From here on out, the games all count. The men’s hockey team wrapped up its final non-conference play this weekend, splitting a pair of games with North Dakota. Cornell won the first, 1-0, on an early third-period goal supported by stingy defense and goaltending, but lost, 3-1, on Saturday as North Dakota pulled ahead in the third then scored an empty-netter to kill the Red’s comeback hopes.
Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 credited the Fighting Sioux for coming out fast on Friday and setting Cornell’s skaters back on their heels.
North Dakota won the opening face-off and immediately put a shot on goal that Scrivens blocked. The Sioux controlled play for the period; Cornell finished with only two shots in the opening frame, the second one coming with 8:45 left to play.
North Dakota, the fourth-most penalized team in the nation, took six penalties for 23 minutes the first night, and a total of 39 over the weekend, but Cornell’s power play continued to sputter, going 0-for-11 on the weekend.
The game winner came 1:55 into the third, the Red’s strongest period of the night. Junior defenseman Mike Devin took a nifty pass from junior forward Patrick Kennedy on a 2-on-1 chance. Sophomore forward Locke Jillson was also credited with an assist.
“Took a nice pass from Locke Jillson, he slid it under that guy’s stick,” Kennedy said. “When I looked up it was a 2-on-1 with Mike Devin. It came over the blue line, had it on my forehand, thinking about shooting it, their guy kind of slid, took away the shot lane, and I pulled it to my backhand and slid it around him and found Mike Devin streaking to the net there.”
“Pat Kennedy made an unbelievable pass and all I had to do was not screw up,” said Mike Devin.
Senior goalie Ben Scrivens continued his recent hot streak on Friday night, stopping all of North Dakota’s 28 shots, including a late surge by the Sioux after they pulled their goalie.
Scrivens was beat by an early goal on Saturday night, 1:33 into the first period, but still finished with 23 saves. North Dakota scored the game winner, going up 2-1 in the third period, when Keir Ross lost the puck near Cornell’s net on a play that Schafer thought might have been a missed call by the referees. Senior Blake Gallagher drew the Red to within a goal with under 10 seconds to play on a hard shot from the right point that North Dakota goalie Brad Eidsness never saw, but the Fighting Sioux’s Jason Gregoire took the puck on the ensuing face-off and dumped it into the empty Cornell net.
Schafer thought his team played better on Saturday, but didn’t get as many bounces as the first night.
“I thought we played better tonight, more offensive chances to score tonight than we did last night,” he said. “We didn’t hit the net or couldn’t capitalize when we had those opportunities. Both games were a real grind which is going to make us a better hockey team as we prepare for the next eight weeks.”
Original Author: Keenan Weatherford