A goal 20 seconds into overtime Saturday evening handed the Cornell men’s hockey team its second 2-1 overtime loss on a frustrating road trip.
Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 expressed the team’s frustration coming out of Saturday night’s game.
“The whole weekend was frustrating in the sense of back-to-back overtime losses on the road,” he said. “There’s not much you can say.”
The Red (11-7-3, 6-6-2 ECAC) faced off against the Clarkson Golden Knights (13-10-3, 5-6-3) on Friday in Potsdam, N.Y. The Knights were fierce out of the gate, dominating Cornell in the first period with 11 shots compared to the Red’s two. Nevertheless, both sides were scoreless at the end of the period.
Cornell got back on track in the second period after Clarkson committed a pair of penalties early in the period. At the end of the second-man advantage, freshmen forwards Anthony Angello and Mitch Vanderlaan were able to link up for Vanderlaan’s sixth goal of the season. This put the Red up 1-0 four minutes into the second quarter.
Clarkson took the momentum right back from Cornell right before second intermission. Junior James de Haas of the Golden Knights put the puck past junior goalie Mitch Gillam from the top of the faceoff circle. The game remained even at 1-1 until overtime.
The officials called Angello for holding a little more than halfway through overtime, which proved costly for Cornell. Clarkson’s Terrance Amorosa fired a one-timer from the top of the right circle to give Cornell the loss with less than 30 seconds left in overtime. Schafer and the Red left Friday empty handed.
“What was … frustrating was an absolutely brutal call by the official that led to a powerplay,” Schafer said. “[Amorosa] shot the puck in front of our net and it hit our defensemen and went in.”
Schafer is confident the Red can bounce back from the unfortunate end to the game.
“We’re not happy about it,” he said. “But I think it is something we will overcome and gain our confidence back working hard as a team.”
Gillam, who had 30 saves against the Golden Knights, ended the weekend with a remarkable 66 saves.
“He did a tremendous job over … the weekend,” Schafer noted. “I thought it was one of the best weekends he’s had this year.”
Cornell stayed in Northern New York for Saturday night’s contest against the Saints of St. Lawrence (13-11-2, 7-6-1) — another 2-1 overtime loss.
The first of five power plays against the Saints saw the squad’s one and only goal from junior center Jake Weidner.
Sophomore forward Trevor Yates and junior forward Matt Buckles helped work the puck from the end boards to Weidner, who was sitting above the slot. Weidner placed the shot above St. Lawrence goalie Kyle Hayton’s blocker to make the game 1-0 in favor of Cornell.
Gillam and Hayton kept the game quiet until eight minutes left in the third period, when the Saints finally broke through with a goal of their own.
“The guys up top lost their defensemen and their kid made a great shot,” Schafer said. “Leading up to that point in time there were a lot of turnovers in our own zone.”
Schafer immediately called a timeout following the tying goal to try and send the Cornell players a message.
“The message was we were getting away from [our plan],” Schafer said. “We were turning pucks over in the neutral zone.”
“[We needed to be] stronger on our exits and entries,” he said. “It’s something we talked a lot about but didn’t execute in the third.”
St. Lawrence stomped on Cornell in the third, outshooting the Red 19-7.
The Saints got their first chance in overtime early on, and it was all they needed. The Red turned the puck over in left corner of the rink, when the Saints’ Joe Sullivan came away from the corner with the puck and backhanded it past Gillam to send Cornell packing.
The team is now left to reassess where to go from here after a particularly tough stretch of losses. Cornell has only scored seven goals in its last 6 games.
“We are now understanding that when we play well we do certain things, and when we don’t play well we do certain things,” Schafer said.
“We were very consistent doing those things like not turning pucks over in the neutral zone at the start of the year,” he continued. “Now we have got ourselves in a funk [because] guys … are trying to do too much.”
After an important week of practice coming up, Cornell will take on the consensus No. 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats (20-1-5, 11-0-3) on Friday. It is truly an uphill battle for Schafer and the Red going forward.