This post has been updated.
After falling flat in two straight games at home to open the season a week ago, Cornell men’s hockey completed a four-point weekend to even its record and start ECAC play with a winning streak.
A three-goal outburst in the second period was enough for the Red (2-2, 2-0 ECAC) to earn a four-point weekend and improve to 2-0 in ECAC play with a 3-2 win over Brown (0-3-1, 0-2-1) on Saturday.
“Guys stepped up and did the job as far as picking up extra minutes [and] playing well defensively,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Just getting the job done and learning how to win again.”
Despite dominating play in the first period — outshooting Brown, 11-4 — Cornell entered the first intermission knotted at zero with the Bears.
But the Red wasted no time getting on the board in the second period. Senior defenseman and alternate captain Matt Nuttle scored to give Cornell a 1-0 lead via a behind-the-net feed from sophomore forward Cam Donaldson.
“It was nice to finally get on the board,” Nuttle said. “I thought we played pretty well in the first, I thought we had a lot of chances but we didn’t get a chance to bury. … [The first goal] proved important in both games this weekend.”
The Bears gave Cornell a quick scare in the second period, evening the score at 1-1. On the penalty kill — Jeff Malott was whistled for charging after a big hit in the neutral zone — sophomore forward Kyle Betts appeared to miraculously save a goal after the puck got past sophomore goaltender Matt Galajda. After a video review, however, the officials deemed the puck crossed the goal line in the air.
“I thought it was a clean hit, a lot of us thought it was, so we don’t mind killing those off,” Nuttle said of Malott’s penalty. “When Jeff goes out there and gets a good hit to kind of get the guys going usually you end up killing those ones off.”
Kyle Betts almost saved a goal with some incredible hand-eye coordination by batting the puck out of the air, but review deemed the puck to fully cross the line. pic.twitter.com/pMAdRjXzQq
— Cornell Daily Sun Sports (@DailySunSports) November 4, 2018
Brown showed much more life in the second period than it did in the first, testing Galajda more and outshooting Cornell, 15-11. Cornell was able to put three goals on the board despite going 0-for-2 on the power play in the period and 0-for-6 overall.
“I thought we did a good job of getting control in the second period,” said Schafer, who returned to the bench Saturday after missing Friday’s game due to a death in his family. “We had guys step up and get the job done.”
The tie lasted less than five minutes. Freshman forward Michael Regush scored his first collegiate goal 8:39 into the second to put the Red up for good. The rookie drove hard to the net and buried a feed from senior forward and captain Mitch Vanderlaan, who had received a pass from junior defenseman Yanni Kaldis.
“[Kaldis] made a nice stretch pass to [Vanderlaan] and he hit me going to the net and I took it there,” Regush said. “I was fortunate to get the bounce to go in there.”
Sophomore Morgan Barron, after scoring two goals in the Red’s 4-2 win over Yale on Friday, gave the Red a two-goal cushion by burying the rebound of a shot by freshman forward Max Andreev past Brown goaltender Gavin Nieto. Barron’s tally ultimately proved to be the game-winner.
On several occasions, including on the power play, Cornell just missed adding to its score. The Red had several scoring chances on the man advantage.
“[We need] to show a lot more poise around the net,” Schafer said. “We hit [Nieto] a lot in the chest. We got to take an extra tenth of a second to bear down on our offensive opportunities.”
Brown made things interesting again in the third period. Brent Beaudoin scored to make it 3-2 just just 3:41 into the final frame, and Cornell failed to capitalize on a pair of power play opportunities in the final 20 minutes.
Galajda made 23 total saves in the Red’s second straight win, including a few in the final minutes as Brown tried to tie the game. Cornell’s defensive unit was without sophomore Alex Green on Saturday, who was stretchered off the ice during Friday’s game with an injury that, according to associate head coach Ben Syer is “much better” than it initially appeared. Sophomore defenseman Matt Cairns filled in for the Red on Saturday.
Undefeated in league play but winless in nonconference games, the Red visits Northern Michigan on its first road trip of the season next Friday and Saturday.