This story has been updated.
No. 16 Cornell men’s hockey (6-4-1, 3-4-1 ECAC) concluded the first half of its season with a loss against the Colgate Raiders (6-8-2, 3-4-1 ECAC) in the final game of its home-and-home series on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Lynah Rink. The Red is now a surprising 0-2-1 in its last three home games.
“I don’t know when the last time that’s happened,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86, referring to their home record as of late.
“I told [the players] after the game, it’s been so long since I’ve been this pissed off, angry and disappointed in a hockey team,” Schafer said.
“Just so many mistakes throughout the course of the night,” Schafer explained. “We talked about trying to grow as a hockey team, and we’ve made some good strides, and we just reverted back to some terrible habits tonight.”
Part of it may have been how Cornell played, going 0-4 on the power play and taking errant penalties. But another part was the increased offensive pressure by Colgate and the stellar job of netminder Carter Guylander.
“Guylander played well,” Schafer said. “[He] played well last night, he played well again tonight.”
“He outplayed Ian [Shane] tonight and that doesn’t happen very often.”
Just like Friday’s game, it was another night highlighted by the pesky forechecking of the Raiders. In an interesting move, the Raiders lined up at Lynah with only four defenseman and 15 forwards, a change from Friday night’s five defenseman, 14 forward lineup. Colgate senior captain Pierson Brandon was a scratch in Friday’s game and once again on Saturday as well.
And the increase in forwards was very much evident throughout the course of the game.
The game began the same way the past two games began, with an opening faceoff win by senior forward Gabriel Seger. Seger has become Cornell’s faceoff specialist as of late, winning almost 70 percent of his faceoffs on Friday night.
Despite the Red controlling the puck early on, it was junior goaltender Ian Shane that was tested first. He made a pad save and a Cornell skater controlled the rebound. Another show-stopping Shane save was made to keep Colgate off the board early in the first.
Cornell answered with two more close shots on their own, forcing Guylander to make a shaky glove save on the latter. Another good chance came when sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft had a breakaway chance and passed it to Walsh, but Guylander made a pad save to stop it.
The Red dominated offensive zone time for the majority of the first period, including a two-minute stretch where Cornell peppered Guylander with seven shots, three of which were on goal.
Despite not being able to find the net, it was the Red who had the opportunity to strike first as they earned the first power play of the night with Colgate’s Jake Schneider going to the box on a holding call at the 14-minute mark. Cornell, despite some good chances, was unable to convert.
After a few more minutes of back-and-forth it was the Raiders who struck first, with Schneider slipping one past Shane with just under two minutes left in the period.
Though 1-0 down, Cornell had outshot the Raiders 13-6 at the end of the first.
However, it didn’t take long for Cornell to answer in the second. A backhand pass from sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft found freshman forward Ryan Walsh right in front of the net, who then tipped it in to even the game.
The Red didn’t have much time to celebrate as it was right back to work after junior forward Jack O’Leary was sent to the box six seconds later on a tripping call.
Cornell successfully killed off the penalty, limiting the Raiders to only one shot on goal. And it was back to even strength for the Red.
Both teams once again alternated control, with each team having good chances. Guylander and Shane stood strong on both ends keeping the score knotted at one.
Just over halfway through the period, Colgate’s Brett Chorske gave the Raiders the lead after his shot ricocheted off of Shane’s left glove and the crossbar and went in. Colgate now led 2-1.
Shortly after, junior forward Sullivan Mack, on a breakaway attempt, was tripped up by Reid Irwin right as he got control of the puck. Mack was awarded a penalty shot as a result. It was Cornell’s first penalty shot at home since 2017.
Mack deked and scored, tying the game at two-apiece. It was Mack’s first goal of the season and the first penalty shot goal by a Cornell player at Lynah Rink since 1987, when hall of famer Joe Nieuwendyk scored on a penalty shot against RPI.
The Red had an opportunity to get its first lead of the game as just over two minutes later, Irwin headed to the box after yet another tripping penalty, this time giving Cornell a power-play chance. The Red was unable to register a shot on goal and time ran out on the man-advantage.
It was once again more back-and-forth opportunities as the clock ran out on the second frame, keeping the game tied heading into the final period.
Entering the third, It didn’t take long for Colgate to regain its lead, as 1:16 in, Irwin found the back of the net, giving the Raiders the 3-2 lead.
“The way we started the third period, in our own rink, was one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had coaching here for 29 years,” Schafer said. “To come out and be lackadaisical and [have] the game on the line, 2-2, and give up a goal? I’d say that was embarrassing.”
Down so early, Cornell looked to tie it back up immediately with three more shots of its own before junior defenseman Michael Suda was called for tripping, forcing Cornell back on the penalty kill. It took all its might to keep the Raiders from scoring, with Cornell defenders diving and blocking shots left and right. After a flurry of Colgate shots, the Red was able to clear the puck out of its defensive zone, giving the PK unit some breathing room. Mack got a hold of the puck, and attempted to score short handed, but the puck hit the glass behind the net.
Time ran out on the Suda penalty, and it was another successful penalty kill by the Red. It was back to even strength and right back to work for Cornell, who continued its search for the tying goal.
The Red had another opportunity on the power play shortly after as the Raiders’ Nick Anderson was called for hooking. While Cornell had some good looks, none were able to make it past Guylander.
Even after time ran out on the man-advantage, the Red continued to push offensively until about a minute and a half later, when freshman defenseman Hoyt Stanley was called for cross checking.
In yet another man-down situation, Shane and the rest of the PK unit stood strong, keeping the Raiders from adding to its lead. The Red even had a shorthanded opportunity, but it was an incomplete pass by Penney intended for Seger who was right at the doorstep, causing a turnover.
It was less than three minutes of even strength before yet another penalty, this time by Colgate. The Red continued to keep the pressure during the man-advantage, but was still unable to convert.
“When your power play is not getting the job done, it’s frustrating,” Schafer said. “They couldn’t make it a 3-3 game tonight.”
With less than two minutes remaining, Cornell opted to pull Shane in favor of the extra attacker. With an empty net, the Raiders almost scored, however, the puck just missed the net.
Colgate had another opportunity, this time from Ryan McGuire. After a battle for the puck behind the empty net, the puck came loose and landed in the hands of McGuire. Junior forward Ondrej Psenicka dived in front of the empty net, but his attempt to block it came just short as McGuire shot it past him and into the empty net. Psenicka laid there for a few extra seconds, embodying the feelings of the team in the final moments.
It was the final nail in the coffin that the Red could not recover from. Shane returned to the net for whatever time was left.
The clock ran out, and the Raiders handed Cornell its fourth loss of the season.
“We’re learning,” Schafer added. “It really stinks to have to learn these hard lessons of losing these kinda games where we took a step forward, [but] we didn’t take the next step…that happened at the start of the year, we went 4-0, then we didn’t take the next step,” Schafer said, referring to Cornell’s four-game winless skid after starting the season undefeated.
Looking to put this tough loss in the rearview mirror, Cornell will head to its much-needed winter break. The next time the Red take the ice, it will be in Lake Placid for the Adirondack Winter Invitational on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30.
“[We’re] gonna eat this loss the whole holiday break,” Schafer said. ”We’ve got a lot of work to do and it’s disappointing that all the work we’re putting in didn’t translate into [the] guys.”