This post has been updated.
In a night decided by special teams — with a combined total of 15 penalties and six of the final eight goals scored on the man advantage — men’s hockey managed to pull off a victory over Princeton.
After letting up five goals to Quinnipiac and getting pulled in the third period, junior goaltender Matt Galajda returned to his post for the second night of the weekend. He exited the night with 12 saves on 15 shots.
“On the penalty kill, Matty’s gotta play better — and he knows that,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86 of his Hobey Baker Award-nominated netminder.
Cornell got the scoring started early when sophomore forward Max Andreev jumped out to put the Red on top, 1-0, before the halfway mark of the first period. Andreev returned this weekend after suffering an injury two weeks ago in the first game of the series against Northern Michigan.
10:05 into the period, Cornell struck again during a period of five-on-three play, when junior forward Tristan Mullin rebounded the puck by the Princeton net to widen the scoring deficit. It was his seventh goal of the season.
The Red killed two penalties in the first frame and exited it leading, 2-0. But the lead would soon be gone.
The Tigers clawed back in on a power play of their own after Andreev got called for roughing following a scrum near the Princeton net. Princeton’s Mark Paolini was the first to strike for his team, halving Cornell’s lead. With 2:15 left in the period, Princeton’s Spencer Kersten found the back of the net, again on the power play after Andreev was again sent to the penalty box.
“I don’t know what to make of the game tonight, there’s no rhyme or reason, hard to figure out with the penalty calls tonight,” Schafer said. “But it was a special teams game.”
Each of Princeton’s three goals came during five-on-four play — it was the first time since Feb. 2018 that three power-play goals were scored against Cornell. That was 60 games ago.
“I was pretty happy with our discipline tonight, but I don’t know — I’m trying to figure out where the [penalty] calls came from,” Schafer said.
Despite a scoreless period from the Red, Cornell still outshot Princeton by seven shots on goal in that second frame.
The third period started with a clean slate, Princeton having knotted the game at two. The fate of the tilt would all come down to the final 20 minutes.
The next goal would come again on the power play — but this time from Cornell junior forward Alex Green, who sent the puck in from the point to put Cornell back on top with 14:40 left in the period.
The Red wouldn’t have to wait much longer for its next goal, which came in the form of freshman forward Ben Tupker’s second goal of his collegiate career. It would be the last full-strength goal of the night for either team.
By the end of the night, Cornell would best Princeton in shots on goal, 36-15.
Cornell and Princeton traded turns getting another power-play goal each — first, Princeton came back within one goal to put the pressure on Cornell with eight minutes left in the tilt.
“We’ve killed off [penalties in] six or seven straight games without giving up one, we gave up three tonight,” Schafer said. “So go figure.”
But Mullin would be back again, scoring his second goal on the man advantage of the night with less than a minute left in the game.
With 50 seconds left, the score was now 5-3 — where it would stay until the final buzzer sounded.
Cornell will return home Friday to face Colgate at 7 p.m.