February 6, 2011

Red Defeats Saints in Overtime Nailbiter

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Saturday night’s men’s hockey game again St. Lawrence ended in dramatic fashion. After topping Clarkson the previous night, the Red returned to Lynah to down its second ECAC opponent of the weekend as it outscored the Saints, 4-3.

Cornell (11-9-3, 9-5-2 ECAC Hockey) waited until well after the “Townies Up,” cheer to bury the tying goal in the back of the St. Lawrence (8-14-5, 4-10-1) cage. In a finish reminiscent of the Red’s 1979 ECAC quarterfinal win over the Providence Friars, senior right wing Joe Devin scored the tying goal with just 15 seconds left in regulation.

“It was a rollercoaster ride. Those ones feel good,” Devin said of the game’s exhilarating conclusion.

“It was great to hear Lynah that loud. So explosive, you could not even hear yourself think,” said sophomore forward Greg Miller, who sealed the deal for Cornell, sniping the game-winner halfway through the sudden death overtime. In less than a three minute interval, the Red went from a single goal-deficit and a pulled goalie to a pile of celebratory red and white jerseys.

The Red’s 1-0 lead was erased due in large part to a string of penalties late in the second period. After senior forward Dan Nichols received a five minute major for boarding, the Red drew a matched roughing penalty, and later a high-sticking penalty at the end of the first period. The Saints’ freshmen Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey capitalized on the Red’s affinity for the sin bin, with both forwards netting power play goals against the Red — the latter on a 5-on-3 situation to start off the third period.

“It was really frustrating. We took a really stupid penalty. There is no other way to say it,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 explained.  The Red showed the resilience tonight that the team had not displayed against St. Lawrence earlier in the season.  About his team in a November 3-0 loss at St. Lawrence, Shafer stated, “We hung our heads. As soon as [Flanagan] scored a 5-on-3 goal, the game was over.” In comparison, the Red demonstrated positive body language on the bench at Saturday’s game, even when the current situation looked bleak.

Of note is freshman Andy Iles’ performance in front of the net late in the third, at one point jumping to catch a flipped puck more like a centerfielder than a goaltender. The play allowed the Red to re-group with a face-off, and focus on applying the pressure that led to the tying goal six minutes later.

Sophomore defenseman Brandon Birch also scored for the Red in the third, changing the momentum towards Cornell’s favor after St. Lawrence pulled ahead with two power play goals. Senior Mike Devin matched his brother’s two goals with twin assists.

During the first intermission of Saturday’s game, the Red’s 1995-96 and 1996-97 ECAC Hockey championship teams were honored on Lynah ice and joined the current team in the locker room to celebrate the victory. The only other time Cornell has repeated the feat of consecutive ECAC championships was from 1967-70.

Despite some disappointments early in the season, the Red’s recent winning streak places the team in a position to vie for another pair of ECAC consecutive trophies after their 2010 success. “You could have the best winning tradition in the world, but every group of guys has to find their own way to win” Schafer said after the game.

Original Author: Rob Moore