February 9, 2009

Princeton Capitalizes in Waning Moments to Win At Lynah

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The Cornell men’s hockey team (15-4-4, 10-3-3 ECAC) was less than a minute away from a four-point weekend and a sweep of the season series with preseason ECAC Hockey favorite Princeton(17-6-0, 11-5-0 ECAC), when everything fell apart. After being stymied by the Red defense for most of the game, the Tigers scored two quick goals in the last minute of the third period to stun the crowd at Lynah Rink and topple the home team, 2-1.
Cornell controlled the puck for much of the game, outshooting Princeton 15-6 in the first period, but the typically staunch Red defense was caught off-guard twice in the waning minutes. After Princeton pulled goalie Zane Kalemba for an extra skater, junior Dan Bartlett won the face-off then took a pass from classmate Cam MacIntyre, who was back from an injury that kept him out since last March, and one-timed it past Cornell’s junior goalie, Ben Scrivens, to even the score at 1.
“It’s not like we did something special, it just happened to work,” said Princeton head coach Guy Gadowski.
The goal seemed to shock Cornell — just 18 seconds later, the Red defense was caught straying and Princeton quickly mounted a 3-on-1 rush capped by sophomore Taylor Fedun’s game-winner.
“We have the mentality that we have a game plan and we’re going to stick to it no matter what the scenario is,” Fedun said. “We saw a little bit of open ice and we were able to get an odd man rusher.”
Although Princeton was outplayed in the first period and much of the second, it had an excuse — the team bus broke down between Hamilton, N.Y., where the Tigers beat Colgate on Friday night, stranding the team for about two hours. The game started around 8:15 p.m., more than an hour late, but players on both teams said the extra hour did not affect their play.
[img_assist|nid=34868|title=Another brick in the wall|desc=Junior goalie Ben Scrivens was beat twice in the last 40 seconds of the Red’s game against Princeton|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell seemed poised and confident throughout the first period but never saw a great scoring chance. The first man-advantage opportunity came 5:44 into the game when Princeton’s Brett Wilson was called for high sticking, the first of his three penalties.
Junior defenseman Brendon Nash was called for obstruction interference with about a minute to play in the first period, but the Red penalty kill unit, which was efficient all night, kept Princeton off the scoreboard.
Cornell’s goal came on a power play 10:20 into the second period. Sophomore forward Riley Nash and senior forward Colin Greening were credited with assists for finding junior forward Blake Gallagher, who deposited the puck over Kalemba’s arm for the goal, his fourth of the season.
Despite the Red’s impressive play throughout the contest, all that mattered in the end was the final 40 seconds.
“The bottom line is to win,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Not to play well, not to do a great job, but to get it done and win. It’s a devastating loss for us, but hopefully the players will take that lesson and become strong mentally and more consistent in our game throughout the course of the year.”
It is without question a tough lesson to digest, but one the Red may be able to learn from and draw from over the remainder of the season.
“That’s hockey,” Scrivens said. “If you don’t play the full 60:00, it can really come back to bite you.”