On Saturday night Lynah Rink was packed to the brim, filled with 4,037 fans in anticipation of the men’s hockey team punching its ticket to Atlantic City, N.J. for the ECAC semifinals. While the wooden rafters and dangling insulation panels remained intact atop East Hill’s most famous sporting venue, the modern technology necessary for official review failed the Red and delayed any chance at the team advancing to the final weekend in the conference playoffs.
Cornell (14-14-3, 11-9-2 ECAC Hockey) was unable to rebound from the no goal call absent video review late in the first period, failing to muster any offense in a narrow defeat, 1-0, at the hands of Quinnipiac (16-14-8, 6-9-7).
The Bobcats arrived first on the scoreboard at 14:12 when sophomore center Jeremy Langlois took the puck into the Red’s defensive zone after forcing a turnover from Cornell junior center Jordan Kary, beating freshman goaltender Andy Iles for what would prove to be the game-winner.
“The little turnover off of a face-off came right back at us and we didn’t jam [Langlois] up and that goal stood for the rest of the night,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86 when asked to recount the game’s lone goal. “We knew it was going to be this type of series going in. We had our opportunities tonight … we get another opportunity [Sunday] night.”
The Red appeared to even things up when senior right-winger and co-captain Joe Devin fired off a hard shot from between the circles, forcing Quinnipiac sophomore net minder Eric Hartzell to turn around in search of the puck that had clanked off the post. After the play was whistled down the officials gathered to look over the video evidence only to find that no such evidence existed.
“I talked to the referee and it wasn’t reviewed because our people who are supposed to set it up didn’t get there,” Schafer explained. “[The situation] was disappointing. It’s those kinds of things at this time of year — you talk about being detail oriented — that hurt us … tonight. The referee realized how important of a call it was and tried his best to figure out if he could find the information and he couldn’t, and therefore it was no goal.”
The first period concluded with little fanfare until senior left-winger and co-captain Patrick Kennedy was sent to the box with six seconds left for roughing — the Red’s third penalty of the night. As was the theme of Friday night’s contest, Cornell was once again able to kill off all of its penalty situations, upping the 84.2-percent efficiency rate that the team had compiled prior to this weekend’s action. Despite the loss, the player teammates aptly refer to as P.K. was able to take away a few positives heading into Sunday night’s contest.
“We had a really good first period and third period,” Kennedy explained. “The second period they took it to us. It was a tight-checking game all night and one goal proved to be the winner.”
While neither team was able to score after the first period, there was a flurry of scoring opportunities throughout the final 40 minutes of action. Unfortunately for the Red, most of these chances were created by a Quinnipiac opponent that generated 31 shots on goal a night after saddling junior goalie Mike Garman with 37 shots. The Bobcats have out-shot the Red by a wide margin, 68-51, over the first two games of this best-of-three series; however, Schafer maintains that the number of shots taken is not necessarily an indication of offensive success.
“Shots can be one of the most misleading statistics,” Schafer said. “I thought [Friday] night … we had a lot of quality scoring chances in the second. When you go back on the video you want to really look at scoring chances as the most important aspect of tonight, and we’ll go back … and look at what kinds of scoring chances we gave up and what kinds of scoring chances we created. I felt we created enough to give ourselves an opportunity to win tonight and I just give credit to their goaltender — he played very well.”
Cornell also managed to stay out of the penalty box in the final two periods just one night after committing an astounding nine minor penalties in 60 minutes. Despite the lack of penalties, Kennedy did not feel that a meeting between the captains and officials at the conclusion of the first period brought about a more disciplined style of play in the last 40 minutes.
“It’s playoffs so the games are always kind of tough-hitting and tight-checking, but the referees did a pretty good job tonight of keeping … hits to the head away and keeping things under control. Discipline is always a key thing when you’re in the playoffs,” Kennedy said.
In fact, Kennedy expects Sunday’s game three action to be more physical than the play that has characterized the first two games of this quarterfinal series.
“I think it’s just going to be almost the same [level of physicality] if not more,” Kennedy added. “It’s do-or-die for both teams, so there’s going to be a lot of emotions running high [Sunday]. The physicality is probably going to step up.”
Original Author: Evan Rich