6 power plays and killed off five of Union’s extra-man opportunities. Perhaps the most important penalty kill came with three and a half minutes left in the third period, when junior Michael Kennedy was called for holding. The Dutchmen soon pulled Milan, giving them a six-on-four advantage. But the Red was able to prevent a goal, with junior Tyler Mugford blocking several shots and clearing the puck multiple times.