Coming off an emotional win against Harvard the night prior, men’s hockey (11-4-4, 6-4-2 ECAC) traveled to Hanover, NH to take on Dartmouth (5-8-7, 3-5-5 ECAC) in an imperative Ivy League matchup. Cornell struggled to adjust to the penalty-riddled contest, ultimately tying the Big Green and losing in the shootout.
The game mirrored that of the first matchup between the Red and the Big Green, as both teams couldn’t find an answer in the overtime period. Cornell had prevailed in the shootout at home on Nov. 10, but two shootout goals by Dartmouth and two misses by Cornell allowed Dartmouth to receive the extra –– and crucial –– ECAC point.
The shootout loss means Cornell gets just one point out of a possible three in the game, culminating to 21 ECAC points altogether. Out of town, Colgate dropped its contest to Harvard in regulation, however, allowing Cornell to pass the Raiders for third in the ECAC.
The Red was also fortunate in that Clarkson, who occupy second place in the ECAC, was upset by St. Lawrence in regulation, inching Cornell within striking distance — three points shy of Clarkson’s 23 — of that second place as they take on the Golden Knights next weekend.
Cornell had to play on its heels early in Saturday’s contest, as junior forward Ondrej Psenicka was sent to the penalty box for hooking just 1:01 into the game. The Big Green looked threatening on its power play — despite just a 15 percent conversion rate — but the score remained 0-0 after the minor penalty.
Both teams traded chances, most notably a couple of Dartmouth breakaways, one of which was saved by junior goaltender Ian Shane and the other rung off the post. After 20 minutes, Dartmouth led Cornell in shots on goal, 10-4. Shane looked sharp coming off a 17-save shutout against Harvard the night prior.
Two more penalties were taken in the first, one each per team, but both were killed off. Freshman forward Ryan Walsh had a good chance on Cornell’s only power play in the first, the result of a skillful passing play by the Red, but was robbed at the top of the crease by Dartmouth’s Cooper Black. Black, known for his stature and lengthy frame, stopped 20 of 22 Cornell shots in the game. On the other end, Shane made 28 saves — a large reason why Cornell didn’t drop the game altogether.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the ice was finally broken around six minutes into the second period, where the puck found Walsh all alone in front of Black. A nifty backhand shot over the shoulder of the goaltender put Cornell up 1-0.
Cornell didn’t have much time to soak in its first tally, however, as Dartmouth retaliated without skipping a beat. A scrum in front of Shane led to a backhand shot by Dartmouth’s CJ Foley, which beat Shane cleanly and knotted the game at one goal apiece.
The second persisted with both teams taking greater risks offensively. Cornell fired a few shots on Black, but Dartmouth’s 6’8” netminder had an answer for everything. Dartmouth received another prime opportunity when freshman forward Luke Devlin was nabbed for interference in the latter half of the second.
Dartmouth’s power play woes were finally remedied on its third man-up opportunity of the night –– a hard shot was fired on Shane, who stopped it with a left pad but couldn’t control the rebound. Sean Chisholm cleaned up the loose puck, roofing it over Shane before the Cornell netminder could get back into position. The goal marked the first time Cornell had played without the lead or tie since Dec. 2 against Colgate.
Back-and-forth play continued for the remainder of the frame, including a handful of extra-man opportunities on both sides. A pair of minors were called late in the second, but four-on-four play lasted for a mere dozen seconds before Dartmouth took another minor penalty with 0:26 to play.
With an offensive zone faceoff and four-on-three advantage for Cornell, the Red capitalized. A series of long, precise passes got Black out of position and freshman defenseman Ben Robertson converted a hard wrist-shot as the Dartmouth goaltender desperately dove and missed. The goal tied the game up with just 11 seconds left in the second, allowing for a tie game after 40 minutes of play.
The third period was chippy, with both teams making costly turnovers in their defensive zones, but neither able to convert. Both teams played rather undisciplined, taking penalty after penalty, making special teams play particularly paramount.
The third –– and the game altogether –– was a special teams frenzy. Both teams scored on one of its five man-advantage opportunities, combining for an eye-opening 20 minutes of penalties. Eight of those 20 came in the third period.
Time ticked down on the third and the 2-2 score would hold, sending the game into overtime –– the second time between these two teams this season. Dartmouth dominated the first three minutes of overtime, causing all sorts of chaos around Shane’s crease. The Cornell netminder made four saves in the overtime, all before junior forward Sullivan Mack whiffed on a wide-open opportunity the other way.
Cornell had some time in the offensive zone with under 30 seconds left, but couldn’t convert, and the game went into a shootout. Chisholm and Braiden Dorfman scored for Dartmouth, a pair of beautifully lifted tallies over Shane’s shoulder.
Sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft beat Black on his attempt, but the puck went off the post and out. Senior forward Gabriel Seger had to score to extend the shootout, but shot it wide of the net, as the Big Green swarmed its goaltender to celebrate the shootout victory.
Cornell secured four out of a possible six points on its New England road trip, and will return for a massive series next weekend at Lynah Rink. The Red will play St. Lawrence on Friday before a high-stakes clash against Clarkson on Saturday night.