Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell celebrates after scoring against Yale on Friday.

November 19, 2022

Men’s Hockey Defeats Brown, Completes Weekend Sweep

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This story has been updated.

Men’s hockey completed a six-point weekend by defeating Brown, 5-1, on Saturday night.

After playing a sloppy third period in an otherwise commanding win over Yale on Friday night, the Red (4-4, 4-2 ECAC) made a few mistakes in the first period against Brown (1-6-1, 1-6-1 ECAC).

“We got off to a little bit of a slow start,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. 

Less than a minute into the game, freshman forward Dalton Bancroft took a power play in Cornell’s offensive zone. Shortly after the Red killed Bancroft’s penalty, junior forward Jack O’Leary put Cornell on the board by crashing the crease and putting one in the top shelf to give Cornell an early 1-0 lead.

“It wasn’t the ideal start, but I think it shows a lot of character for us to bounce back,” said senior forward Matt Stienburg. “Being back at home and having the crowd helped us.”

Two minutes after O’Leary’s goal the Red had an opportunity to extend its lead when it went on its first power play of the game. Instead, a Cornell turnover allowed the Bears to score short-handed to tie the game at 1-1.

The tie lasted until 15 minutes into the period when Cornell was awarded its second power play of the game. This time, the Red converted on the man advantage. Stienburg, one of Cornell’s leading producers on offense last season, scored his first goal of the season off a pass from junior forward Gabe Seger to give Cornell a 2-1 lead.

“[Seger] made a great play to kick it out to me there and I was fortunate enough to find a hole,” Stienburg said. “I think it goes back to chemistry and just knowing where each other is.”

For the second night in a row, Cornell had a strong second period. The Red scored early on when freshman forward Sean Donaldson dropped a pass off in front of the blue line for junior defenseman Jack Lagerstrom, who fired an innocuous shot toward the net. The puck snuck below Brown’s Mathieu Caron’s pads and slid to the back of the net for Lagerstrom’s first career goal.

Two big saves by freshman goaltender Remington Keopple preserved Cornell’s lead. Six minutes into the period, Brown’s forecheck induced a turnover and gave the Bears an open look at the net. Keopple clutched Brown’s shot to his chest. 

“He made those big saves and kept the game at 3-1,” Schafer said. “That was huge for him to come out, and it was great to see him get his first collegiate win.”

With less than ten minutes left in the period, Keopple made another impressive stop when he dove to his left to stop a one-timer across his body.

“I just saw a guy back door and kind of sprawled out,” Keopple said. “Got lucky and it hit me.”

Keopple’s big save immediately led to a chance on the other end. Cornell collected the puck  and stormed up the ice with a three-on-one advantage. Caron stopped the Red’s initial shot, but Cornell poked it free from his grasp and caught him out of position. After a bit of poking and slashing in front of the net, freshman forward Winter Wallace finally buried the puck to give Cornell a 4-1 lead. 

Keopple played the first full game of his career after being pulled midway through starts at Minnesota Duluth and Clarkson. He finished with 17 saves on 18 shots.

“He was unbelievable,” Stienburg said. “It’s definitely a strength of our team this year, the depth in net… Those guys feed off each other and I think that rubs off on the rest of the group.”

Brown could not cut into Cornell’s lead at the start of the third period. Offsetting penalties early in the period sent the game to two minutes of four-on-four, but neither team took advantage of the extra ice. Brown also came away from a power play with 12 minutes left in the game empty handed.

Just over eight minutes to go in the game, Cornell extended its lead to 5-1 with another power play goal. Bancroft skated through the slot with the puck before feeding it behind his back to a wide open Kyle Penney. The junior forward buried the open look from the slot to bring Cornell’s lead to four and close the scoring for the night.

The Red finished 2/3 on power plays on Saturday for the second consecutive night.

“We changed some things, changed some personnel and moved some guys around. I thought it worked out pretty well for us this weekend,” Schafer said. “

The win sends Cornell into a break from ECAC play, but not from competition. Cornell hosts Sacred Heart at Lynah on Tuesday night before playing UConn at Madison Square Garden next Saturday.

“[Tuesday] is huge for us. We’ve got ourselves back to .500 and we’ve got four games left before Christmas break,” Schafer said. “We’ve gotta do a good job against Sacred Heart.”