March 30, 2009

Bemidji St. Ends Men’s Hockey's Season With 4-1 Win

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Cornell’s 2008-09 season came to an end last night as the Red fell 4-1 to the upstart No. 4-seeded Bemidji St. Beavers in the finals of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament. Cornell dictated the style of play early and got out to a 1-0 lead but ultimately the Beavers’ quick skaters and offensive prowess overwhelmed the Red’s defense, vaulting Bemidji St. to a berth in the 2009 Frozen Four.
Cornell was able to execute its gameplan in the first period, as the Red dominated on the forecheck and defensively contained the speedy Beavers’ forwards. Neither team was able to generate too many chances in the first, with Bemidji St. registering six shots on goal, all stopped by junior goalie Ben Scrivens. Despite having three first period power play opportunities, the Red managed to test Dalton with just five shots in the first frame.
The second period opened up with largely the same style of play. However, midway through the frame, Cornell began applying some significant offensive pressure. Senior forward Tyler Mugford won a face off in the Beavers’ zone, sending the puck back to the point. Freshman Keir Ross collected the loose puck in the middle of the circle and quickly released a snap shot that made its way through traffic and over Dalton’s right pad. Ross’ goal broke the scoreless tie in and gave the Red a 1-0 lead at 12:35 of the second frame.
However, the Cornell lead did not last long, as Bemidji St. tied the game just under two minutes later. The Beavers’ goal came after defenseman Ryan Adams received a pass at the point from forward Tyler Scofield. Adams calmly wired a wrist shot through a swarm of bodies in front of the net. Scrivens was completely screened and went down in butterfly in anticipation of the shot, but he did not see the puck as it sailed just underneath his glove, into the back of the net at 14:25 of the second period, tying the game at 1.
Bemidji went ahead 2-1 just 4:05 into the third frame after Tyler Scofield received a pass from Matt Read in the neutral zone. Scofield came streaking down the right side and fired a snap shot to the far side that beat Scrivens just past his outstretched blocker.
The Beavers extended their lead after Ben Kinne skated in the Red zone and carried the puck behind the net. Kinne threw the puck out in front, where Matt Francis was able to get a stick on it and lifted the puck over top of Scrivens, putting the Red up 3-1.
Scofield got his second goal of the game at 16:38 in the third after Schafer pulled Scrivens in favor of an extra attacker. Schafer kept Scrivens on the bench and senior co-captain Michael Kennedy soon got an outstanding chance to crack into the Beaver’s lead. With less than three minutes remaining, Kennedy rocketed a snap shot on net in the slot, forcing Dalton to come sliding across the crease and nab the puck out of the air to make the save of the game.[img_assist|nid=36370|title=Taking the shot|desc=Junior co-captain Colin Greening eyes the puck during the Red’s 2-1 loss to Princeton on Feb. 7. With time winding down in Saturday’s game, Greening deflected a Barlow shot past Husky goalie Brad Thiessen to tie the game at 2.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Scofield led the way offensively throughout the game for the Beavers, notching two goals and one assist in the victory. Matt Dalton put on a very stellar performance between the pipes, making 25 saves on 26 Cornell shots. In the loss, Scrivens faced 20 shots from the Beavers and made 17 saves.
In last night’s game, eight Red seniors made their final career appearances in Cornell uniforms: Evan Barlow, Taylor Davenport, Troy Davenport, Dan DiLeo, Michael Kenneyd, Tyler Mugford, Derek Punches, and Jared Seminoff.
Bemidji St. will face off against the University of Miami (Ohio) Redhawks in the Frozen Four on April 9th.
The Red advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional Finals against Bemidji St. thanks to a 3-2 comeback win over Northeastern on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals. Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen, the Hockey East Player of the Year, had stifled Cornell’s defense until junior forward Blake Gallagher, playing injured for the second straight weekend, got the puck through traffic and past Thiessen for the Red’s first goal with about two minutes left in the second period. The Cornell offense had been shut out for nearly five consecutive periods at that point, dating back to the 5-0 shutout by Yale in the ECAC Hockey tournament finals, and Gallagher’s goal seemed to light a spark in the skaters that carried over to the final period.
“Give that kid a lot of credit,” Schafer said of Gallagher. “On Monday or Tuesday there was absolutely no way he was going to play. He just gutted it out.”
Cornell outshot Northeastern 14-4 in the final period, but it looked like Thiessen would hold the lead until the Huskies’ Alex Tuckerman was whistled for checking from behind with about five minutes to play. With the man advantage, the Red was able to set up its power play unit and Barlow took a hard shot from the point that Greening deflected past Thiessen for the tie.
“Coming into the game, we knew how good of a goalie he was,” Greening said. “We just wanted to make sure we were getting pucks to the net.”
At that point, fans might have flashed back to the Red’s double-overtime win over Princeton in the ECAC Hockey tournament semifinals. This time, however, Cornell did not want to wait for overtime to claim its victory. Barlow, who has developed a flair for the dramatic with six game-winning goals this season (tied for fourth-most in the nation), joined Nash and Gallagher on a man rush with less than a minute to play in regulation. Two Northeastern defenders converged on Nash after he took a pass from Gallagher into the Husky zone. Nash fell to the ice but was able to tap the puck back towards Barlow, who veered to the left and took a hard low shot past Thiessen.
Much of the pre-game hype centered around the matchup between Thiessen and Scrivens, two of the top goalies in the country. Neither goalie disappointed — Scrivens finished with 19 saves and Thiessen finished with 29, and both made several highlight-reel stops to keep the game close.
“There’s a reason both those guys have posted big numbers all year long,” Schafer said. “Fans were treated to two of the better goalies in the country tonight.”
Cornell had a good number of chances on offense, taking 32 shots compared to 21 by Northeastern. The Huskies, however, enjoyed plenty of success in the face-off circle, winning 44-of-70 restarts. Joe Vitale won 25-of-35 face offs to lead the Northeastern face-off unit.
“I haven’t seen a kid dominate the face-off circle like he did,” Schafer said. “Coming into the game, we knew he was good. He was unbelievable.”