December 29, 2008

M. Hockey Wins Florida Tournament in Shootout

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Though it has been three weeks since the men’s hockey team last tasted competition, the Red hasn’t forgotten how to win. It came down to the wire, however, in Sunday night’s Florida College Classic championship game in Estero, Fla.
Just like the last time Cornell faced conference foe Colgate, a November faceoff at Lynah Rink, the Red (8-1-3, 6-0-2 ECAC Hockey) played the Raiders (4-3-1, 1-2-1) to a 2-2 tie Sunday — coming from behind to bring the game to overtime.
Tied after overtime at the neutral site, a shootout decided the winner this time around. The Red was awarded the tournament victory — while junior netminder Ben Scrivens stopped all four of the Raiders’ shots, senior co-alternate captain Jared Seminoff and junior forward Blake Gallagher each got the puck past Colgate’s Charles Long for the 2-0 victory.
In nine seasons competing at the Florida Classic over winter break, this was Cornell’s third title.
Colgate got off to a strong start Sunday, leading 2-0 at the first intermission off two costly Cornell turnovers. The Red came alive in the second, however, with a power play goal by Gallagher at the 6:48 mark — it was the forward’s first goal of the season. Senior co-captain Michael Kennedy pushed in a loose puck 10 minutes later to knot the score at 2, eventually leading to the shootout.
Getting a pair of goals from sophomore forward Joe Devin, the Red topped St. Cloud State (10-9-1, 5-7-0 WCHA) Saturday night, 3-2, to get to the championship game. The Huskies got on the board first barely a minute into the second period, taking advantage of an extra-man situation. The challenge woke Cornell up, and Devin tallied his first goal 20 seconds later.
The Red then took control of the period, relying on a strong middle stanza as it did against Colgate the next day. Sophomore forward Riley Nash tallied a short-handed goal at the 10:54 mark off a feed from senior forward Evan Barlow, and Devin notched the game-winner a minute later.
St. Cloud State had no more success with the man advantage that night after its first goal, as Cornell killed off the Huskies’ next six power plays. Yet the Red power play had no success either, going 0-for-3 on the night.
Though the Huskies tallied another goal midway through the third period and outshot the Red 16-5 in the stanza, even pulling their goalie with 57 seconds left for an extra skater, they couldn’t solve Scrivens and Cornell.
In its semifinal matchup the same day, Colgate narrowly escaped first-round challenger Maine with a last-second score in overtime, 3-2, to advance to yesterday’s championship against Cornell.
Gallagher — who notched two assists against St. Cloud State in addition to his standout performance in the championship game — and junior defenseman Brendon Nash were named to the all-tournament team, while Scrivens was named the Most Valuable Player.
Returning to the Northeast, Cornell will face the UMass Minutemen in Massachusetts Sunday afternoon, while women’s ice hockey returns to action as it hosts Providence at Lynah Rink the same day.