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In a defensive battle that has become typical when the two teams meet, Cornell fell to No. 7 Quinnipiac, 2-0, in Hamden, Connecticut on Saturday night.
Cornell (1-3, 1-1 ECAC) knew coming in that success on the power play would be critical to scoring against the Bobcats (5-1-2, 2-0 ECAC). All three of Cornell’s goals across a pair of low scoring games against Quinnipiac last season came on power plays.
Cornell went 0-4 on power plays and was suffocated by Quinnipiac’s defense at full strength. The Red was shutout for the first time since a game at Quinnipiac on Jan. 31, 2020.
The Red could not keep up with Quinnipiac out of the gate, playing the majority of the first period in its defensive end. The Bobcats outshot Cornell 18-0 in the first period.
The lopsided opening frame resulted in a 1-0 lead for Quinnipiac through the first twenty minutes. The Bobcats’ goal came with five minutes left in the first period off of a shot from the blue line that was deflected past sophomore goaltender Ian Shane, whose vision was screened.
Shane was tested frequently. He finished with 26 saves on 27 shots.
Despite a period to forget on the offensive end of the ice, the bright spots for Cornell were two big penalty kills against a dangerous Quinnipiac power play. The Red killed the first power play five and a half minutes into the game and prevented Quinnipiac from extending its lead in the final minutes of the period with another kill thanks to big blocks by senior forward Matt Stienburg and senior defenseman Travis Mitchell.
The Red did not fare much better in the second period on offense. Cornell managed four shots on goal in the second period, and came away from consecutive power plays, including a minute of five-on-three, empty handed.
The highlight of the second period for Cornell was a five minute penalty kill about midway through the period. Junior forward Gabe Seger was ejected from the game on a hitting from behind penalty, but the Bobcats could not put much together on the extended power play.
The teams’ lack of success on the power plays kept the middle frame scoreless.
Cornell had two opportunities to even the score on power plays in the first ten minutes of the third period, but only managed one shot across the two power plays. Cornell notched five shots on goal in the third period.
The Red could not break through down the stretch of the game. Cornell pulled Shane with just under two minutes left in the game and took a timeout to draw up a play with an extra attacker. Senior forward Ben Berard took two shots from the same area where he notched an overtime game winner against Quinnipiac last season, but the first went high and the second was blocked.
Quinnipiac added an empty net goal in the final seconds to ice the game.
Cornell will look to bounce back from the close loss next weekend when it travels to St. Lawrence and Clarkson.