Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Morgan Barron had 10 shots on goal in Cornell's 1-1 tie with RPI.

February 2, 2019

Opposing Goalies Continue to Frustrate No. 13/11 Men’s Hockey in Tie With Rensselaer

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Cornell men’s hockey can add another name to the list of goalies who will give them nightmares of what could have- been.

For the second time in the past three games — after Colgate’s Mitch Benson did so with 39 saves at Lynah Rink last Saturday — an opposing goalie robbed the Red of a potential victory. In Saturday’s 1-1 tie at Rensselaer, it was Owen Savory who prevented the Red from earning two points.

Savory, a freshman who entered Saturday with just two collegiate wins to his name, one-upped Benson and made 40 stops — none bigger than in a mad dash in overtime — to frustrate a Cornell team once again playing an opponent ranked far lower in the standings.

“Frustration would be the biggest thing tonight, to only come up with one goal with that many scoring chances,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86, whose team outshot the Engineers, 41-15.

After 40-plus minutes of scoreless hockey, Cornell broke through midway through the third period. The Red took advantage of a long power-play opportunity that came from a hard boarding of junior forward Jeff Malott. A two-minute retaliation roughing penalty on Cornell gave the Red three minutes on the man advantage.

On the power play, sophomore forward Morgan Barron, recently named the ECAC’s Player of the Month for January, fired a shot that was buried by senior forward and captain Mitch Vanderlaan to give the Red a 1-0 lead.

While it seemed like Vanderlaan’s goal might be enough, RPI tied the game at one just a few minutes later. A blocked shot in front of Cornell sophomore goaltender Matt Galajda eventually found its way through Galajda’s five-hole on the follow-up chance by Meirs Moore.

“We got the one-goal lead and then we didn’t come back in our own zone, didn’t get the job done defensively on the goal that goes in and sneaks through [Galajda] and gets into the back of the net,” Schafer said.

After shutting out Union on Friday, Galajda earned his second consecutive start over classmate Austin McGrath, the first time the former has started two games in a row since Nov. 17 and 24.

Although Cornell had plenty of scoring chances the rest of the way, Savory’s stellar play kept the game tied and prevented Cornell from picking up two points in the conference standings.

“I thought we wasted the first period. I thought they outworked us in the first period. They blocked shots, made big saves,” Schafer said. “Even at the end there we had some empty nets that we missed.”

But Cornell had its defensive showcases, too. Late in the third period, senior defenseman Matt Nuttle recovered on defense and stymied a golden 2-on-1 RPI chance with a diving poke check.

As for Barron, his 24 points lead the team, and the New York Rangers prospect has been a key piece of Cornell’s power-play success during the second half of the season.

Though he ended the night with just a secondary assist, Barron was Savory’s biggest nemesis on the day. The Cornell sophomore had an extraordinary 10 shots on Savory compared to RPI’s 15 in total and was consistently finding his teammates for chances in on the RPI backstop.

But only one of those looks broke through, and Cornell had to settle for a second consecutive weekend missing out on four points.

With the tie and Yale’s win over Brown, Cornell must wait another week to hope to clinch its second consecutive Ivy title, and the Red is now in a tie with the Bulldogs for first place atop the ECAC standings.

Cornell returns to Lynah Rink next weekend to take on third-place Clarkson and last-place St. Lawrence.