After Friday’s disappointing loss to St. Lawrence, Cornell was finally able to come together and earn a convincing win Saturday over Clarkson in Potsdam, N.Y.
Coming into Cheel Arena on Saturday, the No. 19 Red (1-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) was looking to prove itself by making a statement against the Knights (4-3-2, 0-1-1 ECAC) and to show its fans that its then 0-3 record was not indicative of how the team would perform overall this year.
The game started off fairly slow scoring-wise and remained that way until, just shy of reaching the 14-minute mark in the first period, junior forward Jordan Kary intercepted a Knights pass in the Clarkson zone, allowing the Red to cycle the puck around in the far end. Finally, the puck found its way back to Kary after senior forward Dan Nicholls took it around the back of the Clarkson goal and launched it to Kary. From the top of the crease, he backhanded it over goalie Paul Karpowich’s glove and into the net, allowing Cornell to draw first blood for the first time in the season and putting the visiting team up, 1-0.
“[It was the] first time this year we got the first one,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “So it was obviously good.”
While the period only saw one goal scored, it was filled with extra-curricular excitement for the crowd of 2,397. At 7:30, a scrum developed between senior defenseman Mike Devin and Clarkson players Corey Tamblyn and Scott Freeman. As a result, Tamblyn and Freeman were both assessed minors for roughing (Freeman also received a 10-minute misconduct) while Devin was given two roughing minors and a 10-minute misconduct.
Going into the second, Cornell got off to a good start when, at 8:02 in the period, sophomore defenseman Braden Birch took a pass from Kary in the Clarkson zone and was able to beat out a Knights’ defenseman before putting the puck through the screen and past Karpowich. The game really opened up for the Red in this period. Slightly before the 12-minute mark, the much talked-about freshman from Belarus, Kirill Gotovets, took a shot at Karpowich, who turned it away. However, when Clarkson tried to clear the puck, the shot was tipped back to Gotovets by Nicholls, who wasted no time in rocketing the shot past the Clarkson keeper and putting Cornell up, 3-0.
But that was not all. 14 seconds after Gotovets’ goal, the Knights’ Alex Boak was sent to the box for high-sticking, putting the Red on the power play. Cornell was quick to capitalize on this, with sophomore defenseman Nick D’Agostino quickly ripping one on the Clarkson goal. While D’Agostino’s shot was saved, Karpowich was not able to tie up the puck in front of the net and the Knights’ defensemen allowed it to sit in front. Junior Locke Jillson was quick to act, taking the puck and lofting a shot just under crossbar, making the score 4-0 Red.
Jillson is a player who always seemed to come up big against Clarkson.
“I wish I knew [why], because I think I’d be able to translate it into a lot bigger season. It’s just some nights it’s there some nights it’s not and luckily for me it’s been of couple times against Clarkson,” Jillson said of this trend.
A few minutes later, Clarkson’s Brandon DeFazio would make the contest closer, after sending a one-timer past freshman net minder Andy Iles to make the score 4-1. However, his efforts were ultimately futile and from that point on, things were all Cornell.
In the third, freshman forward Dustin Mowrey continued to impress, taking a rebound and firing it over Karpowich’s pad, notching his third goal of the season and putting the Red up, 5-1. Shortly thereafter, senior defenseman Joe Devin would take a pass from Gotovets and put the finishing touch on the Knight, sending the puck past a defeated Karpowich and sending Cornell home to Lynah with a solid 6-1 win.
“It feels good,” Schafer said. “We played some good hockey. … We did our job this weekend. [There is] a lot of pressure on our kids, the expectations of our program and alumni and everything else, the kids felt it, they didn’t want to go 0-4 to start the season. So that was a big win for us and to get back to Lynah now, where we played well last Saturday, it’ll be nice to come home now.”
“I think it’s great for our confidence, especially in the way that it was done … we just kind of put our noses to the grindstone and just really kept pushing and I think that it’s good for us as a team to see the results of sticking to a game plan, because we’ve seen some progress but we haven’t seen the result so it’s nice to finally get the result,” Jillson said.
While it was understood that the win was the result of an entire team effort, Schafer was quick to credit his freshman players who delivered big performances on Saturday.
“[Andy Iles] is such a confident kid. I think that is one of the things we talked about going into the game; he’s got a lot of confidence, he’s not really a true freshman, he played a college schedule last year in some of the most hostile rinks across the country with the U.S. National Team, but a great win for him, to get his first collegiate win,” Schafer said. “Kirill Gotovets got his first college goal, so it was a good night for the guys.”
While Iles was quite obviously pleased to earn his first regular season victory with the Red, he was quick to credit his stellar performance (he stopped 35 out of 36 shots on the night) to the actions of his defense.
“It’s a great feeling to get it out of the way, even better feeling though to face a little adversity and … it was important for us to go out there and have a good game tonight and everyone competed and everyone battled and everyone did their job. I think we cracked down defensively a lot; tried to minimize their chances. Our [defense] kept the shots to the outside the whole night and they did a great job in front of me,” Iles said.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys, a lot of different positions and [adjusting with improvements is] taking some time, and [it’s] a tough place to start [with] St. Lawrence/Clarkson on the road. It was a good win for us,” Schafer said.
Original Author: Zach Waller