For an intensive, blow-by-blow recap of the win over Colgate, click here.
Freshman forward Jeff Malott does not score a ton of goals, but when he does, he does it in style.
With just over two minutes left to play in the second period tonight, the freshman drove the puck end-to-end for a beautiful goal that was the icing on the cake for Cornell’s 4-0 win over Colgate Tuesday night. It was his fourth of the year, with his other three coming in hat trick fashion within the confines of the first period against Princeton earlier in the season.
“Took me a while to get my first one, but nice to chip in every now and then,” he said. “The puck kind of squirted out [tonight] and I just picked it up and saw some ice. Coaches have gotten on me to move my feet lately, so thought I would give it a shot.”
Colgate (6-17-5, 4-10-2 ECAC) has been rather kind to Malott, who notched his first career point when visiting Hamilton earlier in the season — a nifty assist to senior forward Eric Freschi. But Malott has been held idle due to injury for some time before this past weekend, forced to sit out against both Harvard and Dartmouth — two games where Cornell (15-6-2, 104-2) led, but let the game slip away.
A recent glaring problem for the Red has been giving up the lead, especially at home. Both losses to Harvard and Dartmouth at the end of January, as well as the win at Union last Friday, were instances where the Red let a lead slip away. However, in the Union game, the team was able to rally and come out on top.
Against Colgate, this problem seemed resolved. Cornell held a two-goal lead a little over halfway into the first, and added two more before the second intermission. Malott’s proved to be the fourth and final, and senior goalie Mitch Gillam’s 10th career shutout certainly helped as well.
“Biggest thing in hockey is that when you get the lead, the other team changes. They start to gamble, push up more,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “You have to make puck plays a little quicker and then you have to capitalize on chances … We want to continue to push the envelope and execute with regards to burying scoring chances. You do that, and then you put games out of reach.”
Even though Cornell was able to stave off the Raiders throughout the game, the team lagged a bit in the third, at least on the scoresheet. Part of that can be attributed to Schafer’s comment that teams take risks when down, as Colgate took a notably different approach when down and outshot Cornell 12-7 in the final frame. But Gillam responded well, and went on to record his second shutout of the season.
“It was nice. I saw every shot, they didn’t throw too many bodies around me on the power play or anything.” Gillam said. “It was really nice to see a little bit more shots than I usually see tonight.”
Seniors Holden Anderson and Matt Buckles, along with junior Trevor Yates’ ninth goal to tie for the team lead, provided all the other scoring that was not even necessary with Gillam blanking the Raiders’ offense.
With the win, Cornell leapfrogs Quinnipiac (16-11-2, 10-6-1) into fourth place within the ECAC for the time being. The Red has one game in hand over the Bobcats, but that gap will close this weekend as Quinnipiac only hosts Clarkson this weekend.
“We are just trying to focus on ourselves in the dressing room,” Gillam said when asked about scoreboard watching. “Last couple years have been frustrating not getting into the tournament, … but we just need to focus on ourselves and take it one period at a time and one shift at a time.”
Yet again, Cornell faces a quick turnaround when it plays host to Ivy and ECAC foes Yale (10-9-4, 6-7-3) and Brown (4-17-2, 3-12-1) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Red visited both teams earlier in the season, sweeping the weekend series along the Atlantic coast and outscoring the two 10-5 over the weekend.
Yale — picked to finish within the top five of the ECAC in both preseason polls — once looked like it would fall far short of expectations, winning just two of its first eight games. But since then, the Bulldogs seem to have found their scoring knack, defeating teams like Clarkson, Northeastern, Dartmouth — by seven goals — and drawing a tie with Harvard.
But getting swept by both Quinnipiac and Princeton at home has set Yale back a bit, and the Bulldogs currently sit at seventh in the ECAC.
Patrick Spano leads the Bulldogs in net, posting a 2.54 goals against average and .909 save percentage. Cornell got to Spano earlier in the season, forcing the senior to concede five goals in less than two periods, resulting in him being pulled.
Brown, on the other hand, currently sits in the basement of the league, posting only three wins within the conference, including over Colgate. Sam Lafferty paces the Bears in points with 28, 20 of which are assists. Picked by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft along with Cornell’s sophomore forward Anthony Angello, Lafferty’s keen playmaking abilities have made him a staple of the Brown offense.
“It’s just making sure that we move on to the next one,” Malott said about preparing for a quick turnaround. “[Colgate] is kind of a game we expected to win and it’s just focusing on the weekend.”
“We’ll park [the Colgate game] and get ready to execute against Yale,” Schafer said. “You ask our guys, and they would rather have [tonight’s game] than a tough Tuesday practice.”