Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Photography Editor

Cornell settled for its second tie of the weekend, this time battling Harvard to a 2-2 draw and losing the shootout.

January 29, 2022

No. 8 Men’s Hockey Stuck with Second Tie of the Weekend Against Rival Harvard

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On Saturday night, for the first time in two years, Lynah Rink smelled like fish. It could only mean one thing – Harvard was back in town.

The Lynah Faithful were a bit slow to welcome the visitors from Cambridge, but by the time Harvard’s Mitchell Gibson led his team out to the blue line, the first fish was in the air.

While the tradition continued, the ice was littered with fewer fish than in previous years. Lynah Rink was capped at 50% capacity on Saturday night.

“You can certainly tell that there’s less people in there,” said Associate Head Coach Ben Syer. “It’s going to be really nice once we can get everybody back in the building.”

The matchup, which is always the subject of anticipation and excitement on the parts of players and the Faithful, was an especially important one for Cornell after it settled for a disappointing tie on Friday night against Dartmouth.

For the second night in a row, Cornell (13-4-3, 8-2-3 ECAC) was left without a decisive outcome, as it battled the Crimson (10-7-5, 8-5-2 ECAC) to a 2-2 tie. Mirroring Friday night’s outcome, Cornell came up short in the shootout and walked away with one point in the ECAC standings.

The game was the second consecutive tie between Harvard and Cornell at Lynah. The rivals skated to a 1-1 tie in January 2020, the last time Harvard visited Lynah.

Just over a minute after the fish remnants had been scraped off the ice, Cornell went on its first power play of the night. While Cornell struggled on its first few power play tries on Friday night, it was effective early on against Harvard.

20 seconds into the power play, senior tri-captain Brenden Locke gave Cornell a 1-0 lead when he scooped up a rebound in the faceoff circle and fired the puck to the back of the net. 

Cornell celebrates after Brenden Locke’s power play goal gave the Red the lead early in the first period. (Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Photography Editor)

The early lead provided a notable advantage for Cornell after it conceded the first goal in its games against Princeton and Dartmouth. Cornell entered the contest with a 9-2-1 record when scoring the first goal of the game.

The Red continued its strong start, jumping out to a 6-2 lead in shots through the first six minutes, but played sloppily and afforded Harvard plenty of chances for the rest of the period.

Harvard finished the period with a 15-8 lead in shots but was unable to score. Freshman goaltender Ian Shane allowed juicy rebounds in the crease and slot, but Harvard was unable to convert on its chances.

“They’re an extremely skilled team, so you can’t give them a lot of opportunities,” Syer said. “You’ve got to continue to stay on top of them and frustrate them and not give them time and space to get shots.”

The Crimson’s fortunes changed early in the second period. Marshall Rifai put Harvard on the board with 18:39 left in the second, firing a shot from above the faceoff circle past Shane’s blocker to even the score at 1-1.

Harvard kept pressing, hitting the crossbar with a shot less than a minute later and eventually taking a 2-1 lead at the 15:37 mark. The Crimson caught Shane out of position after making a save. Locke got in the way of Harvard’s first look at the open side of the net, but Matthew Coronato poked the puck in.

Cornell’s cold streak continued past the midway point of the period. The Red only notched one shot in the first half of the period, eventually falling behind 23-9 in the shots department.

The Red started to put things together after the media timeout. 

“We reminded the guys of how important it is to have some [offensive] zone time and to be physical,” Syer said. “I thought they finished the period pretty strong.”

With 9:20 left, Gibson made a quick glove save on junior defenseman Travis Mitchell’s shot from the high slot. 20 seconds later, Conell scored to tie the game.

With 8:59 to go in the second, senior tri-captain Kyle Betts snuck a pass through the crease to junior forward Matt Stienburg, who connected to even the score at 2-2.

Matt Stienburg (20) celebrates after tying the game in the second period. (Ben Parker/Sun Senior Editor)

The Red generated momentum after Stienburg’s goal. With under five minutes left, a series of shots put Gibson on his side, but Cornell could not find any open lanes to shoot at the unprotected net.

The two teams went to the second intermission in a 2-2 deadlock.

With both teams eager for a third period lead, Cornell and Harvard played a neck and neck start to the final frame.

The Red had two long possessions in its offensive zone early in the period, and Harvard got some chances in the middle of the period, but both goaltenders made five saves in the first 12 minutes of the period to keep the score tied.

Shane’s play kept the Red in the contest. While the freshman goaltender did allow Harvard a few chances off of rebounds, he also made some nice saves and did a good job of seeing the puck through traffic. He finished with 34 saves on 36 shots.

“I think [Shane] had another really good night,” Syer said. “He competed and gave us an opportunity to come away with a tie.”

Neither team could break the deadlock down the stretch of the third and, for the third game in a row, Cornell went into three-on-three overtime.

While Cornell entered the night with a 4-0-2 record in overtimes, Harvard’s talented forwards make the Crimson a dangerous team to face in the three-on-three format.

The two teams traded chances in overtime, but neither found the back of the net, giving Cornell its second tie in as many nights.

Cornell fared better in Saturday night’s shootout, going six rounds with the Crimson before coming up short. While the game ended in a tie, Harvard left Lynah with two league points while Cornell was stuck with one.

Cornell will look for a more decisive outcome in its Tuesday game with Brown.

The two results this weekend, while not losses, were still disappointing and marked the end of an up-and-down January for Cornell.

The Red was swept by Arizona State to open 2022, but bounced back the next weekend and swept then No. 5 North Dakota. After an easy win at Yale, Cornell came back to Lynah and fell to Princeton before bouncing back with an overtime win over then No. 1 Quinnipiac. The two ties this weekend round out a 4-3-2 month.

“It’s definitely a tough situation. I think ultimately we just have to stay positive and keep on grinding,” Locke said. “I don’t think there’s any huge, gigantic change we have to make. It’s just everyone buying in and making sure we’re attentive to the small details.”