Michael Wenye Li / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Junior defenseman Matt Nuttle earned his fourth straight game with a point as the Red bested ECAC opponent Brown in Providence.

January 14, 2018

No. 4 Men’s Hockey Handles Brown Behind Stifling Defense

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Following up on a night in which last-minute desperation goal from Yale took away the near-win for Cornell, the Red bounced back with a convincing 3-1 victory on the road against Brown.

Junior forwards Mitch Vanderlaan and Anthony Angello, and junior defenseman Matt Nuttle put points on the board to power Cornell (14-2-1, 8-1-1 ECAC) to the win. Freshman goaltender Matt Galajda highlighted the defensive effort once again, stopping 18 shots against Brown (5-10-3, 4-8) and earning his ninth win in the process.

“We had big blocked shots by guys when we had to, [and played] good team defense,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.

After a tough finish at Yale, the Red left nothing to chance in the final minutes of Saturday’s game. Eight minutes into the third period, a flurry of shots at Brown goalie Luke Kania’s crease put Nuttle in position to tap in a loose puck and give the Red a two-goal lead.

“I’ve been on the other side of it enough so I kind of knew what they were thinking,” Nuttle said. “The [Brown defenseman] was a little stunned the puck hit him and I was lucky enough the puck was sitting there and I got a good whack at it.”

With the late-game goal, Nuttle notched his second of the season. The defenseman now has points in each of his last four games after earning assists against Princeton, Quinnipiac and Yale.

“The puck is kind of bouncing my way right now,” Nuttle said. “Our defense is doing a great job getting up weak side and creating a lot of offense.”

Despite cementing the win with some late game action, Cornell controlled the contest from the opening faceoff, with Vanderlaan clanking a puck off the crossbar just 12 seconds in.

Early chances finally paid off 16:36 into the first when Vanderlaan sent home the rebound off a shot from Angello. However, Brown’s Max Gottlieb was able to put in the equalizer in the final minute of play in the opening period.

“We definitely didn’t think that we played bad by any means in the first period, just we were kind of looking for some bounces and they kind of came our way in the end of the game,” Nuttle said.

It didn’t take as long for the Red to find the back of the net in the second, as Angello deflected a shot behind Kania at the 4:43 mark. The forward now has five points in his last four games.

The Cornell defense stood tall against the Bears and helped its own cause by staying out of the penalty box; the Red took two penalties following a night after committing just one against Yale.

“It was good road hockey,” Schafer said. “[We were] disciplined [and] we got things to work on, but overall to get three points and keep ourselves each weekend responding to what happened the night before [is] what we got to focus on.”

The Red improved to 3-0-1 in its stretch of 16 straight conference tilts and now takes sole possession of second place in ECAC hockey.

Cornell will return home briefly on Friday, Jan. 19 to take on Colgate before taking the road for the back end of a home-and-home series with the Raiders.